0 - 1
0 - 1
League (Irish League)
A. Kirby (Preston) (Referee)
The crowd at the Showgrounds on Saturday saw a match was accounted one of the dullest affairs of the season, neither inspiring confidence not providing the entertainment which spectators have a right to expect. There was scarcely a thrill in the whole game.
Once again the crowd was not slow in voicing its impatience, and an ominous sign was the applause from the not considerable section of the home spectators when Newry scored the goal which won them the points. Ballymena have gone another step down in the League table, and are now in the sixth position. Both teams turned out a number of reserves. Ballymena were again without the brothers Reid and Shiels, the vacancies being filled by Gilmore, Parkinson and Kimlin, the last two making their first appearance in the team. Owing to the ravages of the 'flu' Newry were without the services of Hanna, Nelson, Hobbs and Whelan.
For yet another Saturday the ground was frozen hard, and the players found it difficult to keep their feet. Add to this a keen ball, and you have a combination of forces which made good football well-nigh out of the question. McNinch captained the Ballymena team, and on winning the toss elected to defend the town goal. The opening exchanges favoured the home team, but in an early Newry attack disaster nearly overtook the home goal when McNinch in endeavouring to pass back to Gough landed the ball on top of the bar, and it rebounded into play, Carroll heading into goal for Gough to punch clear. But the danger was not get past, for Nicholson got possession and fired in a shot which landed the ball on top of the net.
A certain liveliness on the part of the home forwards brought McMinn frequently into action, and he succeeded in coping with all efforts. Activity on the visitors' left caused a flutter of excitement, which died away when McNinch cleared to touch. Following this spasm of attack McCarroll sent over the bar. Once again Newry attacked, and Bradley crossed in a shot from the wing, but Gough punched clear.
It was now Ballymena's turn, and race to the other end brought a corner, from which McCambridge headed past. Next Bentley put in a great centre, from which McCambridge headed into the goalie's arms. In a trice Newry were hammering again at the home gates, and Gough took a big risk in kicking clear. Once more Bentley opened up the way for Ballymena, sending in to McCambridge, who passed on to Kimlin, but the newcomer's shot was wide of the mark. A free to Ballymena found McNinch testing McMinn with a long punt, but the goalie was safe. Good work by McCambridge and Shaw took play to the Newry end, where McCambridge just failed to get 'there' in time for Shaw's centre.
Then Parkinson did one good deed if he didn't do much else in the match. Gough ran out to kick clear again, but mis-kicked, and as a Newry forward was ready to pounce on the ball with the goal at the mercy Parkinson made a timely appearance and cleared to touch. Ballymena forced an uneventful corner, and for a time kept the play in the visitors' end, but the backs were kicking too well to allow the home forwards many chances. Gough saved a nice shot from Bradley, and at the opposite end Shaw was almost through when McMinn picked up Shaw was injured in the encounter, and went to the line for a minute or two. The Newry goal had another narrow escape when McMinn cleared at the expense of a corner. With only forty minutes gone, the referee signalled the interval.
A couple of minutes for a 'breather' and the teams were at it again. The Ballymena forwards were soon in the goal vicinity, but two corners in quick succession left the score unchanged. Play fell away badly, and interest in the game was at a low ebb, neither side impressed the spectators. Eventually the homesters pulled themselves together and forced another corner, the goalie saving a good try from Kimlin. Parkinson again came to the rescue when the home goal was in jeopardy.
Newry retaliated with a fast attack, but McNinch changed the venue with a hefty kcik, and allowed Bentley to force a corner, but the resultant flag-kick was weak. A free, taken by McNinch, and yet another corner, had no material effect. At this stage Ballymena were rather the more aggressive side, but their finishing lacked punch. McCambridge and Shaw worked up another good movement, which ended disappointingly in the latter missing the mark. A quick run by Bradley saw him sending in a shot which flashed across the goal and went past.
A dangerous situation arose when Gough came out of goal but missed the ball, which wet on to Feenan, who had an empty goal in front of him, but Gilmore made a last minute effort and prevented a score at the expense of a corner. There was another thrilling episode when Gough saved at point-blank range from Carroll, and received hearty applause. Later he saved from Feenan, but conceded a corner. A free to Newry let them in again, but Gough came out to the rescue. Once more McCambridge and Shaw took the ball to the visitors' end, and McCambridge shot only to miss by inches.
With only a few minutes to go Rushe shot with Gough out of goal, and the ball, striking the base of the upright, came out to Bradley, who made a quick return, the ball being in the net before Gough had time to recover.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (1 February 1929)
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