Ballymena were unsure what to expect of this Knock team and were quickly under the cosh from a penalty corner in the opening minutes that the home side duly converted to take a 1-0 lead.
However this didn’t dampen Ballymena’s enthusiasm as Aimee Logan displayed great skill in the circle to bring the teams level just before half time at 1-1.
At the restart Ballymena were much more confident in attack and defence and this lead to Kirsten Young finding space in the circle to despatch a thunderous shot past the keeper to take a 2-1 lead. Knock picked up the pace and Joanne Logan was called upon to make several saves before Clare Gillespie sealed the win for Ballymena with a crashing short high into the top corner for a 3-1 victory.
Junior League 1
Ballymena Ladies 2nd XI (1) v (2) Ards Ladies 2nd XI: Ballymena started strong against a club that was second in the table, with a competitive spirit that shocked Ards and despite them scoring first from a counter attack, Ballymena weren’t disheartened.
After the goal Ballymena pressed forward and made all the right decisions to win a penalty corner that allowed them the chance to equalise. Ards’s 1st runner was quickly out to block the straight strike but a slip pass to Emily Alexander who slapped the ball into Kerry Aiken, brought Ballymena the goal they needed to level the game
Ballymena continued to put pressure on a relatively young and skilful Ards team, with quick, sharp passes into the circle proving that simple, done well is best. Rapidly approaching half-time, the Ards players started to get more and more frustrated and Ballymena used this to their advantage, but unfortunately couldn’t find a goal to put them in front.
At the restart Ballymena continued to threaten the Ard’s goal, however Ards again took the lead from a penalty corner. Ballymena fought hard for the remainder of the half to get back onto terms and were relentless, but with several near misses the game finished 2-1 to Ards.
Thanks to Phil Moody for umpiring.
Junior League 5
Ballymena Men’s 1st XI (10) v (0) Belfast Harlequins Men’s 3rd XI: After last week’s disappointing performance Ballymena aimed to bounce back against visitors Belfast Harlequins. From the first whistle, a long ball from the pass back created confusion in the Quin’s defence and debutant Dylan Hamill squeezed the ball home with his first touch in senior club hockey to give the home team the perfect start within a minute! After some careless play by the Harlequins defence Andy Linford found Andy Lorimer in the circle to make it 2-nil. Lorimer scored again following a dynamic run at the heart of the visitors defence from Linford. Within minutes from a short corner Lorimer got his hat trick, flicking the ball into the net. With harlequins now chasing shadows Lorimer repaid Linford with a square pass in the d for a simple finish to leave the home side 5 up at the break.
The second half started at a slower pace with the home side focusing on ball retention but the goals kept flowing with Alex McKeown finding the top right corner with a great finish.
With the visitors now thinking about the car journey back up the M2 Linford played the pass of the day from inside his own half to Lorimer who dispatched the finish past the forlorn keeper to make it 7. As rain now battered the Academy pitch Lorimer added his fifth of the day followed by McKeown’s second and third to round off the scoring. Ballymena were happy to return to match winning form in convincing fashion scoring 10 goals without response but know they will face stronger opposition in the weeks to come. Ballymena would like to thank Becky Linford and Davy Lorimer for umpiring.
Junior League 6
Ballymena Men’s 2nd XI (0) v (2) Ballynahinch Men’s 2nd XI: Ballymena Men’s 2nds met Ballynahinch 2nds hoping to improve upon their draw in the season opening cup competition and after a strong start from the visitors, Ballymena held their ground much to their opponents dismay! Barr, Hamill and Moody worked hard in midfield, providing their forwards with good chances but Hinch’s defence remained strong, before midway through the half they broke the deadlock with the opening goal from a strong attack from midfield.
Ballymena dug in, as McConnaghie kept hopes alive with a few critical saves and as the first half drew to a close Ballymena were back on top pressing for an equaliser.
Into the second half, which Ballymena again started well winning a couple of early penalty corners, which they were unlucky not to convert, but just as the home team looked like drawing the game level Hinch again managed to convert to make it 2-0. Despite late chances the Ballymena side couldn’t pull any goals back and it ended 2-0.