6 - 3
6 - 3
League (Irish League)
David Reid (10)
Jamie Shiels (15)
George Arlow (44)
Sam McAdam (32)
G. Stevenson (Liverpool) (Referee)
We can always rely on seeing a sparkling performance when Ballymena and Distillery meet, and last Saturday when these teams faced each other at the Showgrounds the expectation of witnessing an enthralling tussle was fully borne out.
Perhaps the best criterion of the lively interest which the match around lies in the fact that the crowd lingered until the very last moment notwithstanding the fact that Distillery were three goals down.
Distillery are a team which never acknowledge defeat. They play with the same dashing bravado as readily when they know that the odds are against them as when they have every chance of success. That was what made the match as intensely interesting and kept the spectators engrossed right up to the final whistle.
Ballymena, even with Gough and Cassidy of, were the better team, but they found their opponents worthy of their steal. Shiels came into the limelight again by scoring three goals.
Ballymena were favoured by the elements, having the sun and the wind behind them in the first half. They got off their mark right at the start, Howard leading up and slinging in a centre from which Arlow shot over.
Distillery's very first run was spoiled by offside, a mode of defence at which McNinch and Nelson became quite expert both in this and in the second half. The Distillery forwards were caught napping time after time, and as a result a large percentage of their efforts came to nought.
At this early stage of the game of football was crisp and keen and the pace very fast. McCambridge let Shiels away on a run, but the centre-forward's shot was charged down, the ball going out to Kilpatrick, who returned in beautifully for McCambridge to head over.
A further try by McCambridge was only saved by a Distillery player taking the full force of the ball in the face. From a 'free', given for a foul on Shiels, Reid grazed the crossbar with a fast shot. Even after this Ballymena confined play to the Distillery end, and brisk exchanges took place between the defence and the opposing forwards.
Kilpatrick's neatly placed centres were fast becoming a feature of the game. From one of these McCambridge forced a corner, taken by Murphy and when the ball came out of a ruck of players David Reid hooked it into goal past Palmer for the opening score, ten minutes from the start.
Ballymena received another 'free', but offside intervened. Following this, Distillery attacked in spirited fashion, but McNinch and Howard held the fort. Then Kilpatrick made headway on the right and crossed in for Jamie Shiels to have a fine individual run, in the course of which he was harassed by Burnison; nevertheless he stuck to his guns and and turned in a fine shot which found the net amidst an outburst of cheering. This was after fifteen minutes' play.
This second reverse only had the effect of making Distillery attack their work with greater determination than ever. Oft they swept up the field, and when McNInch had failed to clear Wallace got in a quick shot, but Shannon made a very smart save. However, the visiting forwards came back again, and just when a dangerous situation was developing Howard made a timely clearance.
Getting possession in midfield, Reid placed the ball to Kilpatrick's toe and the latter lifted it in to McCambridge, who, just when he looked like scoring, was foiled by Burnison. In the next Distillery attack Nelson failed to clear his lines, but he made a quick recovery and sent the ball out of harm's way.
Both sides were now going out for all they were worth, and kept the crowd on the tip-toe of excitement. Shiels forced a corner, and from the flag kick Palmer tipped the ball over the bar from another corner. Afterwards Murphy tested Palmer with a beauty, but the goalie was safe.
The Whites made off on a dangerous movement, which was not stopped until the forwards were a few feet off goal, where Dalrymple took the ball from Wallace's toe just as he was about to shoot. A great race soon found the Ballymena forwards at the opposite end, and for a minute the Distillery goal got the full force of a regular bombardment.
First McCambridge shot and the ball rebounded off Palmer's chest to Shiels, whose shot Palmer saved but could not hold, and Arlow ran in and had a try, the ball striking the face of the crossbar and going McCambridge, who had another try, but at length the ball was cleared out of the danger zone. It was a most exciting piece of work, and created a buzz of talk round the ground.
After thirty-two minutes' play Distillery attacked, and McNinch ran the forwards offside but the referee took no notice and Wallace pushed the ball to Sam McAdam, who reduced the lead.
A 'free' to Distillery brought them further hope, but offside spoiled their chance. In the next Ballymena attack Howard struck the crossbar, and on the rebound George Arlow shot from an oblique angle and netted Ballymena's third.
Distillery were the first team to be dangerous in the second half. They very soon got to close quarters, but Nelson cleared. Afterwards McNInch miskicked and Wallace drove for goal, but Shannon made a good save.
Following a short-lived Ballymena attack Sam McAdam raced pell-mell down the centre of the field closely paced by McNinch and Nelson, but the Distillery man shook them off and fired in a shot which beat Shannon all the way.
Palmer was called into action to save a long, low shot from McCambridge. Then Kilpatrick beat a couple of opponents and centred in, and Shiels nodded the ball to James McCambridge, who made good use of the opportunity by scoring Ballymena's fourth.
McNinch eased the pressure in the next Distillery onslaught, but a minute later McAdam sent in a low shot which Shannon held shakily enough. The Distillery leader had a good opportunity later with nobody to beat except Shannon, but he used too much elevation.
Lively movements by the Ballymena halves and forwards characterised the succeeding exchanges. Once when Shiels was pulled down inside the penalty area all the referee would give was a corner. Reid got the ball away from a corner at the home end and placed accurately for Kilpatrick to centre in for Jamie Shiels to run up the centre and score a splendid goal after out-manoeuvring a couple of opponents.
Ballymena continued to hold the upper hand, and before long a good movement engineered by Kilpatrick enabled Jamie Shiels to score his third and Ballymena's sixth goal. The same player came near scoring a minute later when he headed narrowly past the post from a centre by Kilpatrick. Then Murphy executed a neat movement on the left, and when he pushed the ball in Shiels lifted over the bar with his left foot.
The visitors played with as much sprit as ever. They received a 'free' just outside the home penalty area, but Burnison made little use of the kick. Shannon was tested on one or two occasions and came out of the ordeal creditably. At the other end Murphy gave Palmer a stunner to save, and when only a partial clearance had been effected Kilpatrick lifted the ball in for Murphy to head over the bar.
In the closing minutes in the course of a brisk Distillery attack John Rafferty netted their third goal from twelve yards out.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (30 January 1930)
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