2 - 3
2 - 3
League (Irish League)
John Murphy (13)
John Smith (23)
J. McKay (Glasgow) (Referee)
Coleraine administered a tremendous shock to Ballymena on Saturday by defeating them by the odd goal in five at the Showgrounds, a result which was totally unexpected, and one which was, perhaps, as surprising to Coleraine as it was to Ballymena.
This feat the Bannsiders accomplished in spite of the fact that they played for almost all the second half without Mehaffey, their goalkeeper, who was incapacitated as the result of a collision with Shiels, and had to retire with a knee injury.
Playing under handicap they certainly showed any amount of pluck in keeping the invaders out and preventing them from equalising, and for this they must be given credit, though it must be conceded that on the run of the play Ballymena did not deserve to be a goal behind at the finish.
The first half produced some lively football, and not the least interesting feature was the changing fortunes of the teams. First Ballymena scored, then as a result of the misjudgement on the part of McCandless, Smith scored the equaliser.
Ballymena went ahead again, but eventually Coleraine again equaliser, and inside a minute they took the lead again, John Barr scoring what proved to be the winning goal.
When Coleraine had lost their goalkeeper a few minutes after resumption they concentrated on a defensive game in order to hold on to their goal lead if possible. In spite of doing nearly all the attacking in this half, an with only ten men against them, Ballymena were unable to penetrate the stubborn defence the Coleraine men set up, and the end came with the score still favouring the visitors.
Play commenced in a drizzling rain which, however, soon cleared off. In the course of the opening exchanges, which were even, a free was given against McNinch just outside the home penalty area, but Stewart came to the rescue.
Both Reid and McCandless conceded corners, but Stewart again cleared the lines, and when Coleraine came back McNinch charged down a shot by Smith and sent the home forwards off on a fast attack, which ended in Gilmour firing a shot over the bar.
Returning to the attack, the Ballymena front line completely outwitted their opponents, and Gilmour was on the mark this time with a teaser which Mehaffey saved. Then Murphy lashed the ball in, but Shiels headed it straight into the air, and a free to Coleraine spoiled any chance of a goal.
Barr was injured, but was able to resume soon after attention on the line. Ballymena had now settled down to play a useful game, and were giving the Coleraine defence a busy time, Murphy and Gilmour being the chief sources of worry.
They were working together delightfully and giving a promise of making a fine wing. Murphy sent in a great shot across goal, but there were no heads there. Gilmour followed in with a shot that was blocked, and then Stewart sent along a grounder which whizzed past the post.
The opening goal came at the end of thirteen minutes' play. Nelson let Dalrymple away, and the latter, after a speedy race along the wing, fired in a shot which Mehaffey stopped, but failed to hold, and it was left to John Murphy to put on the finishing touch after a shot from Gilmour had been charged down.
A second goal might have followed in the next minute when Murphy gave the forwards a lovely chance when he put the ball across goal again, but three forwards failed to turn it into the net, and it went to Dalrymple, who returned it across goal again, and Murphy made a valiant effort to connect with his head, but just missed.
Ballymena still kept up the pressure, and Shiels turned in a quick shot which found Mehaffey ready. Then Murphy again gave the inside man another fine opening, but it went abegging. Having been confined to their own end for a considerable length of time.
Coleraine at length broke through their opponent's ranks and when Smith was going hard for goal, McCandless tackled him and tried to get the ball back to Black but the pass fell short, and Smith jumped in and scored the equaliser, at the end of twenty-three minutes.
Nelson was injured and had to retire, yet during his absence Ballymena went ahead again, James Gilmour finishing a sparkling piece of play by him and Murphy by turning in a lovely shot which left Mehaffey standing.
Ballymena were going so well now that it only seemed a matter of how many goals they would win by, but they got a rude shock five minutes later when, after McCandless had been worsted by Norman Lynn and Lyness, the former shot almost from the line, and the ball went sailing between Black's hands into the net.
Another shock came directly on the heels of this when Black kicked the ball out to Lynn's toe, and Lynn at once got it across and John Barr headed it into the net.
The second half was not long in progress when Mehaffey, Coleraine's goalkeeper, was injured in a collision with Shiels and had to retire for the rest of the match, the cartilage of a knee being injured. Mitchell stepped into the breach, and Kelly fell back to assist McGonigle.
Ballymena pressed strongly and forced a corner, and later Murphy sent the ball across and Shiels headed behind. Though Ballymena hemmed their opponents in their own end they were finding it difficult to get within shooting distance, the Coleraine backs putting up a stonewall defence, and Mitchell taking many risks when danger loomed up.
It was only rarely now that the Coleraine forwards made any headway, and as often as not McNinch and McCandless had them off-side so that they were practically tied up. Mitchell saved well from Stewart and Gilmour in quick succession, and at the opposite end Black handled from Barr.
Casualties were plenty in this half, but were mostly of a minor description, and all the result of pure accidents. Nelis put in a great shot which Black pulled down well, and then Lyness, at the other end, nearly put the ball through his own goal.
Ballymena tried harder than ever now for a goal and there were some exciting exchanges in front of the Coleraine citadel, in the course of which Mitchell was injured in smothering a shot. He was throwing himself recklessly at the ball, and in another affray he was again hurt, but resumed almost immediately.
In the closing exchanges Ballymena forced three corners in succession, but the equaliser still eluded them. The match ended with them still pressing.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (12 December 1930)
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