3 - 1
League (Irish League)
Alfred Basnett (o.g.) (5)
James Wallace (34)
Sam McAdam (80)
Thomas Kilpatrick (33)
J. Carswell (Blackburn) (Referee)
The meeting of Distillery and Ballymena attracted a good crowd to Grosvenor Park, Belfast, on Saturday. Ballymena were hopeful of bringing home the points, but strange to say the Gold Cup finalists, although only second best territorially as far as this game was concerned, came out of the ordeal victoriously.
Some hefty, not to say unfair, tactics were indulged in by certain players on both sides, which did not add to the general enjoyment of the game.
Ballymena kicked off, and were first away, but play veered quickly the visitors' end, where Howard conceded a corner, which brought momentary danger. A 'free' for a foul throw-in let Ballymena off again, McDiarmid punting right up to Cassidy who headed past.
Distillery then came prominently into the picture with a fine sweeping movement, and looked like scorers until McNinch spoiled Harrison just in time. Cassidy next got away, but Reid, the Distillery right back, who played a steady game throughout, sent the home forwards away on a rush which ended in another abortive corner.
The game had already developed into a very fast one, with both sets of forwards working hard for a much-coveted goal. Then disaster befell Ballymena when in a Distillery onslaught Mitchell drove hard for goal, and Alfred Bassnett, in attempting to clear, deflected the ball past Gough into the corner of the net for the opening goal. This took the wind out of Ballymena's sails, as the incident occurred only about five minutes from the kick-off.
Distillery continued to contest the match with dash and spirit, and within a few minutes would have been another goal up had Rafferty taken proper advantage of a grand opening, but instead of scoring he struck an upright when almost up against it.
Palmer was obliged to save a header from Shiels at the other end, and then Ballymena came within an ace of levelling up the score when McCambridge turned in neatly to Shiels, who shot from point-blank range, but Palmer got at the shot and so ended what was a ticklish situation.
The Light Blues had now recovered from the shock of the early score against them, and continued their efforts for the elusive point, the Distillery defence having exert all their efforts to keep them out. Ultimately they did get through, but the goal was disallowed for an infringement by McCambridge on the goalie.
This spell of Ballymena pressure was followed by McAdam going pell-mell for goal all on his own, everything goal as he wished until he came up against McNinch, who dispossessed him with remarkable ease.
The home goal had one of its narrowest squeaks when Kilpatrick, accepting a pass from Shiels, sent in a pile-driver which shook the upright. With just a little more accuracy in his shot he would have scored the equaliser.
Up to the present Gough had not been unduly troubled, but he was now called on to deal with a well-directed shot from Mitchell, and saved well. Shiels, who was working strenuously for openings, pushed forward the ball to Cassidy, who dashed right in and rove straight for goal, but Palmer dived full-length and saved the shot.
Exchanges continued to be brisk, and skirmishes were frequent in the respective danger zones, and kept the excitement at fever pitch. Shiels made a gallant effort to put the teams on level terms with a neatly-turned shot, which had the misfortune to strike an upright at a good height, with Palmer well out of reach.
However, Ballymena persisted in their attack, and at last had their efforts crowned with success when Thomas Kilpatrick netted after the ball had come out when Cassidy struck the point. The game was now thirty-three minutes old.
Within a couple of minutes Distillery had regained the lead, Rafferty firing across a beautiful centre, which James Wallace met with a first-timer and drove the ball into the net at a terrific speed. Just before the interval the Whites were almost through again when McAdam beat Gough, but McNinch raced into goal and kicked clear almost from the line.
Although play in the first half was strenuous, it was even more so in the second, neither team showing any signs of slackening off on the restart. A spurt by the Ballymena forwards brought Palmer into action again. At the other end Wallace got in the way of a strong clearance by McNinch, and had to be assisted off the field, his injuries necessitating his retirement for a matter of ten minutes.
In the next minute McDiarmid laid McAdam out in a tackle, and the latter had to receive attention. It was plain that there was no love lost between the teams, and although both were equally to blame for indulging in rough play, Ballymena were fortunate in not having any of their playres seriously injured. At the same time they got some pretty hard knocks, and one could see that their agility saved them often.
In the course of a Distillery attack McNinch miskicked, and when McAdam was making for goal Gough ran out of his charge and lifted the ball almost from the toe of his opponent. The game continued to be exciting, but the rough element which had developed did not make for good football. McAdam, who was feeling the effects of his injury, went to the wing, and Harrison led the Distillery attack. On the Ballymena side McCambridge and Cassidy exchanged places.
Ballymena continued to press steadily, and for the greater part of this half McNinch and McDiarmid stood almost on the half-way line, but all the efforts of the Ballymena forwards were frustrated by the combined defence of Palmer and the two full backs. 'Frees' were frequently given against Distillery for foul play, and regular melee resulted right in front of the home goal, but Palmer always emerged from the ordeals with flying colours.
Following a corner to the Light Blues Cassidy passed out to Kilpatrick, who shot right across the goal mouth. Then Kilpatrick gave McCambridge a glorious opportunity when he sent the ball right across to the latter's foot, but McCambridge ballooned it high over the bar from a few yards out. The Ballymena outside right once more fired across a neat centre, and Cassidy's shot skimmed the bar by inches. At this stage Ballymena were doing all the attacking, and how the Distillery goal remained unscathed was a mystery.
With only ten minutes to go until the finish Distillery made a breakaway, and when McNinch had stumbled in colliding with Harrison the home left wing continued the attack and had no difficulty in getting the better of Gough, who was left helpless with Sam McAdam's shot. From now until the end Ballymena played harder than ever, but could not score.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (8 November 1929)
|John Gough (GK)||33||12||-||56||-|