Ryan’s double takes Southside closer to title
SOUTHSIDE Youths took a major step towards winning the Belfast & East Antrim League title when they came from a goal down to beat nearest rivals Newington 2-1 at Ballykeel on Saturday.
With the match having been switched due to a waterlogged surface at Showgrounds’ pitch three, Southside embarked upon their first game for a month without their two main strikers, due to illness.
In the opening 10 minutes, Southside were on the back foot but any efforts from the visitors were restricted to long range, and everything was dealt with comfortably by keeper Lewis Erwin.
From a free kick just outside the visitors penalty area on 25 mins Leon Bonnes headed narrowly wide. Ryan Corrigan on the Southside left wing was starting to make an impact, and from one of his runs, he delivered a superb cross, only to see Leon Bonnes denied.
A solo run from the edge of his own penalty area by Jack Livingstone almost broke the deadlock, before Sam McNiece watched his headed effort well saved by the visiting goalkeeper on the half hour mark as the first half finished scoreless.
The second half was similarly end-to-end before, on the hour mark, confusion in the Southside defence and failure to clear a simple cross presented the visitors with a chance. The striker turned inside the box and placed his shot wide of Lewis Erwin into the corner of the net.
Southside’s response was immediate as Jack Livingstone from a corner watched his effort hit the foot of the post.
The urgency in Southside soon brought its reward, however, as Ryan Corrigan broke down the left latching onto a through ball, he made no mistake firing home low into the far corner to level the match on 65 minutes.
Southside grabbed what proved to be the winner as another through ball found Ryan Corrigan cutting inside the full back before shooting home low into the corner of the Newington net.
In the closing stages, an excellent and intelligent block tackle from Dylan Hamill diverted danger in the dying seconds before the welcome sound of the final whistle as the game finished 2-1 and Southside stretched their winning run to 14 league games.
Southside: Erwin, Kirk, Livingstone, Logan (C), Allen, Henry, Nixon, McCready, McNiece, Corrigan, Bonnes, Hamill, McDowell, J Stewart, Graham.