Northend United under-10s certainly hit the ground running as the North West and Coleraine District League returned to action at the weekend.
The Ballymena boys recorded an emphatic 9-2 win over Coleraine Olympic in their first game after the winter break.
It was also a good week for the U11s Youth team who came out on top in an eleven goal thriller against Ballymoney Athletic, while an understrength U12 team lost to Magherafelt Sky Blues.
The Lisburn League teams returned to action after a two week lay-off and it was John Devlin’s U13s who turned in a good performance against Portadown side TTBS but lost the match 3-2 with virtually the last kick of the match.
The U15s were down to the bare bones for their match against Oxford Sunnyside, with sickness badly affecting this squad, while the U16s turned in a good footballing display against Newry side Midway and were unlucky not to come away with all the points in a 2-2 draw.
Finally, the Football Development Centre got off to a great start on Friday night at the Sentry Hill Sports Hall, where close to thirty U7 boys and girls were enjoying their first steps in football under the direction of Northend’s Football Development Officer, John Devlin.
Northend United 9, Coleraine Olympic 2: Northend U10 had their first taste of a 9 a side match and they took to it like a duck to water.
Straight from the kick-off Bristow ran at the heart of the defence weaving his way through before firing Northend into an early lead.
Northend got their second when Shea O’Broin hit a long range which Jay McKeown dummied and the keeper was wrong footed as the ball rolled into the net. Some neat midfield play between Eoin Mitchell and Tyler Boyd left Bristow with the space to thread the ball through to McKeown who didn’t waste the opportunity to slot the ball into the net.
A Northend corner by McKeown was fumbled by the keeper and O’Broin was on hand to put the ball into the empty netbefore some lovely interplay between Peter Bristow and O’Broin put Bristow through to neatly side foot the ball home.
In the second half Ben O’Neill pushed forward into midfield and his impact was immediate as a drilled ball across the face of the goal resulted in the Coleraine defender putting the ball into his own net.
Peter Bristow got the opportunity to take a shot for the edge of the area but the keeper saved only for the ball to fall to McKeown to slot home. Soon after, the striker completed his hat-trick when he smashed in as he found space in the box. With everyone pushing forward for more goals it left space at the back for Coleraine to get 2 consolation goals but the last goal of the match went to hat-trick man O’Broin. MOM - Ben O’Neill
Northend: PJ McDonnell, R Campbell, S Bristow, B O’Neill, T Boyd, J McKeown, S O’Broin, C McAvoy, P Bristow, E Mitchell
Northend United 2, TTBS 3: It was Northend who went in front when Charlie Metrustry volleyed home when a pass from the wing came in.
Northend paid for missed chances as TTBS were to draw level early on in the second half. Northend went in front again with a instead reply when a long pass to McDonald ended with him shooting first time giving the keeper no chance
TTBS came more into the game as Northend lost a few players to sickness and injuries and drew level again and then went in front with 10 minutes remaining to win the game
Northend United 1, Oxford Sunnyside: This was Northend’s first match in a few weeks and with sickness affecting a number of players, they conceded a goal after five minutes.
Oxford started the second half strongly and doubled their lead on ten minutes of the half. Northend were second to the ball at this stage of the game and it was no surprise when Oxford scored a third goal on fifteen minutes of the half
Gradually Northend began to claw their way back into the game and when Sam Hutchinson was brought down in the penalty box, up stepped Josh Mark to score his first goal for the Club, leaving the score 1-3.
With time running out in the game, Northend went looking for a point but conceded a final goal with almost the last kick of the game.
Northend: J Mark, J Adams, D Dobbin (c), A Shaw, G Macartney, B McGarvey, J Stevenson, R Laverty, S Hutchinson, A Campbell, M Kirk
Midway 2, Northend United 2: After ten minutes Northend went a goal down, when a throughball over the top of the Northend defence, found two Midway strikers in what Northend believed was an offside position, but they were allowed to run on and plant the ball past Lewis McFall in the Northend nets.
However it was only a matter of time before Northend equalised and it was something special when it came. Bradley Cairns, who was having a good game, controlled a Northend throughball and released Jamie Houston, who cut in from the right wing and planted the ball into the bottom of the Midway net, giving their keeper no chance.
The Blues were really playing well in this stage of the game, however twelve minutes before the end of the half, they conceded a needless free-kick.
From the resultant kick, the Midway striker wasn’t picked up and was allowed to head the ball into the Northend net.
With time running out, a Robbie Dennison cross into the Midway penalty box was planted into the Midway net by the advancing Bradley Cairns, to level the score at 2-2.
Northend: L McFall, O Boyle, L McAllister, R Dennison, R McKenna (c), T Campbell, S Bennett, C Graham, B Cairns, J Houston, Z Herbison, C Neilly, J Dawson, A Milligan
TESCO COMMUNITY AWARD
Northend United Youth FC has been given a massive boost recently thanks to a major donation from Tesco Community Awards. Northend, which has been running from 2003 has become a key part of the local community in Ballymena and has become renowned for its excellence in youth football.
John Devlin, Northend’s Football Development Officer said “Our Club is delighted to be associated with Tesco’s and this Community Award will be a major boost to funding our midweek sports program.”
Oliver Tallon, Deputy Store Manager at the Tesco Ballymena Superstore said ”We’re committed to giving back to local communities and our Community Awards give us a brilliant opportunity to support local good causes.
“I am delighted that we are supporting Northend United Youth, it is a fantastic organisation doing brilliant work in Ballymena and I’m delighted we are able to help them in this way.”
The Club would like to congratulate Peter Kennedy, the latest coach from Northend to receive his Level 1 coaching qualification. Peter completed the final session of the course at the weekend, under the tuition of Wes Gregg from the Irish FA.