Northend United Youth under-14s suffered an agonising exit from the prestigious Northern Ireland Boys’ FA Cup at the weekend.
In a rare Ballymena appearance, Mark Leckey’s boys eventually lost to Lisburn Youth on a penalty shoot-out, after extra time couldn’t separate the evenly matched teams.
Also in the NIBFA Cup, the U11 s lost to one of the Cup favourites, Ballymoney United in an end to end match, with Robert Adams’ young team surprising many neutrals with a top footballing display.
Elsewhere all Lisburn League matches were cancelled on Saturday morning due to the inclement weather.
Northend United 0, Ballymoney United 4: This was a challenging draw for the Northend boys against one of the favourites for the NIBFA Cup.
Ballymoney won the toss and elected to play with a strong wind at their backs in the first half. Northend started brightly and matched their opponents in each area of the pitch.
Ballymoney took the lead after five minutes when they worked an excellent short corner, the Northend boys struggled to get any distance on their clearance and a Ballymoney player made the most of a half chance to edge his side infront.
Northend changed their formation with Jack Adams moving into an unfamiliar left back role and the defensive trio of Adams, Magill and Cosgrove stood up to a difficult period of play. Curtis Wilson made a fabulous save from a long range effort and once again gave a fine goalkeeping display.
Ballymoney scored their second goal after ten minutes when they were first to react to a loose ball in midfield and quickly created an opening. Peter Bristow and Niall Devine began to enjoy better possession and an in-swinging Peter Bristow free-kick led to a half chance for Owen Campbell which saw Owen’s effort drift past the upright.
Cal O’Brien then made a surging up-field run and crossed the ball into the goalmouth for Niall Devine. The Northend midfielder was upended by the goalkeeper in the box and agonisingly saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line.
With half-time approaching, Ballymoney again worked a short corner and as the Northend boys again found it difficult to clear their area a Ballymoney player fired home a half chance to extend their lead.
Northend made a bright start to the half and began to benefit from the advantage of the wind. Ballymoney were under increasing pressure but showed just how dangerous a side they are when they scored a fourth when a fortunate effort wriggled past Curtis Wilson at the front post.
Kevin Cosgrove pushed into midfield and was unlucky to see an effort go narrowly wide after nine minutes. Moments later Lewis Hector burst through on goal and went close with a left foot shot.
Ballymoney were always dangerous on the counter attack, although the Northend boys created a number of further chances.
The pick of these fell to David McKay who made an excellent run along the right wing and his shot forced a top class save from the Ballymoney keeper.
Despite the score-line this was a very good performance against one of the most talented U11 sides in NI. The Northend boys now have a home draw against Enniskillen in the shield to look forward to.
Men of the Match: Cal O’Brien and Jack Adams.
Northend: C Wilson, D Magill, K Cosgrove, C O’Brien, P Bristow, J Adams, O Campbell, L Hector, N Devine, D McKay.
Northend United 0 Lisburn Youth 0 AET - Lisburn win 5-4 on penalties: As this was only second time this season Northend had full squad to choose from, they quietly fancied their chances in this NIBFA cup-tie.
The match was played in wintry and windy conditions but both teams still provided a good competitive spectacle for the neutrals on show. Both teams created lots of half-chances throughout normal and extra-time but both defences were on top-form.
Northend’s back four and goalkeeper never appeared under pressure throughout the match and Lisburn Youth’s best opportunities came through silly free-kicks conceded by Northend just outside their own penalty area.
Best chance of the match fell to Conor McGarry in the second half of extra time. After being put through by Ruairi Campbell, he unfortunately shot wide after the ball hit a bobble just as he struck his shot.
As the match finished goal-less after extra time, it was decided on a penalty shoot-out and unfortunately Northend finished on the losing side. A disappointing end to a very good game of football, played by two well matched sides, played in the right spirit with not one bad tackle made the whole game.
Man of the Match: Ryan Lorimer.
Northend: C Brennan, S Frew, T McAuley, R Lorimer, J Brady (c), R McCluney, R Iovu, R Campbell, M Willighan, T Patchett, C McGarry, S Lecky, N Craig, C Gordon, R Jones
FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
The latest session of the Football Development Centre recommences on Friday 23rd January at the Sentry Hill Sports Hall.
The Football Development Centre is open to all boys and girls aged 4 to 8 inclusive who are unconnected with any other Club and takes from 6.00pm to 7.30pm.
For more information, or to reserve your child a place on the course, please call John Devlin on 07919056834. Application forms can also be printed off the Northend website www.northendunitedyouthfc.co.uk
COACHES AND COMMITTEE MEETING
A Coaches and Committee Meeting has been arranged for Tuesday 13th January at Michelin Club 7.00pm - 8.30pm. All teams must be represented.
Northend United are always on the lookout for new talented players and coaching assistants for each of their 11 youth teams and with their partnership with Wakehurst FC, the Club can offer the benefits of Irish League football. If anyone is interested in a trial, they should get in contact with the following managers
U8s (2007) Alex McDonald Mob: 07742239674
U9s (2006) Ally McGarry Mob: 07779005441
U10s (2005) Alan Bristow Mob: 07736373412
U11s (2004) Robert Adams Mob: 07766257645
U12s (2003) David Wylie Mob: 07792887435
U13s (2002) John Devlin Mob: 07919056834
U14s (2001) Mark Leckey Mob: 07792887435,
U15s (2000) Johnny Sayers Mob: 07563854345
U16s (1999) Stephen White Mob: 07526477273