4 - 0
League (Irish League)
Jimmy Glover (30)
Martin McGuffie (44)
Hugh Gilmore (80)
W. Cowan (Belfast) (Referee)
For the first time this season Ballymena failed to register a single goal in a League match when they met Larne at the latter's ground on Saturday and retired defeated by four goals to nil.
The first half, as regards Ballymena, was a story of lost chance. Any good form which they showed was seen in this half, and times without number both Cassidy and Shiels pushed lovely passes up to Shaw, but he wasted every one of them, being slow on the up-take and too timid in the finishing.
A competent man might have had four or five goals. It was discouraging to see such efforts go for nothing.
Larne were always a quick-moving lot, ever eager for the fray, and seemingly well able to stick the pace on the heavy ground. They were more dangerous round goal than Ballymena, and a shot when they got a chance instead of hanging on to the ball.
Consequently no one was surprised at them being two goals up at the interval. In the second half Ballymena were outclassed, Larne playing like a team inspired and scoring two more goals.
Had it not been for some sound defensive work by the Ballymena backs the score would have been greater. In the closing stages a penalty was awarded for a foul on Shiels, but Irvine saved Cassidy's shot.
The teams opened slowly on the heavy ground. Ballymena were first to make headway, but Larne soon got on the move, and a shot from Ferguson struck the angle of the crossbar and upright.
Two corners to Larne followed in quick succession, but the lines were cleared. The Ballymena forwards carried play to the opposite end, where Cassidy headed in nicely for Irvine to bring off a smart save.
Then Shiels had a good chance to walk through, but hit the ball against an opponent, and afterwards Kilpatrick centred in and Shiels skimmed the bar with a header, Cassidy, who was scheming excellently, placed the ball for Shaw, who, when he had nothing to do but score, shot the ball right across the goal mouth.
Getting off again, Larne bore down on their opponent's goal, and McGuffie was just about to convert a pass from Aicken when Nelson got his foot in and the ball glanced off it over the bar for a corner. Making tracks towards the other end, the Ballymena forwards outwitted the defence, Kimlin beating several and pushing the ball out to Shaw, from whose return Shiels headed narrowly past.
The visitors were displaying better form now and for a period forced Larne to play a defensive game, but the much-wanted goal never came. Dalrymple tested Irvine, and Shiels was almost through when he was nudged off the ball at the last minute.
At the end of half an hour Larne opened the scoring per Jimmy Glover, who netted with a fine cross-shot which left McKean no chance. The homesters very nearly scored number two in the next minute when McGuffie had the goal at his mercy, but Dalrymple made a timely clearance at the expense of a corner.
Then a golden opportunity came Ballymena's way again when Cassidy manoeuvred through the defence and gave Shaw a glorious opening. Instead of shooting at once when he had a clear passage, Shaw tried to walk the ball through and lost it. On occasions Shaw had equally good chances, but let every one of them slip.
Shiels was brought down just outside the penalty line, and from the subsequent free McCandless steered the ball into goal, but Irvine was ready, saving at the expense of a corner. From the flag kick Reid, who was playing sturdily, got in a fast shot, which was also saved. Larne took up the running again, and shortly before the interval Martin McGuffie put them further ahead.
On the resumption, Stewart and Shaw exchanged places. Larne pressed strongly and Reid conceded a corner, and afterwards Aicken dropped the ball in nicely to Glover, who was lying close in, but failed to score.
Still attacking earnestly, Larne confined play to the Ballymena end, and both McCandless and Nelson,, not to mention Reid, had their hands full.
Such pressure, however, could not continue without a goal coming eventually, and after the goal had several miraculous escapes Martin McGuffie scored with McKean on the ground.
Ballymena were badly out of the picture at this stage, the Larne forwards harassing the defence considerably. Just when another goal seemed certain, Nelson cleared for a corner, and on other occasions both he and McCandless had to use all the ingenuity they possessed to keep the invaders out.
At long last, Ballymena transferred play to the Larne ned, but beyond forcing a couple of corners they made little impression. Stewart had a chance when Kilpatrick dropped the ball close in, but he booted it past from two yards out.
Deserved success came to Larne about ten minutes from the end when Hugh Gilmore headed through their fourth goal. Even after this the goal had narrow escapes, especially when a couple of shots from McGuffie rattled off the crossbar.
Two minutes from the end Shiels ran through the defence, but was brought down before he could crown his effort. Cassidy took the penalty kick, but Irvine was able to get the ball away.
Match report written by Ballymena Observer (23 January 1931)
|James McKean (GK)||24||9||-||12||-|