Ballymena 7
Coleraine 0
League (Irish League)

7 - 0

League (Irish League)
Saturday, October 3rd, 1931
Ballymena Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

John Murphy 
William McCready (10)
William Cox (15)
John Barr (27)
David Flannigan (38)
Robert Stewart (44)
John Barr (72)

Team Managers
Selection Committee
John McCandless

Starting Eleven
James King
Robert Stewart
Billy McCandless
Robert Davison
Joseph Beggs
William McCready
David Flannigan
William Cox
John Murphy
John Barr
Andrew Haddow
Charles Magee
Alfred Dickson
William Mears
Ernest Leckey
William Devan
William Chambers
John Williamson
Robert Lyness


None. None.

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

W. McClean (Belfast) (Referee)

Match Report

Ballymena upset all calculations on Saturday, and incidentally smashed a long standing record, when, for the first time in their history, they defeated Coleraine at the Showgrounds.

It was an overwhelming victory, the home forwards simply running riot and the half-backs joining them with a scoring orgy, the like of which has been seldom seen at this ground.

In all, seven goals were scored by Ballymena, every one of them the result of downright good play. Early in the game McCready opened the scoring, Cox added the second, Barr followed with another, Flannigan drove home the fourth, and before the interval Stewart scored the fifth, direct from a free kick. In the second half Barr and Murphy brought the home score to seven.

That Coleraine did not score a single goal, and hardly ever shaped like it, is an indication of just how poor they were in comparison with Ballymena. The weakest spots in the team were in the forward department, which could do with considerable strengthening.

It was pleasant to note the machine-like efficiency of the home front line, which did not carry a single passenger, and moved with a precision and zest that was good to see. Haddow's return to the team, this time at inside right had a good deal to do with this. He showed that he is made of the right stuff, and now that he has struck form he should do well.

McNinch (Ballymena) and Mitchell (Coleraine) were absentees, both playing for the Irish League against the Scottish League at Belfast. Ballymena were also without Nelson, Mitchell and Stoddart, the first two being on the injured list, and the last named being in hospital. Hodge, of course, is still on the injured list also, and has not played for weeks. Nesbitt, Pringle and Lindsay were off the Coleraine team.

McCandless won the toss for Ballymena which was taken as a good omen by the crowd. Coleraine's opening movement was speedily checked and the Ballymena forwards raced towards the Slemish end, Barr and Murphy combining in a neat heading display. Murphy forced a corner off Connor, and later Barr swept the ball right across the goalmouth but it was not taken up.

Davison began impressively at the Ballymena end by effecting several steady clearances, his kicking being both clean and neat. As yet McCandless had not been greatly troubled, but when his time came he played his customary cool and level-headed game, so that everything considered the defence was as steady as one could wish for.

Shortly after Barr had shot over the bar, Ballymena returned to the attack, and at the end of ten minutes' play the ball came in from a scramble on the right and William McCready turned it deftly into the net for the opening goal, which was hailed with great applause.

Such a promising started boded well for Ballymena, and they kept up a regular series of attacks which always carried danger. A typical dash along the wing by Cox nearly brought further disaster to Coleraine when Barr shot hard and straight, but unfortunately for the visitors the shot was blocked.

By this time Ballymena had settled down, and all departments were working harmoniously together, showing good understanding and co-operating so extraordinarily well that they made Coleraine look rather small. When the second goal of the game came, at the end of fifteen minutes, it was no great surprise. McCready started the movement by a neat dribbling run up the middle and pushed the ball forward to Barr, who, after a tussle with Dickson, placed it for William Cox to dash in and find the net with a well-aimed shot.

Up to the present Coleraine had attacked only very spasmodically and with little or no success, the Ballymena half-backs and full-backs being too many for them. They were baulked at almost every turn. In the Ballymena goal King had so far assumed the role of spectator, but was now called on to catch a drifting shot from the left, and he managed it without difficulty.

It was notceable that Haddow had at least struck his true form. The crowd was immesnsely pleased at the way he was working the ball with both head and feet, flicking it here, there, and everywhere just where it could be used to the best advantage. He was certainly putting a lot of ginger into the attack.

After McCready had missed by inches, Barr rattled a great shot off the crossbar. A few inches lower and it would have been a certain goal, as Magee was hopelessly out of position. A snap shot by Lyness missed its object at the other end. Once again Coleraine goal had a narrow escape when the ball was lobbed in and Dickson let it go to Magee, who failed to gather it, and it rolled on the outside of the upright by a hairsbreadth.

With twenty-seven minutes gone a free-kick fell to Ballymena. Stewart dropped the ball beautifully in front of goal for John Barrto get his head to it and divert into the net for Ballymena's third.

Coleraine livened up a little after this and got well up, but King advanced out of goal and cleared. Then Ballymena attacked again and Haddow sent a long pass out to Murphy, who forced a corner, which was unproductive. Murphy put Stewart in possession, and again he dropped the ball into the danger zone, where Barr rose to it in fine style, but headed over. Haddow let Barr away, and, just as he was going to shoot he was brought down heavily.

Another goal, however, was not long delayed, for in the next minute David Flannigan collared the ball as it came out after a corner kick, and sent in a whacking great shot which beat Magee all the way. This was the fourth goal inside thirty-eight minutes, but despite the heavy score against them Coleraine did not throw in the sponge. They were able to do very little, however, against a defence that was giving nothing away. Once they did break through, but King saved Hargan's parting shot.

Barr, who was playing better than ever he had done for Ballymena, raced away up the middle himself, and after eluding the opposition sent in a splendid shot which Magee saved on the ground. Then Ballymena received a free-kick for a foul on Murphy, and Robert Stewart was entrusted with the shot. The ball rose gracefully in the air and curved down into goal, well out of Magee's reach, and a great howl of delight went up from the crowd. It was, indeed, a great goal.

Coleraine resumed in better style, Chambers flashing in a brilliant shot which King saved on the ground. In trying to stop a Coleraine attack Beggs missed the ball altogether, but the best Donnelly could do with a great opportunity was to drive the ball over the bar.

Ballymena soon returned to their irrepressible attacks, and Cox swerved the ball well over to Murphy, who raced straight for goal and netted, but the goal was disallowed for an infringement. Barr forced a corner, but without any tangible result. Then Magee saved from Cox, and cleared, but Stewart met the oncoming ball and drove it into goal again, Magee saving splendidly.

Ever since the start of the match Flannigan, Ballymena's centre-half, was one of the big men of the team, if not the biggest. When the defence was in action he was back to lend his aid, and when the forwards were attacking he was well up to help them and to catch any stray balls coming out again. All of sudden he decided to have another try himself, and away he went with the ball at his toe. The first opponent found himself mystified, the second had to give it up, the third was outwitted and the fourth fared no better. Biff! He let fly, and the ball just grazed the crossbar to the accompaniment of thunderous applause. Such a great effort deserved a better fate.

Coleraine steadied themselves a little and looked like reducing the deficit when Donnelly had possession close in, but King flung himself at the ball and then threw it clear. At the opposite end a shot from Haddow was little high. Again Donnelly was almost through, but Davison swept across in front of him and saved the situation by conceding a corner.

Magee stopped a shot from Barr, but dropped the ball behind for a corner. From the flag kick Murphy crossed it well in, and John Barr headed it past the goalie into the net for Ballymena's sixth.

A corner to Coleraine brought danger, but Beggs cleared well. Then Barr raced out for goal again, and when only a few yards out passed the ball to Murphy, who found himself with nobody to beat but the goalie. He failed to score, however, when scoring looked the easiest thing in the world, sending the ball right across goal and over the line.

After Lyness had missed an opening at the home end, Cox got possession from Flannigan and shot into goal, but Magee saved. He dropped the ball, however, and was reaching for it when John Murphy took it from his fingers and tipped it into the net for Ballymena's seventh.

Up to the end it was nearly all Ballymena's game. Haddow again tested Magee after tricking an opponent nicely. At the home end, when King was sprawling on the ground after saving a shot, a Coleraine forward missed badly with an open goal in front of him.

Match report written by Ballymena Observer (9 October 1931)

Squad Statistics (as at October 3rd, 1931)

1931-1932 All Time
James King (GK)24 10 - 10 -
Robert Stewart25 101532
Billy McCandless38 71542
Robert Davison21 6 - 6 -
David Flannigan25 4141
Joseph Beggs22 1 - 1 -
William McCready17 51165
Andrew Haddow28 5 - 5 -
William Cox - 9393
John Murphy33 327351
John Barr26 4444

League Table (as at October 3rd, 1931)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 7 6 1 0 13
2. Derry City 8 5 3 0 13
3. Belfast Celtic 8 4 3 1 11
4. Glentoran 7 4 1 2 9
5. Distillery 7 4 1 2 9
6. Cliftonville 7 3 2 2 8
7. Glenavon 7 3 1 3 7
8. BALLYMENA 8 2 2 4 6
9. Coleraine 8 2 2 4 6
10. Larne 8 2 2 4 6
11. Ards 8 2 1 5 5
12. Bangor 7 1 2 4 4
13. Portadown 7 2 0 5 4
14. Newry 7 1 1 5 3