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League (Irish League)
Jamie Shiels (44)
||Peter Gallagher (35)|
H. Hull (Burnley) (Referee)
Ballymena and Celtic met, for the second time within four days, last Saturday at the Showgrounds, and although the crowd was not nearly so big as on the previous Wednesday, the match provided better sport, as the teams had a pretty even share of the play.
If anything, Celtic had just a shade of luck in getting away with a draw. Ballymena played Hanna instead of Arlow, who was incapacitaetd owing to an injury received in the previous match, and Celtic fielded Agnew and Gallagher instead of Carroll and Moore, the last-named player having been suspended while Carroll turned out for the Celtic 2nd. The weather was exceptionally fine, but on the warm side for football.
Winning the toss, Celtic set Ballymena to face a glaring sun. Despite this, Ballymena were first to make ground, and Mehaffy was obliged to defend his charge from Shiels. A movement on the Celtic left was frustrated by the combined efforts of Bassnet and Reid.
Then Ballymena settled down to it in earnest, carrying play wel into their opponents' quarters and maintaining a siege which lasted over ten minutes. Against the strong sun it was no easy matter to shoot for the target, nevertheless Mehaffy was frequently in action, and the backs, too, had a gruelling time.
In the course of this spell of attack, Hanna placed well to Shiels, but the latter was going so fast that he ran the ball past before he could recover.
Still maintaining the pressure. Ballymena were often dangerous, and once Mehaffy had some difficulty in getting away a cross from Girvan. Ultimately, the venue was changed to the opposite end, where Celtic made a burst, but it ended tamely enough, the ball going behind.
McCambridge came into prominence with a great dash up the left wing, and then the ball was transferred in stages per Howard, Reid and Bassnet to the other wing, where Hanna shot across goal, but both Shiels and Mitchell failed to connect.
Celtic took up the running once more, and Davey tested Gough with a grounder. Following this, several of the Celtic forwards essayed tries one after another but each shot was charged down. After McNinch had tackled J. Mahood well, S. Mahood got possession and slung the ball over to the right, where Agnew met it and volleyed in a rasper which Gough held extremely well.
Further pressure by the visitors resulted in a corner, but nothing came of it. A combined run by Girvan and McCambridge looked promising until Ferguson cleared heftily, and Girvan, getting the full force of the ball on the face, had to go to the line for attention, but resumed after a few minutes.
Gough was soon in action again, and saved well in face of a trio of opponents. Ballymena received a couple of frees, and from the second Reid sent into goal, but Mehaffey cleared. Reid returned, and then McCambridge sent right across goal, the ball going past. Then Celtic got what was a rather soft goal; Gough had punched out from a corner when Peter Gallagher sent in a low shot from long range, the ball travelling at an oblique angle right between a ruck of players into the side of the net. Gough made no attempt to save the shot, either being under the impression that the ball was going past, or expecting the defence to clear. It was an unfortunate mis-understanding. The Celts increased their efforts after this and forced a further corner, but to no avail.
Ballymena moved forward again, and Shiels gave to Hanna, who tested Mehaffey, a free being afterwards awarded against Shiels for obstruction. There was a dangerous movement at the opposite end with J. Mahood at the post ready to shoot when McNinch foiled him at the last moment. Then at the Celtic end Hanna shot into goal and Mehaffey lifted clear, with Shiels and Mitchell in close attendance. The home outside-right had another couple of tries, the goalie saving one and the other sailing over the bar. Howard then started a movement when eventually led to the equaliser. After being two opponents, he slipped the ball along the ground to Girvan, who passed in for Jamie Shiels to run in and net neatly.
Celtic were first to be dangerous on the resumption, but offside intervened. Ballymena got away per Girvan, who rose the ball in the air, and when jumping for it a free was given against Shiels. Play was swinging from end to end regularly now. At the home end S. Mahood sent over the bar, and then at the other end Hanna forced a corner.
Agnew tested Gough, and afterwards, when McCambridge was going strong. Fulton cleared just in time. There was a melee in front of the Celtic goal after Howard had dropped the ball into the middle of a bunch of players and a score looked likely, but Mehaffey rose to the occasion splendidly.
It was still turn about now, with both defences getting plenty to do. McNinch stopped J. Mahood at the expense of a corner when that player was shaping for goal. Some sparkling play by the home halves and forwards took play well into the visitors' end, where Howard sent in a beauty, Shiels just failing to get his toe at the ball.
By some persevering work Ballymena did the pressing for a considerable time. They attacked time and again, but always something happened at the last minute to prevent them capping their efforts with a goal. The Celtic citadel had the narrowest of shaves once when Mehaffey saved from Hanna, but stumbled and fell and a regular melee ensued at the side of the post, the situation eventually being saved at he expense of a free against one of the home forwards.
Twenty-five minutes after the re-start the referee was obliged to leave the field owing to indisposition, probably because of his strenuous exertions in such an intense heat. He re-appeared and took charge of the game after ten minutes. During his absence one of the linesman took over his duties.
Girvan had a great chance to do something when he got away on a clear field, but he hesitated until finally overpowered by the defence. Later, the same player should have used a cross from Hanna to effect, but failed again. A great cheer went up when McCambridge lobbed in a great shot, many being under the impression that a goal had been scored, but the ball had gone past by about an inch.
Celtic rallied in the closing stages and forced a corner. In the last minute Ballymena also received a flag kick and McCambridge headed narrowly past.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (13 September 1929)
|John Gough (GK)||33||5||-||49||-|