THE U12s Northend United team delivered more festive cheer when they beat Lurgan Town 1-0 in the final of the prestigious Daily Mirror Lisburn Junior Shield final.
A Lewis McDonald goal was enough to win them their first blue ribbon final in youth football and deliver the second major piece of silverware this season for the progressive Ballymena Club.
“I’m delighted for our players” commented team manager Alex McDonald, after the match.
“And this is just reward for the effort they have been putting in this season. This was a super team effort.”
In the only other match at the weekend, the U15s travelled to Bloomfield Youth FC from the South Belfast Youth League and delivered a resounding 5-0 win
UNDER 12s UNITED – Lisburn Junior League Shield Final
Lurgan Town ............................... 0
The goal, which proved to be the winner, came on the 6th minute.
Mark Campbell lobbed a ball over the top of the Lurgan defence and Lewis McDonald ran through hitting a thunderous volley leaving the keeper no chance.
Northend continued to cause problems and McDonald nearly grabbed a second as he shot just wide.
Half time 0-1.
Following a half time discussion, Northend prepared for Lurgan piling on the pressure in the second half.
Northend worked really hard breaking down the Lurgan attacks and kept their shape very well, leaving Lurgan no choice but play the long ball.
Charlie McIlhatton was having a fantastic game in the middle of the park, breaking up Lurgan play and spraying lovely balls into the attacking players as Northend went on the counter attacks.
In a purple spell for Northend, Lewis McDonald came close again with another volley which went just over the bar and Calvin Termonia had a diving header cleared off the line from a McDonald corner.
Gary Kenny replaced McDonald in the striking role and caused Lurgan more trouble.
Lurgan had a couple of hopeful shots from distance which didn’t cause Glass any trouble in the Northend goals.
Another good piece off link up play from Peter Finnegan and Gary Kenny saw Robert Crooks hitting the post.
Lurgan got a free-kick 20 yards out minutes before the end of the match and Dylan Glass made a great save from a thumping strike.
In a final flurry, Gary Kenny nearly forced another goal for Northend, as the defender and keeper panicked with the ball rolling just past the upright.
Full time 0-1.
Alex McDonald was a very proud manager with how the team conducted themselves and dealt with their nerves.
Man of the Match: Charlie McIlhatton
Panel: D Glass, B McNeill, M Bell, M Campbell, C Maguire, C McIlhatton, L McDonald, C Termonia C Maguire, G Kenny, R Crooks, P Finnegan, O Maka, J Greer
Northend United ......................... 5
Northend had a Christmas friendly against opposition from the South Belfast Youth League.
The Ballymena went in front in the 13th minute when Kai Barr split the Bloomfield defence with a peach of a pass and Owen Campbell burst through on goal to slip the ball past the keeper.
It was 2-0 moments later when the same two players combined again, this time Barr beat two defenders and his cut back from the by-line was tapped in by the unmarked Campbell.
Northend’s third goal came from an excellent bit of play which started with their goal keeper, Sam McDowell, passing a by-ball to Dylan McLoughlin at left back.
The defender found Sam Crawford in space on the left wing and his in-field pass to Campbell allowed the striker to set up Barr who lost his marker in the box and neatly finished off a great move with a well-placed shot beyond the keeper.
The fourth came moments before half-time and was also a great piece of play, Conn McCann passed infield to Campbell who switched play to the far wing towards Callum McCann, the young midfielders first touch took him in on goal and his second was a thunderous shot high into the roof of the net. Half-time 0-4
Northend completed the early in the second half when Campbell completed his hat trick. winners.
Final score 0-5
Man of the match: A very good team performance.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, S Crawford, O Campbell, Conn McCann, L Hector, K Barr, Callum McCann
HAPPY NEW YEAR
The Northend United Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish all our sponsors, coaches, players and supporters a Happy and Prosperous New Year..
Trainingl resumes on Wednesday 2nd January for the Lisburn and Belfast League teams and Monday 7th January for the Junior teams.
All coaching enquiries should get in contact with John Devlin on 0791 9056 834