3 - 0
3 - 0
John Murphy (37)
John Murphy (89)
Jamie Shiels (90)
I. Carswell (Blackburn) (Referee)
The vagaries of football form were again manifest on Saturday when Belfast Celtic, who up to then had collected full points in every match in the City Cup competition, were dealt a stunning blow by Ballymena in a match in which the Light Blues were always the superior side.
On the previous Saturday Celtic sprang a surprise by defeating Linfield, who wrestled the Irish Cup from Ballymena, so that in most quarters the Stripes started favourites against Ballymena. However, they had left Ballymena's possible return to form out of the reckoning.
Ballymena's strong middle line was a deciding factor in the match. The splendid work of this trio in spoiling and building up attacks undoubtedly helped the team tremendously. All departments, in fact, showed a vast improvement on recent displays, working together most harmoniously and with complete understanding.
The score of 3-0 did not flatter Ballymena. Indeed, only for Anderson's fine goalkeeping Celtic's defeat would have been much heavier. Cassidy missed a penalty in the first-half, but redeemed himself later when he initiated the movement which led to the opening goal, scored by Murphy.
Ballymena held their goal lead up to the last minute of the game, and then within the space of sixty seconds Murphy scored a peach and Shiels followed up with number three. It was a thrilling finish to a most interesting game.
Though the Ballymena captain won the toss, he decided to play against the sun and wind. The first minute produced a thrill when, following a well-concerted movement in which Reid, Shiels, and Cassidy took part, Murphy grazed the bar with a flying drive.
Celtic worked up a retaliatory attack, but McDiarmid broke up the movement and enabled Murphy to get away on the left, and from his subsequent centre Shiels headed forward for Cassidy to drive past narrowly.
Then Gough stopped a shot from McCullough just as the whistle went for offside. Play swung rhythmically from end to end, producing lively exchange in which both sets of backs were fully tested. Again McCullough shot, but this time his effort was off the mark, and then a free to Ballymena changed the venue, but Howard shot wide.
A corner to Celtic saw Carroll strike the side-net. More play on the Ballymena left found Murphy beating all opposition, and then passing to Cassidy, but just at this point Ferguson brought the ball down with his hand and there was at once an appeal for a penalty, but the referee would not concede it.
With the help of the wind long kicks by the Celtic full backs and halves landed the ball in the vicinity of the Ballymena goal, but Gough had generally ample time to clear before an opponent reached the spot. He was called on however to save from a 'free' given against Reid.
A 'free' to Ballymena followed hard on the heels of this, but Ferguson averted danger. Some nimble footwork by Cassidy, Dalrymple, and Kilpatrick enabled the last named to force a corner, but it was abortive. Anderson, who brought down a couple of shots in quick succession, was proving himself a worthy defender. He had to be agile to outwit Shiels, who was ever in close attendance when the goalie held the ball.
Celtic resumed the attack, and a long shot by Donoghue from the centre of the field went wide. J. Mahood followed with a centre which carried great danger, but the inside men were too far behind to get near the ball.
An offside given by the referee was hotly disputed by the Celtic forwards after the ball had struck an upright and as they were shaping to score. A 'free' against Fulton gave Cassidy possession, but he shot over the bar when well placed. At the other end Dunlop headed over, and then Kilpatrick had a magnificent run up the wing and slung in a dangerous centre, but it was not taken advantage of.
Ballymena continued to attack, and from Shiels' pass Murphy led in and drove hard for goal, Anderson being obliged to concede a corner. Murphy took the flag kick, and following a spell of pressure in which Kilpatrick shot and Fulton gave away a penalty for 'hands', there was keen disappointment when Cassidy struck the upright with the spot kick.
Nothing daunted, Ballymena maintained the attack, and a brilliant piece of play by Cassidy evoked a storm of applause. This was the movement which led to Ballymena's first goal, for following Cassidy's scheming, Kilpatrick tricked several opponents and passed back to Dalrymple, who dropped the ball about a yard out of goal for John Murphy to head past Anderson into the net. Exchanges were brisk up to the interval.
Play swung to the Ballymena left on the resumption and Murphy got across a centre from which Cassidy shot over. With the Mahood brothers dangerously close to the Ballymena goal, Gough came out to meet them, and with the goal at his mercy S. Mahood sent the ball rolling harmlessly behind.
The other half of the field was soon the scene of action again. O'Reilly got in a good shot which Shiels diverted with his head into goal, and Anderson made a shaky enough save. Then Cassidy fired in a centre from the touch-line, and again Shiels shot, but Anderson was safe. A third time Shiels had a try when Howard lobbed the ball well up, but he missed by inches.
At the moment Ballymena were hemming Celtic in their own end, and were having by far the larger share of the play. Dangerous centres came in from both wings, but in the scramble for possession Ferguson and Fulton came out on top.
An offside goal scored by Murphy was quickly followed by a corner, and afterwards Cassidy fired in a great drive but Anderson again was equal to the occasion. Cassidy thrilled the crowd with another pile-driver, and from Dalrymple's pass O'Reilly was just off the mark.
In a race for possession between McNinch and McCullough the former won and passed back to Gough, who cleared. Carroll sent in a couple of shots, the first going over the bar, and the second being well saved by Gough, who fisted clear.
But Anderson was getting far more to do than Gough. He saved splendid tries from Cassidy and Murphy in quick succession, and in effecting a further save from Cassidy conceded a corner. Then O'Reilly turned in a neat shot, which gave Anderson some trouble.
Shiels met with an accident, and the game was stopped for a minute until he was attended to. The Celtic attacks were few and far between now, Ballymena carrying all in front of them until they came up against Anderson, who was undoubtedly proving the saviour of his side. Shots rained in upon him from all angles, but he stood defiant.
Just as Shiels was working his way through the defence he was brought down unfairly. From the subsequent 'free', taken by Reid, the goalie again stood firm.
With only a minute to go, the crowd was thinning out, but those who were making for the exits stopped in their step as John Murphy, from Cassidy's pass, cleverly outwitted the two backs and landed the ball in the roof of the net. Nor was this the last thrill.
Hardly has the ball been set in motion again when Murphy sent across a flying centre, from which Jamie Shiels headed through the third.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (18 April 1930)
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