4 - 1
4 - 1
League (Irish League)
John Murphy (14)
John Murphy (17)
John Murphy (29)
Belfast Celtic must have had the shock of their career on Saturday. It was no secret that they came down to Ballymena fully expecting to carry off the points, although they were prepared for a fight to a finish, but it must be confessed here and now that they were not in the same class as Ballymena at all.
Inside half-an-hour Ballymena had crushed them, had Murphy, our champion scorer, who has now twenty goals to his credit this season, surely a unique record for an outside-left.
Celtic lowered the deficit when S. Mahood scored a soft goal in a scramble in front of the home citadel, but in the second half McCandless put Ballymena three goals ahead again, scoring beautifully from a free kick. Ballymena displayed great team work, all departments co-operating splendidly in a series of irresistible attacks which swept Celtic off their feet.
They were by far the better team on the day's play and thoroughly deserved their striking victory; indeed had they won by an even greater margin of goals they would not have been flattered.
After losing the toss in twelve consecutive matches the Celtic captain guessed correctly the fall of the coin and took the sun and wind advantage. A fast opening attack by the Celts called Black into action, but in a moment Ballymena were hammering at Celtic's gates and Cassidy opened fire with a slick shot which Anderson handled well.
Murphy came into action on the left and Stewart forced the first corner of the match. play swung to the Ballymena right, where Dalrymple beat two opponents and lobbed in a shot which Anderson fielded unsteadily.
A further spell of Ballymena pressure, in which the forwards gave the opposing defence an anxious time, was succeed by a fast swing run by Carroll, who, however found McNinch a stumbling block. A free against Reid was taken by Gallagher, who landed the ball amid a bevy of players in close proximity to goal, but Reid cleared with a hook to touch.
A corner fell to Celtic, and later Gallagher dropped the ball in front of goal, but McNinch made a great clearance. Then Stan Mahood shot across goal, and when Coulter had failed to connect McCarroll shot over the bar.
The big crowd - it was the biggest of the season at the Showgrounds - was fairly revelling in the game, the brisk exchanges putting them on the tip-toe of excitement. A thunderous cheer went the air at the of fourteen minutes when John Murphy opened Ballymena's account.
Dalrymple had put Shiels in possession, and it was when Anderson had failed to hold Shiels' shot that Murphy ran in and shook the rigging with a timely effort. A minute later when Murphy hit the post Shiels had a yawning goal in front of him, but unaccountability missed the opportunity. However, he made ample amends almost immediately, when, taking the ball right up to goal, he passed it across to John Murphy, who placed it well out of Anderson's reach.
Two goals up in seventeen minutes was a great start for Ballymena, but something of a shock for Celtic, who burst into renewed activity and forced a corner for Carroll. The attack was short-lived, Ballymena transferring play up-field and making striking progress until Ferguson brought Shiels down unfairly.
The referee having cautioned the offender, Reid took the free kick and Anderson punched clear, but Murphy made a quick return and the attack ended when Ferguson hit the ball against Howard and it trundled over the line.
Ballymena forced another corner without result, and then the Celts broke away and S. Mahood tested Black with a nice shot but found the goalie ready.
Coulter, after having a fine run, came off second best in a tussle with McCandless, and later when play surged round the Ballymena goal, and when Black was lying on the ground, Reid made a timely clearance.
Gallagher shot over from a free kick. Then Dalrymple showed off his paces again when he out-witted two opponents and got the ball across to Murphy, who headed into goal, Anderson turning the ball round the post for a corner.
When McNinch had failed to stem an attack at the opposite end, Coulter made headway, but McNinch recovered quickly and got the ball away. However, Carroll met it and, taking i in his stride, struck the cross-bar, after which Reid eased the pressure.
Ballymena's third goal came at the end of twenty-nine minutes, Dalrymple getting the ball across for John Murphy to score the goal which earned him the hat-trick. Three goals against Celtic inside half-an-hour was great going, and more especially when they were scored by one player. How the Ballymena crowd yelled its delight!
Celtic got a spurt on after this and Black saved from Carroll and J. Mahood. Then Gallagher led in and shot yards wide. A melee in front of goal followed a corner to Celtic, and in the course of the scuffle Stanley Mahood got the ball through at the side of the post.
Fast end-to-end play characterised the resumption. Celtic first broke away and forced a corner, and after Stewart had effected a good clearance, Dalrymple dashed along the wing and lifted the ball into goal, Murphy forcing a corner.
The Celts came back again as determinedly as ever, and an ugly situation arose when Black threw the ball clear instead of kicking it. Coulter got possession close in and the upshot was that Reid had to concede a corner to save the situation.
Cassidy, who was playing a glorious part in every Ballymena attack, placed the ball neatly to Howard, who failed to grasp a great opportunity in front of goal. Dalrymple shot from the wing and the goalie saved, and later when Stewart had one on his own, Anderson pushed the ball over for a corner.
Ballymena continued to attack spiritedly, and both Ferguson and Fulton had to exercise all their ingenuity in coping with the attacks. Once when the ball came out of a ruck of players. Cassidy shot only to miss by inches.
It was Cassidy also who let Dalrymple away again to force a corner. Dalrymple struck the bar with another great try, and Nelson fired in another, which the 'keeper saved.
A free against Stewart brought danger to the home goal, but McCandless, using excellent judgement got the ball away in the nick of time. The referee stopped the game for a moment, someone on the unreserved side, it appears, having thrown a missile at him. However, the offence was not repeated during the game.
After Black had run out to make a clearance at the home end, Shiels was not put in possession and raced down the centre of the field. Fulton not only stopped him but fouled him, and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a free and cautioning the offender.
The incident took place just outside the penalty line, and William McCandless, who was entrusted with the resultant free, piloted the ball well and truly into the net. It was a dandy goal.
Murphy was fouled so badly that he had to retire for a time, and when he resumed it was seen that he was limping. Ballymena continued to be well in the picture right up to the end.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (12 November 1930)
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