4 - 3
League (Irish League)
Gerry Mitchell (65)
Gerry Mitchell (75)
James Miller (78)
B Reynolds (87)
John Murphy (20)
Sidney Howard (30)
William Kimlin (86)
A. Josephs (South Shields) (Referee)
Cliftonville, playing at home, beat Ballymena by 4 goals to 3, and thus created the first sensation of the season. Two goals in arrears at half-time, and with their score sheet blank, the amateurs displayed the never-say-die spirit after the resumption, and upset all calculations.
Within thirty-five minutes they were on equal terms, and soon afterwards took the lead. In the closing minutes Ballymena got level again, but more Cliftonville shock tactics brought another goal and victory.
Ballymena, for whom McCandless, the ex-Glasgow Ranger, was at left back, contributed largely to their own defeat. They were by far the more polished football team, with Cassidy the brains of the attack, but after they were two goals up they under-rated their opponents, and paid the penalty. Perhaps the lesson will be taken to heart.
On a wet pitch, with the ball which soon became heavy, Ballymena early showed superiority, and within 20 minutes John Murphy seized upon a pass from Shiels, and, running close in, scored an unsaveable goal. Ten minutes later Sidney Howard, following up in support of his forwards, fastened on a loose ball and hooked it past Gardiner.
Cliftonville showed no unity of purpose, but their kick and rush tactics were disconcerting, if, for the time being, unfruitful. They played with a will, whereas Ballymena, obsessed apparently by a sense of false security, lost their incisiveness, and toyed and finessed to no purpose.
Few people, however, anticipated the second half transformation. The Cliftonville forwards especially Lynn and McCaw, the extreme wingers, became lively, and their worrying tactics ultimately led to a score after twenty minutes play. Black, on the ground failed to get the ball away, and Gerry Mitchell placed it in the net.
This success spurred the amateurs to further effort, and Ballymena were obviously rattled. The half-backs lost their grip and were much too busy to forage for their forwards. Then came a free-kick taken by McGuire, after 35 minutes of the second half had gone. The back placed the ball well inside the penalty area, and Gerry Mitchell shot it past McCandless, who fallen back on the goal line.
Led by Cassidy and Shiels, Ballymena rallied, but another free-kick taken by Maguire was only partially cleared, and with the ball returned into the Ballymena goal, James Miller put Cliftonville ahead. Desperate Ballymena attacks ended in Kilpatrick, who had been off injured for twenty minutes, forcing two successive corners, one of which led to William Kimlin levelling the scores again.
A minute later Cliftonville went ahead, McCaw, beating Nelson, made ground rapidly, and passed to Reynolds, who scored amidst great enthusiasm. McCandless claimed that he had put Miller offside, but the referee was adamant. With only a few minutes left for play, Ballymena adopted stormy tactics, but just had to admit defeat. Cliftonville were triers for ninety minutes, whereas Ballymena, after securing their two goals lead, took things far too easy.
Match report written by Newsletter (21 August 1930)
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