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League (Irish League)
|Samuel Scott (50)||
Jamie Shiels (6)
Jamie Shiels (10)
J. Williams (Bolton) (Referee)
Nearly 600 Ballymena supporters travelled by special train to Larne on Saturday to cheer on their team to victory. It was easily the largest contingent which has accompanied the team this season and there was no end to their enthusiasm. Fortunately, the weather was good, the afternoon being an ideal one for the match. There was only one change on the Ballymena team from the previous Saturday. Murphy coming on instead of O'Reilly.
Ballymena won the toss, and naturally Larne were first to attack, Gough being called into action in the first minute. A free was awarded against McGuffie at this early stage for interfering with the Ballymena goalie. It was not the only occasion on which this player was more forcible than polite, for throughout the match he was conspicuous for his unfair tactics.
Ballymena replied with a series of spirited attacks in which Murphy figured prominently, his clever work on the wing being a feature. He was getting in crosses with unerring accuracy, and Irvine was kept busy coping with headers from Shiels.
It was through the good work of these two Ballymena forwards that the Light Blues opened the scoring some five or six minutes after the start of the match. Murphy fired across a centre and Jamie Shiels headed through, Holmes, the Larne left half, getting his toe at the ball after it had crossed over the goal line and assisting it into the net.
Ballymena kept up the pressure, and within another four minutes were another goal up. This came after Murphy had accomplished a class piece of work on the wing, and Irvine had punched out from McCambridge, Jamie Shiels then rushing in and nodding the ball into the net for the second goal.
At this stage Ballymena were shaping so well that it seemed only a matter of how many goals they would score. Up to the moment all the play had been on the Ballymena left, Kilpatrick on the right not having had a single kick at the ball. Larne pressed vigorously, and when the ball came out from a ruck of players Thompson, the centre half, met it and volleyed in a hand-warmer which Gough saved well.
At the opposite end Murphy continued to out-manoeuvre the opposition, and once he drove in a fast shot which cannoned off an opponent's back and went over the line for a corner. Another corner resulted when Gilmore's shot was diverted by a header, but nothing came of it.
Holmes went to the line with an ankle injury, but soon resumed play. Larne forced the play again, and there was an anxious moment at the Ballymena goal when Reid headed back to Gough, who, although taken somewhat unawares, punched the ball over the bar for a corner.
There was some excitement at the Larne end where Murphy again got a beautiful centre and Shiels headed into Irvine's arms. Larne had a short innings, but their finishing lacked sting. Gough never being called upon to stretch himself. After this Ballymena had a monopoly of the play for a considerable period, harrying the Larne defence all the time.
Gilmore essayed a long shot which whizzed past the outside of the upright, and McCambridge forced a corner when he was almost through. McGuffie, the Larne leader, made a dash for goal, all going well until he came up against McDiarmid, who fooled him rather easily. Then the ball went to Clarke, whose shot was a good deal wide of the mark.
At last Kilpatrick's spell of inactivity was broken when he accepted a neat pass, and away he went up the wing and centred in to McCambridge, who just grazed the bar from a close-in position. The next time Kilpatrick went on a run he was most unfairly obstructed but the referee took no notice of the breach.
A good solo effort by McGuffie gave Larne a corner, but the home forwards were unable to make any impression on the Ballymena defence. Play swung again to the other end, where, following a free by Reid, McCambridge had the hardest of lines in not scoring, the ball whizzing over the bar at a terrific rate. With a little steadiness he should have found the net.
Clarke tested Gough with a beauty, and then Irvine saved from McCambridge. Just before the interval Kilpatrick was applauded for a clever piece of work when in the face of three opponents he succeeded in getting in a shot which just sailed over the bar.
Larne were dangerous on the restart, Reid was beaten with a spinning ball, and the home forwards dashed for goal, but Gough ran out and kicked clear. Then Clarke brought play to the Ballymena end again, and when he volleyed in a centre there was a scrimmage in front of goal, and Samuel Scott ran in and drove the ball straight into the net between a mass players.
With only a goal difference in the score now, Ballymena went all out to add to their lead, which was none too sage. From a 'free' taken by Nelson, Kilpatrick got possession and crossed to McCambridge, who received a full charge just as he was about to shoot, but he got a corner out of it.
The venue again changed to the opposite end where Clarke slipped McDiarmid for once and landed the ball just in front of goal, and in the mix-up White drove hard against an upright, and on the rebound Reid eased the pressure. It was a close call for Ballymena.
After the ball had been cleared following a corner to Larne, Murphy simply walked around three opponents one after the other and sent to Shiels, whose shot Irvine saved magnificently. Again Murphy worked the ball past a couple of opponents right up to the side of the goal, but he shot right into the goalie's arms.
Activity on the Larne right ended in Clarke getting a centre in to McGuffie, who headed into goal, Gough pushing the ball over the bar for a corner.
In a further Larne attack McDiarmid conceded a corner, but the flag kick left the score unaltered. Gilmore made a bad mistake at the other end by shooting from long range when Murphy was lying unmarked in front of goal. A minute later Irvine came running out of goal. when Shiels was harrying the backs, and the ball went to Murphy, who shot into an untenanted goal, the ball bouncing on the bar and going over.
Then Kilpatrick shot across another centre, and Murphy, taking the ball on the fly, sent past. An effort by Shiels to convert a further cross from Kilpatrick met with a similar fate.
Towards the end Larne worked assiduously for the equaliser, and only good defensive work kept them out. In the course of an assault Howard gave away a corner, and afterwards when McDiarmid missed his kick Nelson also conceded a corner to prevent disaster.
All was excitement now, and it reached a high pitch when Reid headed into his own goal, but Gough had all his wits about him and saved the situation splendidly, Larne sustained the attack for a time, but close on the finish Ballymena made ground per Shiels and Murphy, only to be baulked when near goal by Small finding touch.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (18 October 1929)
|John Gough (GK)||33||10||-||54||-|