1 - 4
1 - 4
League (Irish League)
Joe Bambrick (28)
Harold McCaw (29)
Linfield were considerably flattered by their 4-1 victory over Ballymena at the Showgrounds last Saturday, the disparity in the score in no way representing the general run of play.
To be three goals down at the interval was a distinct shock to Ballymena, who had, strange to say, quite sixty percent of the play in the first half. Their failure to get goals could be chiefly attributed to a weakness in the right wing, together with an element of ill-luck which seemed to dog their efforts.
In the second half each side scored once, but on the play Ballymena were deserving of much greater success. For the goals scored against Ballymena McNinch is largely to be blamed, his display being on whole far below his average form.
The match was witnessed by a big crowd, numbered in which was a large contingent of Linfield supporters who arrived by train and bus. A gusty wind blew throughout the match, interfering with play to a certain extent, but not being of sufficient force to spoil the game.
Playing against both wind and sun, Ballymena were at a disadvantage, and it was only natural that Linfield should be first to attack. But their innings was of short duration. McCambridge came into prominence in a fast run with O'Reilly on the Ballymena left and punted the ball into the danger zone, but Frame got it away.
Pressure by Linfield forced McDiarmid to concede a corner as a last resort, but he cleared his lines in the melee which followed. Shiels and Mitchell took play to the opposite end, where the former passed to Arlow, who led in, and when Frame had robbed him of possession Arlow again got the ball, but his shot went wide. The Ballymena outside right had a chance a minute later to do something useful, but his centre was far too square. However, McCambridge managed to gain possession and after beating an opponent he sent past by inches.
Ballymena sustained the pressure, but a certain slackness in the front rank enabled the Linfield defence to get the upper hand always at the last moment. Linfield looked really dangerous when Bambrick and Co. made a dash for goal, but just as they were getting into their stride the home backs manoeuvred for offside, which abruptly terminated the attack.
This was repeated on more than one occasion, much to Bambrick's chargin. Black was called into action to save a beauty McCambridge, and afterwards Mitchell sent past when well placed. Reid let Arlow away for the latter to cross into McCambridge, who came into collision with an opponent when forcing a corner. Play was suspended for a few minutes until both players ad been attended to, O'Reilly took the flag kick, sending the ball to Reid, who gave to McCambridge for the latter to send over the bar.
Linfield once more took up the running, and in this attack there was some miskicking at the Ballymena end, Howard eventually sending a fast shot across goal to go past on the other side for a corner. Gough saved from the kick, and Shiels made ground and at the opposite end sent over the bar. Bambrick had no better luck with a shot.
Ballymena's next attack was broken up and Moorehead shot the ball out to Houston, who drew his man and centred in for Joe Bambrick to open the score, deftly steering the ball past Gough as the goalie ran forward out of his charge. This was roughly about twenty-eight minutes after the start.
The goal was something of a shock to Ballymena, who, it will be readily admitted, had up to this had the major portion of the play. The shock was accentuated a minute later when Harold McCaw added the second after McNinch had failed to get the ball away. McCaw shot from about a yard range, and Gough had plenty of time to cover up, as the shot was taken at an angle, but he was beaten.
After this reverse Ballymena more ginger into their efforts. When Arlow had sent the ball into goal Black saved but stumbled and fell, and for a few seconds everything seemed in a muddle, with a score likely, but ultimately the ball was cleared. Howard returned and Mitchell gave Black a stiff enough shot to save.
Once more Houston led a Linfield attack on the right, and sent across goal, where McNinch was again at fault, and was well beaten by Joe Bambrick, who scored the third. Ballymena made a couple of attacks before the interval in one of which O'Reilly essayed a try which was just a trifle wide of the mark.
The resumption was characterised by midfield play. Subsequently Ballymena were awarded a free for 'hands', and Bassnett shot straight and strong for goal, but the ball came out again, and Howard meeting it lobbed it over the bar. Again Houston went up the wing at a great pace and flashed in another good centre, but his colleagues were too slow in getting up and the cross was lost.
Following a corner to Linfield, Shiels dashed for the other goal, and when going well was brought down by Brown. Reid took the subsequent free, the ball going in like a shot and striking the crossbar full in the face.
A misunderstanding opened up the way for Linfield to score their fourth goal. Reid had cut short an attack and tapped the ball back to McNinch, but the latter mis constructed the action and side-stepped in the other direction with the result that Joe Bambrick ran in and drove the ball past Gough into the net with a left-footed drive.
Ballymena did not deserve to be goals down at any stage of the game. Linfield's opportunities came through slack defensive work rather than brilliant forward play, but they got the goals just the same, and goals count.
After this Ballymena worked might and main for a goal. Shiels was particularly in the limelight with a few of his characteristic rushes, and had he got sufficient backing would probably have crowned his efforts with success.
O'Reilly was kept busy on the left for a time, and was instrumental in sending across a number of excellent centres, but either the goalie or the backs always got at the ball before the Ballymena forwards. From a free taken by McNinch, McCambridge was able to force a corner.
After a scrimmage in the goal mouth, the ball came out and Arlow had the hardest of luck with a great shot. Later the same player shot again but it was charged down.
At the Linfield end Shiels was again in the thick of the fight, and headed against the post when surrounded by opponents. Play swung to the extreme end, where Houston volleyed in a high drive which Gough dealt with successfully. Another misunderstanding on the part of the Ballymena defence gave Bambrick the chance of a life-time, but his shot misfired.
All eyes again fixed on Shiels as he made another dash for goal. He outwitted a trio of opponents and then let drive, sending the ball over the bar by an inch or two. It was a fine individual effort and deserved a better fate.
Ballymena were now having the larger share of the play than ever. At last a score came, belated as it was. From a corner taken by O'Reilly the ball came out from a ruck of players to Bassnett, who returned in strongly. Black wedging the ball at the post.
It afterwards was disputed and Shiels pounced on it and had it in the net in a trice. It was as much Alfred Basnett's goal as anybody's; some are even of the intention that the ball was over the line before Shiels touched it.
Linfield were seldom seen in the Ballymena end after this, and on one of the few occasions they did manage to get through Houston was cautioned for fouling Howard. Reid and Shiels both had tries but they were coped with successfully.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (27 September 1929)
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