Cliftonville 1
Ballymena 1
League (Irish League)


1 - 1


League (Irish League)
Saturday, December 19th, 1931
2:30 PM Kick-off

Norman McCaw (5) J.P. Surgenor 

Team Managers
Selection Committee Selection Committee

Starting Eleven
Alfred Gardiner
Robert Skelton
Robert Maguire
James McNeill
F.A. Quinn
James McClelland
P. Wallace
Robert Falloon
James Millar
W. Wilson
Norman McCaw
James King
James Surgenor
John McNinch
Robert Stewart
Billy McCandless
William McCready
William Cox
William Hood
John Murphy
J.P. Surgenor
Ronald Cameron

None. J.P. Surgenor

None. None.

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

A. Fogg (Bolton) (Referee)

Match Report

The match between Cliftonville and Ballymena at Belfast on Saturday was one of the dullest affairs of the season, neither team giving a good display.

While Ballymena were perhaps the more methodical, Cliftonville were the poorer finishers, though Ballymena were not free from blame in the latter aspect also. A draw of a goal each was a fair index of the respective merits of the teams. Both goals were scored in the first half McCaw scoring for Cliftonville and Surgenor, who was given a trial at centre-forward, for Ballymena.

Surgenor again deputised for Flannigan at centre-half in the Ballymena team, while another player of the same name, who formerly assisted Summerfield, led the attack in place of Barr, who was unfit. Cameron partnered Cox on the right wing.

For the first few minutes Cliftonville were the aggressors, but inaccurate shooting and a good defence nullified their efforts. They continued to press strongly, however and five minutes after the start Norman McCaw rounded McNinch and opened the scoring from a range that left King little chance.

Cliftonville had a great opportunity of adding to the score a minute later when they had the goal almost at their mercy, but three or four of the forwards all made a sorry mess of it one after the other.

Ballymena retaliated with a quick run in which Cameron and Cox were prominent, and from the former's back-heeler Cox drove the ball across and Murphy fired in a great shot which Gardiner handled well. After having one or two movements spoiled by offside, Ballymena raced for goal again, and Cameron struck the upright with a beauty which had Gardiner guessing, but the ball was cleared on the rebound.

Play swung quickly from end to end, but little good football was seen. Both sets of full backs were defending steadily, and were successful in breaking up the forward rushes. Some incidents between McNinch and McCaw relieved the monotony. On the Ballymena right Hood was giving the forwards excellent passes, but they could have been better used. Murphy had another try, which was blocked, and shots from both Cameron and Cox were wide of the mark.

The Ballymena goal was under severe pressure again when McCandless raced across to the right and saved the situation by sending to touch. He was having many tussles with the Cliftonville forwards, and nearly every case came out on top. McCready and Murphy worked along the left again and the latter lifted the ball over, but Maguire headed clear as Cox jumped for the ball. Then Cox received from Cameron and dropped the ball in front of goal and Surgenor netted but the referee disallowed the goal on the plea of offside, though it was difficult to agree with his decision.

A free to Ballymena was taken by McNinch, who drove the ball into Gardiner's arms. The goalie dropped the ball when hustled by Surgenor, but eventually it was cleared. At the moment Ballymena were doing all the pressing, and again Surgenor made a good attempt with the head, but Gardiner coped with the situation. From a free taken by Stewart the Ballymena leader headed in again, and again Gardiner saved. Ballymena's next attempt, however, was attended with success. Murphy shot and Gardiner saved, but failed to hold the shot, and J.P. Surgenor, who had stumbled and fallen, turned the ball over his head into the net for the equalising goal.

Ballymena continued to have rather more of the play, and from Cox's corner Murphy gave Garinder a handwarmer. At the opposite end McCaw missed an open goal when splendidly positioned. Up to the interval both goals were visited in turn, and Cameron on the one side, and Millar on the other had tries, but both Gardiner and King were safe.

The game resumed with a short-lived Ballymena attack, which was succeeded by the Amateurs breaking away to the Ballymena end, where they remained for some time. Millar missed a glaring opportunity to put Cliftonville on the lead. McCandless and McNinch had their hands full at the moment and got through their work very successfully, yet the Cliftonville forwards had openings which might have been snapped up.

These they lost through sheer incompetence, Millar and Wallace being the chief offenders. McCaw, who finished better, called on King to stop a fierce drive, which the goalie dealt with a nimble style. In saving a subsequent shot from McCaw, King held tenaciously to the ball when on the ground and in the scramble received a nasty kick in the face from Millar. He was able to resume soon.

Further good work by Murphy and McCready, who combined in a neat passing bout, ended in a corner, from which the ball was cleared. Then a free fell to Cliftonville, and was taken by Quinn, but King stopped the shot and cleared as Millar charged him. One of the nicest moves of the match was between Hood and Cameron, who passed and repassed, and eventually Hood placed the ball to Cox who flashed in a grand shot which Gardiner fisted out. Murphy met the ball when it came out and had hard lines with a first-timer.

Murphy was on the mark the next time with a shot that gave Gardiner some trouble, and later the centre-forward got clean through between the backs and shot for goal but Gardiner, who had advanced to meet him, got the tips of his fingers to the ball and diverted it for a corner.

In the next minute Cameron dashed past the opposition and was showing great speed for a race for goal when Maguire brought him down heavily just outside the penalty area. McCandless took the kick and forced another corner, and Cliftonville also received a flag kick, but the defences prevailed. In the closing minutes McCready had a chance, but drove the ball over.

Match report written by Ballymena Observer (25 December 1931)

Squad Statistics (as at December 19th, 1931)

1931-1932 All Time
James King (GK)24 20 - 20 -
Robert Stewart25 211642
John McNinch28 1941366
James Surgenor21 3 - 3 -
Billy McCandless38 181652
William McCready17 112226
William Hood - 11 - 11 -
J.P. Surgenor22 1111
Ronald Cameron26 103135
John Murphy33 1458454
William Cox - 185185

League Table (as at December 19th, 1931)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 16 12 3 1 27
2. Belfast Celtic 16 10 4 2 24
3. Glentoran 16 10 1 5 21
4. Derry City 16 8 5 3 21
5. Coleraine 16 8 4 4 20
6. Portadown 16 6 4 6 16
7. Distillery 16 5 5 6 15
8. BALLYMENA 16 5 4 7 14
9. Cliftonville 16 5 4 7 14
10. Glenavon 16 5 3 8 13
11. Newry 15 5 2 8 12
12. Larne 15 3 4 8 10
13. Ards 16 3 3 10 9
14. Bangor 16 1 4 11 6