2 - 2
League (Irish League)
Samuel Houston (20)
Tommy Kennedy (pen.) (70)
James McCambridge (43)
David Reid (pen.) (87)
G. Magennis (Belfast) (Referee)
Ballymena displayed improved form when they met Larne at the latter's ground on Saturday, and almost in the last minute of the game averted what looked like imminent defeat by dividing the spoils.
D. Reid snatching the match out of the fire, as it were, by scoring with a penalty. The contest which was witnessed by a large crowd, produced many thrills, and a draw was a pretty fair index of the distribution of play. Over 500 enthusiasts travelled with Ballymena by train and many others went by road, so that they had no lack of support.
Ballymena went off on a gallop at hte start, and Morrow and Webster were coming well into the picture when Small intervened and sent them right about. Clarke was called on to save from White when Larne brought pressure to bear on the defence, but he was not to be caught napping, and a clearance let Ballymena away for the second time. From a throw-in, Houston, Larne's opportunist centre-forward took a chance shot, which Clarke brought down. A minute later the Ballymena goalie saved from Fergie, who followed up by sending another over the bar. What looked like a promising movement was now developed by the Ballymena forwards, Woodrow placing beautifully into the centre, but in the melee which ensued Small got the upper hand and relieved the pressure.
The first free kick of the match came to Balymena, and from midfield McNinch drove hard into goal, where Irvine picked up. A spell of midfield play was followed by Rafferty getting clear away on the right, where after a good individual run he gave to Samuel Houston, who sent in a cracker which soared in just below the bar for the opening goal. Nothing daunted, Ballymena returned to the attack, and receiving from a free kick Morrow came perilously near scoring at the corner of the post, his attempt being frustrated just in time. Rafferty got a shot in nicely from a corner, but McCambridge was first to the ball and cleared with a header.
A great chance to equalise came to Ballymena, when the forward line moved quickly for goal, and had Woodrow been active enough something might have come off it, but he lagged behind and missed a golden opportunity. At the extreme end. Clarke stopped a couple of shots from Rafferty. Ballymena again became active, and Morrow crossed to Woodrow, whose shot was easily coped with. Leading up to the interval, Houston got a knock from J. Reid when both were going for the ball and was carried off. Immediately afterwards Mitchell led a Ballymena attack, which culminated in a corner. From the kick. J. Reid got his head to the ball and sent it to McCambridge, who deflected it into the net for the equaliser.
Larne resumed without Houston, whose services they were without for the rest of the match. Their four forwards slung the ball about to great effect, and gave the Ballymena halves any amount of work to do. Speedily play was transferred to the Larne end, where Webster forced a corner when, with a little more judgement, he might have scored. The flag kick was abortive. Ballymena renewed the attack, Shiels banging in a shot which Irvine stopped. A couple of corners which fell to the home team caused the visiting defence some anxiety before the attacks were repelled. A spell of midfield play was broken up when McCambridge gave the forwards a lesson, and leading up just missed by inches, his shot grazing the bar. Morris, of Larne, was slightly injured, but he was all right in a minute or two.
About mid-way through this half Larne were awarded a penalty, Tommy Kennedy giving them the lead with the kick. This was somewhat depressing to the visitors, but they continued to play doggedly. Fergie and Rafferty essayed a couple of good shots which just missed their mark. There now came an intensely exciting moment when it seems that Ballymena would yet save the match. Webster worked the ball well up the field and crossed in front of goal to Morrow who, when just about to shoot, got jammed up against the post by a number of opponents, and all he could do was force a corner, which left the score unchanged. In the closing minutes the Larne goalie brought Mitchell down heavily in the penalty area, and from the spot kick Davy Reid netted the equaliser.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (31 August 1928)
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