2 - 0
2 - 0
League (Irish League)
David Reid (28)
James McCambridge (75)
T. Liggett (Belfast) (Referee)
Larne visited the Showgrounds in the return match with Ballymena on Saturday, and as forecasted in these columns last week, the locals gained the points, although in the first half the East Antrim men were much in evidence and had every bit as much of the play as their opponents.
With the coming of the interval, however, Larne had shot their bolt, and were overshadowed by the better Ballymena team in the second half. Ballymena were without Shiels and Mitchell, Woodrow and Morrow deputising, while Larne were deprived of Fergie and Whitley.
Facing the rays of a declining sun, Ballymena found themselves handicapped at the start, Larne getting into their stride early and forcing the pace. A heavy snow shower sent the spectators in front of the stand scurrying for shelter, and for about ten minutes the flakes eddied and whirled, adding to the thin coating of snow on the ground, which afforded a treacherous foothold and spoiled many a promising attack.
Ballymena pressed and Shaw landed into centre for McCambridge to pass on to Woodrow, who sent behind. Maintaining the attack, Ballymena received a couple of corners, but the defence held out, Larne came away on the right, and Rafferty and Kane were going well when McDiarmid ended the movement abruptly and sent upfield to McCambridge, who drove past. Losing his foothold, J. Reid let Larne away for a corner, from which Gough fisted out and then dealt firmly with a return shot.
A hot attack by Larne found the Ballymena defence beaten, and Kane drove in a hard shot which Gough handled nicely. Further pressure by Larne, who at the moment were going strong, ended in a corner, but the ball was cleared out of the danger zone. A free let Ballymena away, but play veered to the home end again. Eventually Shaw dashed away on the left and Ballymena forced an abortive corner. The tables were turned now, and it was the Larne goal that had to withstand the brunt of a series of attacks. A few runs by Larne found the left wing up against McNinch, who, in spite of an injured foot, played a great defensive game.
Ballymena had a glorious chance to open the scoring when D. Reid landed into goal beautifully from a free and McCambridge waded through the defence only to fail at the last moment, driving past from a yard out. McCambridge again ran through the defence like water, and he was fouled just outside the penalty area but ran on and netted. However, the referee had blown for a foul, and David Reid lifted the ball clean into the roof of the net, this score coming after almost half an hour's play.
Ballymena showed improved form after this and D. Reid had hard lines with a shot which grazed the bar. Give and take play followed up to the interval. The second half commenced with Ballymena bearing down on the Larne goal, and Clarke crossed in well, but Shaw slipped at the critical moment. A minute later Woodrow missed a dandy in front of goal. Houston was injured and went to the line for attention. A run by McCambridge saw him outwit opponent after opponent and force a corner, from which Morrow tested Irvine. Another corner brought no change in the score. Ballymena's spell of pressure was broken by Larne coming away for the first time in this half, but their attack was short-lived.
In this half Ballymena had by far the most of the play and territoriality were all over their opponents, but missed numerous chances at goal. Morrow and Clarke were combining well on the right wing, and both had tries at goal. Woodrow, who had exchanged places with McCambridge this half, had another opportunity, but he skied over from close in. In one of their few attacks Larne were awarded an unproductive corner. A shot by Clarke was only partly held by Irvine, and running in Shaw shot at point-blank range, but the ball went past on the other side.
At last, however, Ballymena tasted the fruits of their labours when James McCambridge added to the lead. The movement commenced with D. Reid giving to Morrow, who manoeuvred round a number of opponents and passed out to Clarke, and McCambridge scored from the outside-right's centre. From this point up to the end Ballymena held the advantage.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (14 December 1928)
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