Ballymena Hockey Club men’s Seconds finished 2015 on a high note, with a solid 2-0 victory away to Civil Service, at Stormont on Saturday.
Ballymena worked tirelessly through the first half to maintain possession and force Service quickly off the ball, with excellent play from Barr and Archer in midfield. Several chances came the visitor’s way early in the half but Nicholl and Murphy were unable to convert. As the game developed Service did create scoring opportunities but solid defence from McDowell and Hampton kept things level. Towards the end of the first half a quick ball from Allen found Glass in midfield, carrying it forward to play Hanna in at the left edge of the circle, who turned his marker to slot the ball to Phil Nicholl to blast the ball into the far corner for a welcome 1-0 lead. Minutes later Ballymena had to defend a penalty corner, to prevent Service equalising and duly dealt with the danger to lead at the break.
Into the second half and Service began strongly with good passing and movement, troubling Ballymena early on, but McConnaghie in goal was on hand to keep the lead in Ballymena’s favour. Again Ballymena’s midfield found the extra gear with Hamill assisting Barr to turn defence into attack and Ballymena’s second duly came with Barr instrumental in forcing the ball to Nicholl in the circle to smash home on the volley!
As the rain fell, Ballymena had ten minutes to hold their lead and again McConnaghie made a couple of excellent saves, to keep a clean sheet and ensure Ballymena gained maximum points ahead of the Christmas break.
The team would like to thank Mary Glass for umpiring.
Ballymena: K. McConnaghie(GK), D. McDowell, D. Allen, E. Hampton, A. Hanna(C), D. Hamill, W. Barr, P. Moody, S. Glass, P. Nicholl, B. Mills, S. Gordon, E. Archer, K. Murphy.