Ballymena Men’s 1st XI good run of form came on an end on Saturday, as they were defeated by a newly formed Newcastle 1st XI by five goals to three.
Ballymena went 2-0 down early on but recovered to lead 3-2 early into the second half, with a double from Andrew Lorimer and a third from Alex McKeown.
However, defensive frailties cost the home side the game when Newcastle struck 3 times on the counter attack in the final 10 minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat.
Ballymena: E. Hampton(GK), C. Hogg, A. Bell, A. Crooks, A. McKelvey, V. Orr, C. Davis, M. O’Neill, G. Tumilson, A. Lorimer, A. McKeown, D. McDonald
South Antrim V 2, Ballymena II 1: Ballymena Men’s 2nds played South Antrim 5ths on Saturday away at Friends school in Lisburn.
Slow to start, Ballymena were quickly under pressure from a mix of youth and experience, but did deal with the attacks much better than the previous week.
Nonetheless it was the home side that opened the scoring from a short corner strike that squeezed between the unlucky keeper Birrell’s pads for 1-0.
In the main it was one way traffic except for a couple of Ballymena attempts from a penalty corner strike by Nicholl and a Moody strike saved by the keeper giving South the lead at the break.
Needing to be quicker to the ball and more aggressive in the tackles Ballymena restarted the second half taking the play to South with Moody and Glass on either flank adding width to the game, allowing the Ballymena centres to push forward.
Several penalty corners throughout the half brought saves from the South keeper and even deflections off the line frustrated Ballymena, until James Russell carved a path across the 23 and into the circle for a thunderous strike low to the keeper’s right to tie the game at 1-1.
Both teams continued to attack although into the last ten minutes South again started to dominate the play and as the Ballymena midfield tired South slotted home a second with only minutes to go!
Valiant efforts from Ballymena in the dying seconds almost forced another equaliser but at the final whistle the match ended 2-1 in South Antrim’s favour.
Ballymena would like to thank South Antrim for providing both Umpires for the game.
Seconds: J. Birrell (GK), A. Hanna(C), W. Barr, J. Grimasson, S. Glass, S. Gordon, P. Moody, D. Bradley, P. Nicholl, D. McDowell, J. Russell, E. Archer.