Derry City 1 - 4 Ballymena

Irish Cup - Round 1
Saturday, November 30th, 1929, 2:30 PM at Brandywell
Referee: H. Watson (Glasgow)
Derry City Ballymena

Goalscorers
Samuel Curran (75) Joseph Cassidy (pen.) (13)
Jamie Shiels (30)
Jamie Shiels (43)
Sidney Howard (80)

Team Managers
Joe McCleery Selection Committee

Starting Eleven
Albert McDonald
Gerry Stewart
Fred Mason
Daniel O'Connell
Ted Reed
Edward Mailey
Robinson
William Murray
Samuel Curran
Jimmy Crozier
Harold Senior
John Gough
Alfred Basnett
Gordon McDairmid
John McNinch
David Reid
Sidney Howard
George Arlow
James McCambridge
Jamie Shiels
John Murphy
Joseph Cassidy

Ballymena, the Irish Cup holders, gave a convincing display of real honest-to-goodness cup-tie football against Derry City in the first round of the Irish Cup at Maiden City last Saturday.

Right from the start they were by far the more finished team on the field, and they benefitted by their superior tactics to such an extent at the interval they had a clear three goal lead, and so had the match in their safe keeping.

Never at any point in the game was the issue in doubt. The crowd was much the same dimensions as saw the League match between these teams at the same ground earlier in the season, the 'gate' receipts on Saturday amounting to £221, only £1 more than on the former occasion when the teams faced each other. A contingent of between 400 to 500 Ballymena supporters travelled from Ballymena, Cullybackey, and Ballymoney.

Ballymena kicked off and their forwards set a fast pace right at the start, Cassidy drawing the defence and passing out to Arlow, who sent behind when closely attended by Mason. Once again Cassidy was the governing factor in the forward play, and following a succession of neat movements in which he outwitted all comers he shot over the bar by inches.

By this time the Light Blues were well into their stride and they kept pegging away at the Derry goal. Danger threatened when Howard headed into centre for Shiels to race in and strike the crossbar, and on the rebound McCambridge headed into goal but McDonald was on the spot.

Derry's first run was a short-lived one, Curran being pulled up for off-side. A 'free' to Ballymena just outside the Derry penalty area was taken by D. Reid, but the ball was cleared and Senior raced away along the wing, but was effectively stopped by McNinch before he could do any damage.

The cup-holders continued to force the pace, the good work by their halves and forwards enabling them to keep constantly within the reach of the Derry goal. Bassnett punted the ball up to Shiels, who sent a shot whizzing across goal.

Just after this Bassnett received a head injury and had to go to the line for attention. Another 'free' taken by D. Reid was well placed, but McCambridge spoiled the opportunity by running off-side in his eagerness to score. Then Shiels got to a dropping ball with his head when close in, but his attempt was wide of the mark.

Some twelve or thirteen minutes after the start Arlow was showing his heels in fine style on the right wing when Mason brought him down inside the '18', and the referee pointed at once to the penalty spot. Cassidy took the kick, placing the ball well out of the goalie's reach.

Robinson led the next Derry attack, taking the ball up the wing and shooting it right across to Senior, but D. Reid eased the pressure, Ballymena were soon in their opponents' end again, and McCambridge missed by inches with a shot that just topped the bar. Again Derry attacked in turn, Robinson being the prime mover and sending across to Senior, but Bassnett got the ball awya before the Derry man could steady himself.

A 'free' to the homesters for McNinch fouling Senior was taken by Mailey, but Gough saved and D. Reid put the ball out of the danger zone. After Shiels had been pulled up for off-side, the homesters once more made ground. Crozier sending in for Gough to fist out, following which O'Connell met the ball and drove it against a side net.

Excellent play on the Ballymena left ended in Murphy getting the ball across after a series of manoeuvres, and Arlow striking the upright, Shiels on the rebound propelling the ball safely into the net for the second goal, after about half-an-hour's play.

Already two goals down, Derry tried harder than ever to improve their position, but the combined efforts of Gough and Bassnett kept them out in their next attack. Midfield play was the rule for a time, both sets of backs successfully checking the efforts of the opposing forwards.

At length Derry attacked, and the crowd watched Gough leave his charge, run out almost to the corner flag, dribble the ball past Senior, and eventually kick it up the field. A couple of minutes before the interval Cassidy drew the defence and placed in between the backs for Shiels to race through and score a beauty.

The resumption was characterised by end-to-end play. Good work by Cassidy and Shiels enabled McCambridge to force a corner which was abortive. The City then got a spurt on and did the pressing for a short period. Gough being called on to clear his charge on three occasions which quickly followed one another.

D. Reid fell back to aid the defence and at length the pressure was eased, and McCambridge put the ball along the ground to MUrphy, who slipped two opponents but was fouled when going for goal. From the kick D. Reid struck the crossbar, and on the rebound Bassnett returned for Shiels to head over.

A period of up and down play followed, producing nothing of particular note. McCambridge beat a host of opponents and a 'free' was awarded to Ballymena, but nothing came of the kick. Bassnett was cautioned for too vigorous attention to Senior, and a 'free' awarded, but the ball was sent harmlessly past.

Derry made a couple of determined onslaughts, and once when Senior had only Gough to beat he headed over the bar. At this stage Shiels was injured and went to the line for a space of five minutes.

Ballymena once more took up the running, Howard sending to Murphy, who centred in for Cassidy to shoot straight for the goalie, but there was hardly enough sting in the shot for it to be dangerous. Further good play by Murphy and Cassidy saw the Ballymena forwards going well until Arlow was pulled up for off-side.

Fifteen minutes from the end Curran scored Derry's only goal in the course of an attack which hung fire for a time. Five minutes later Howard scored Ballymena's fourth with a grand drive which sent the ball far out of McDonald's reach.

About a quarter of an hour before the finsh, just about the time Derry scored, the light began to fail, and the spectators on one side of the field found it hard to follow play on the other side. Fortunately, however the darkness cleared away towards the end, and the match was finished under better conditions. A corner to Ballymena and a couple to Derry in the closing stages did not affect the score.

Match report written by Ballymena Observer (6 December 1929)

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