2 - 2
2 - 2
League (Irish League)
John Murphy (21)
John McNinch (88)
Joe Bambrick (32)
Joe Bambrick (34)
W. Thomas (Walsall) (Referee)
Ballymena made a bold bid for the points against Linfield on Saturday at the Showgrounds, but a certain element of weakness in the forwards prevented them from winning what would have been a notable victory.
Buoyed by their runaway victory over Ballymena in the second round of the Gold Cup, Linfield were pretty confident of another smashing success, and up to a few minutes from the end it seemed as though they were going to take away both points. At this period they were leading by two goals to one, but their hopes of victory were dashed to the ground when a terrific drive by McNinch from midfield sent the ball hurtling into the net amid scenes of wild enthusiasm.
Having the advantage of a strong breeze in the first half, Linfield were able to continue play to the home end for long periods at a stretch; still Ballymena scored first, Murphy finding the net from Shaw's centre.
Eleven minutes later Bambrick headed through from Houston's pass, and two minutes later, when Black failed to hold a shot from Pyper, Bambrick bundled the ball into the net.
On a safe calculation Ballymena had seventy-five percent of the play in the second half, and though the LInfield goal faced a prolonged siege it was not until McNInch's great effort that the long delayed equaliser came. One other shot in the second half which deserved a better fate was a real stinger for Cassidy which Crothers pulled down just below the bar.
A strong breeze helped Linfield to carry play well into the home end right at the start, and inside a minute McCracken twice shot over the bar. Still hanging around the home goal, Linfield forced a corner, but faulty finishing denied them success.
Ballymena wer finding it difficult to make headway against the breeze, but ultimately they broke away, and Turkington swept the ball out to Murphy, who lifted it into the centre, but Pyper cleared in front of goal.
A fine clearance by McCandless stemmed the next Linfield attack and when they returned again 'hands' against Houston eased the pressure.
Ballymena again made difficult progress, but the antics of the wind worked with the ball prevented them getting into the danger zone.
A centre from the Linfield left found Bambrick in possession just in front of goal, and just when a score seemed likely McCandless put him off his shot, the ball whizzing harmlessly over the bar. A 'free' against Stewart brought further danger, but the kick lacked direction.
From the bye-kick taken by McCandless, Shaw raced along the wing and forced a corner, which was followed by a melee in front of goal, the ball being eventually cleared.
McNinch who was shaping well, effected a great clearance at the other end, and later Stewart got the ball away just in time. After another spell of defensive work Ballymena overcame the opposition, and Turkington got away on a clear field, and ought to have scored, but hesitated fatally before getting in his shot, so that Frame had ample time to spoil the effort. It was a great chance missed.
Ballymena were having a better say in the game now, and at the end of twenty-one minutes they opened their account, Shaw getting in a low drive and John Murphy netting beautifully after O'Reilly had jumped over the ball.
Stung to renewed activity Linfield forced play to the opposite end and were awarded a corner, taken by McCaw, but Houston sent behind. After Frame had cleared from Shaw's centre, Houston took the ball along the right wing and shot for goal, but Black saved splendidly and McNinch cleared.
Houston's next centre was converted by Joe Bambrick, who nodded through the equaliser at the end of thirty-two minutes.
A couple of minutes later Black but failed to hold a shot from Pyper, and Joe Bambrick, who was in close attendance, ran in and bundled the ball into the net for the leading goal.
Murphy, out-manoeuvring both McCleery and Brown, gave Turkington another splendid opening but he slipped and fell just at the critical moment, and so another golden opportunity was lost. Before the interval Linfield forced a couple of corners, and at other timers were dangerous, but good defensive work prevented any further score.
With the wind advantage in the second half Ballymena settled down to a prolonged siege of the Linfield goal. First of all Crothers saved a great free kick taken by Reid, and Stewart followed with a long drive which scraped the bar.
Crothers stopped a second long drive and dropped the ball when O'Reilly and Turkington followed up, but O'Reilly sent over with a yawning goal in front of him.
On the right wing, Shaw was making poor use of any passes he got. The left wing was more penetrative, Murphy especially working most engergetically, and on more than one occasion the Linfield goal escaped narrowly from his shots.
From a corner Reid headed over, and later O'Reilly shot twice in succession, but Crothers stopped both tries. Two more corners to Ballymena left the score sheet unaffected.
Then Linfield broke away on one of their very few attacks in this half and just when Bambrick was becoming dangerous McNinch made a significant clearance directly in front of goal.
Ballymena were attacking again in the next minute, and when Murphy, after eluding two opponents, dropped the ball in nicely in front of goal Shaw headed behind.
Then came what was perhaps the finest effort of the match, when Cassidy, on the spur of the moment, turned in a brilliant shot which Crothers stopped just below the bar. In a melee near the Linfield goal Pyper jumped in for the ball and fell on his shoulder, dislocating it. He retired for the rest of the match.
Ballymena kept up a constant attack, in which the full-backs and half-backs supported the forwards splendidly, but all their efforts were lost for want of somebody to effect the finishing touches. Noting the inability of the forwards McNinch came up for a corner kick to see what he could do, but just when he was waiting to head in Reid jumped and headed over the bar.
Linfield forced a corner at the opposite end, but the defence prevailed. In the closing minutes, when Ballymena's hopes of scoring were fading fast John McNinch sent the home supporters into frenzied delight when he scored with a terrific left-foot drive from his own side of the field.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (3 October 1930)
|William Black (GK)||24||4||-||4||-|