3 - 3
Joseph Sayers (23)
Joseph Sayers (71)
Joseph Sayers (80)
Jamie Shiels (6)
James Mitchell (12)
James Mitchell (41)
A. Bell (Belfast) (Referee)
In their race for the City Cup, Ballymena visited Pirrie Park on Saturday last, and contrary to all expectations dropped a valuable point. There was a fairly good crowd present, including a big contingent from Ballymena.
Ballymena had their usual team except for McNinch, still absent injured, for whom Nelson played right back. The Island replaced McGarry at inside left by Munn, otherwise the eleven was the same which drew with Linfield last Saturday. With little or no wind and a good pitch everything was in favour of a capital game. Just as the play was about to begin slight rain fell.
The Island were out sharp, but the visitors had to be twice whistled for they appeared and the match began three minutes late. Ballymena immediately attacked and the home goal had a narrow escape. Mitchell sent in a shot which caught the side net. Afterwards the Island had a brief innings and a centre from Lyner looked profitable but the backs cleared.
In six minutes Ballymena were on the lead. This was due to an excellent centre from Cassidy. J. Reid caught the ball and gave it to Shiels, and the Ballymena centre left Adams helpless. Lyner and Croft, the home right wing, tried hard to get in touch with the visitors' goal, but McDiarmid and Howard gave this smart pair very few openings.
On the other hand every time Ballymena forwards got within hail they gave the home defence little rest. It was therefore no surprise that when another six minutes had elapsed there was a second goal. This came from the foot of Mitchell. The confident play generally of Ballymena put them on top. Still, the Island were not altogether out of it, and a shot from Munn missed Gough's goal by a foot.
Most of the play was carried on at the Island end, varied by an occasional rush on the past of the latter's forwards from one of which Sayers reduced the lead, due in the main by a bad mess by McDiarmid, in 23 minutes. Thus, encouraged, the home side kept up a good attack and with luck might have got on level terms. Subsequently in 41 minutes Mitchell added a third goal to Ballymena's score, due to good work by Cassidy.
There was very little in the opening minutes of the second half, but what was in the subsequent play. Croft had a great chance, but he dallied too long and was robbed by McDiarmid when a shot might have done the trick.
The play of the Island forwards was at periods very virile, but finishing left a good deal to be desired, and several splendid openings were badly mulled. Still as a result of several 'hot bombardments' of Ballymena goal Gough's charge, despite the latter's clever work, had more than one narrow escape. Then in a Ballymena sortie Cassidy caught the bar, but the ball was subsequently cleared.
In 26 minutes Sayers scored for the Island a fully deserved point. Although the visitors forced two abortive corners, Island were always dangerous, and it required all the skill of the Ballymena defence to ward off disaster, and at times they were lucky. Sayers with ten minutes to go, in a mix-up in Ballymena goal put the Island level. This was Sayers's 'hat-trick'.
The home side made a big fight to get the winning goal, but failed. In the last minute Ballymena had a goal disallowed.
Match report written by Ballymena Weekly Telegraph (4 May 1929)
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