0 - 3
0 - 3
League (Irish League)
Jack Mahood (20)
William Pollock (37)
Jack Mahood (47)
|None.||Samuel Curran (70)|
W. McClean (Belfast) (Referee)
Ballymena was invaded on Wednesday night, the occasion of the newly-formed senior club's initial appearance in the football arena.
A special train, conveying something like 700 Celtic supporters, arrived shortly before seven o'clock, and besides, there were innumerable buses from the city and from all parts of County Antrim, as well as long lines of motor cars, all filled to their utmost with football "fans" anxious to see how the Babies of the League would fare against the Champions.
For an hour before the kick-off Warden Street, with its continuous crowds of jostling humanity, presented a scene reminiscent of Show day at its busiest hour. The turnstiles clicked merrily. Very soon the grand stand and enclosure and the standing accommodation round the pitch was black with spectators, among whom were not a few members of the fair sex.
At long last the stream abated and harassed officials breathed easily once more. Here word of praise is due to them for the expeditious manner in which the huge crowd was admitted. There must have been upwards of 7,000 people present at the match. The gate receipts amounted to £220 and this sum is stated to be only £11 short of a record for an Irish League match. Undoubtedly it was a very auspicious beginning and augurs well for the future of the club.
Cheers rent the air as the teams followed one another on to the track. After being photographed they took the field and Celtic won the toss, electing to defend the town goal. In the first minute D. Reid lost his balance on the slippery grass, which was treacherous owing to the fine drizzle which was falling but McNinch sent Ballymena away on a race towards goal. This nipped in the bud, however, and Celtic lost no time in making the for the opposite, and where Carroll sent over from the wing.
The first "foul" of the match was against Celtic, and from the kick John Reid crossed to Morrow, who forced a corner, but the defence prevailed. This was quickly followed by a corner to Celtic, and for a moment matters looked dangerous, but eventually McNinch dispossessed Carroll. Play remained in the Ballymena end, where another flag kick to Celtic was nullified by the defence. It was now Ballymena's time to attack, and Webster sent across a flying centre which Morrow caught, but he was in position to do nothing but get another corner.
In a frontal attack by Celtic, Mahood shot three successive times, one striking the bar, and McNinch again came to the rescue. Ballymena crept up again, and a centre from Morrow was incercepted. Mahood again essayed a try, sending across the goal-mouth, where Carroll took possession, but McDiarmid was too quick for him. Following a corner to Celtic, Ballymena showed a fine flash of play, the front rank combining admirably in a great movement which ended in Woodrow heading over by inches.
Excitement was caused a moment later when Jack Mahood opened the scoring for Celtic with a dandy shot which left Clarke guessing. Celtic was now going "great guns," and Curran came near adding to the score. From a free, D. Reid sent over. Diffin was called on to save from Shiels, and a shot from McCambridge got a corner. At the Celtic end. Webster had the hardest of lines with a shot which was just a little high. From a free on the line, William Pollock added to the score, beating Clarke all the way. Diffin brought down a flier from Webster, and Ferguson conceded a corner. At the interval Ballymena were pressing.
Ballymena re-arranged their team on the restart, the front line reading - Woodrow, Mitchell, Shiels, Morrow, Webster. They got away for Woodrow to pass to Shiels, who missed narrowly. In this half Ballymena got properly on their feet, and were credited with a larger share of the play. Soon Celtic in the goal area, where Curran shot and Clarke pounded down, but he could not retrieve quickly enough, and Jack Mahood rushed in between the backs and scored the third. Later the same player hit the crossbar a tremendous smack, and afterwards Clarke was called on to save a further shot from the same player.
A foul given against Curran was followed a couple of minutes later by that player being ordered off for fouling McNinch. This incident created some feeling amongst the Celtic supporters, a number of whom rushed on to the field and surrounded the referee. What looked like an ugly situation was developing when the officials and the police restored order, and the game was resumed.
With twenty minutes still to go Ballymena were more and more in the picture, and with a little luck should have scored when Webster hit the crossbar a mighty thud and had Diffin beaten all the way, but the ball rebounded into play. Carroll gave Clarke a couple of hand warmers and the goalie saved right well. Mahood came into prominence again, and with a brilliant shot almost knocked Clarke through goal, but the custodian was master of the situation. It was a ding-dong battle right up to the finish.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (24 August 1928)
|William Clarke (GK)||-||1||-||1||-|