0 - 2
A. Kirby (Preston) (Referee)
Coleraine had a surprise last Saturday when Ballymena, with largely a reserve team, defeated them by two goals to nil at the Bann town.
The Blues rested several of their players in view of the cup final with Celtic next Saturday, the usual set of forwards and the brothers Reid being absentees. Little could have been said in the circumstances had Ballymena been defeated.
The majority of them had never played together in a competitive match before,a dn if they had failed to co-operate like veterans who were acquainted with each other's play we could have overlooked the matter. But on the whole they came up to the scratch splendidly, giving Coleraine a severe shaking up which they had not bargained for. Taking the game as a whole, Ballymena were the superior eleven, Coleraine failing to impress, and playing a game which was below their usual standard.
Cassidy captained the Ballymena team, and winning the toss set Coleraine to play against the breeze and the sun. First to attack, Coleraine received a free against McDiarmid, but Morris took the ball past. In a well developed attack by Ballymena, which started with Morrow robbing an opponent, Cassidy slung the ball out to Evans, who lifted into centre again, but the run ended in a bye. After Kelly had effected a couple of good clearances the Blues returned again, Morrow passing out to Cunning, who led in and struck the upright.
For the first ten minutes of the game Ballymena were consistently on the offensive working their attacks well until they reached the goal area, where they were broken up. Then Coleraine had a fast run, Morris sending a lovely on across which Gilmour lifted over the bar. In their next movement four home forwards let a good opportunity slip one after the other. However, they were dangerous the next minute when Connelly accepted a pass from Gilmour but shot weakly.
The strong breeze made the ball difficult to control, upsetting the players' calculations, and generally making neat football almost impossible. Cassidy put in a dropping shot, which bounced a few yards out and went right over the bar. The Blues should have scored per Morrow when Cassidy opened up the way, but the former sent across goal from a good position when he ought to have found the net. However, he got possession from a header from Cassidy and turned well into goal, the ball passing a few inches on the inside of the post.
Still having the larger share of the game, Balymena soon added a second when Cassidy poaching again, dropped the ball in front of goal, where Cunning had a try, but missed and Sidney Howard ran in and steered the ball into the net. Coleraine got on a spurt, but when Morris was going well Howard stopped him short. Hanna led a Ballymena attack and had kicked the ball in front of him when Kelly missed, and a great chance for possession started, the goalie coming out to clear just in the nick of time.
Ballymena resumed with a dangerous attack, but Kelly eased the pressure. With the wind behind them Coleraine made ground and Gilmour had a gift when Gough was out of goal, but he shot aimlessly. Then J. Doherty put in a stiff shot, but the goalie was on the alert. The Ballymena forwards took the play to the other end, Morrow dribbling beautifully and playing out to Cunning, who led in and sent the ball into G. Doherty's arms.
Pressure by Coleraine won them the first corner of the match, but the attempt was futile. Ballymena made tracks, Cunning passing into Hanna, who wriggled clear of three opponents and gave to Cassidy, who sent the ball over the bar. Then Cunning sent the ball right across the field to Evans, who was dispossessed by Bowen. At the other end Gough saved a shot at the expense of a corner, but Gilmore cleared and let the visiting forwards away again. Hanna and Evans worked up a nice movement, but the former shot from a distance instead of passing to Cunning, who was unmarked.
About half-way through this half the wind died down, and Ballymena settled down to give a pleasing display, keeping the ball on the ground and working dexterously. They made their opponents look pretty small at times by nippy forward movements in which Morrow and Cassidy were prominent. In a fine forward movement Evans was presented with a good chance by Cassidy, but he sent the ball over the bar. Then Cunning essayed a try, but the goalie saved. Again Cassidy worked well for position and gave to Hanna who headed into the keeper's arms.
Towards the end Coleraine had a couple of runs, but each time Gough kept his charge intact. Ballymena again resumed the attack and were pressing when the final whistle blew.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (29 March 1929)
|John Gough (GK)||33||34||-||34||-|