Determined South get back on track

LAST Saturday saw a determined South Antrim side try to get back on track against a Ballynahinch side which has greatly improved in recent years.

The game started off brightly with South passing the ball around without creating any clear cut chances.

Mid-way through the first half South made their possession count as Ian Glass crashed the ball into the circle which led to the ball falling on John Semple’s stronger side. He took the chance brilliantly firing the ball into the bottom corner with his reverse.

After this South continued their pressure which resulted in a short corner. Ricky O’Neill stepped up but unfortunately sent his drag flick crashing off the crossbar.

Despite South’s possession Ballynahinch got back into the game thanks mainly to some slack play from South. A quickly taken free hit resulted in a ‘hinch player dribbling past several South players before passing to a free man at the back post who converted the chance making the score 1-1.

After this setback South upped the tempo resulting in a mistake in ‘hinch’s defence which let Chris Henry through on the keeper. He selflessly played a pass around the on-rushing keeper which allowed Paul Maguire to tap the ball into the empty net.

South went into half-time knowing that they would have to improve on their first half display. Unfortunately this was not the case and once again Ballynahinch drew level thanks to some slack play from South. A man was left free inside the circle and the ‘hinch player made South pay firing the ball into the bottom corner.

South didn’t change their passing game and good play from South resulted in several short corners. The first of these came flying back off the post as Ricky O’Neill was once again stopped by the woodwork. The second resulted in the ball falling to Lee Marshall who slapped the ball high into the net. Unfortunately after conferring the umpires decided that the goal could not stand as the first shot from a short corner must be below the backboard unless flicked.

It took South sometime to recover from this and ‘hinch took advantage of this. Some good play from ‘hinch ended with the ball being played towards the back post which Ian Glass then cleared. However the umpire ruled that he had played the ball with the back of his stick and thus awarded a penalty stroke despite the many South protests.

South Antrim placed their hopes in their dependable goalkeeper Chris Moulden to make the save and he didn’t disappoint. A quick reaction saw him diving to his right and palming the ball out wide and in doing so raised South spirits.

South came out fighting after the save, winning several short corners in quick succession. This time South made them count, Chris Henry made it 3-2 with a well taken deflection. Ricky O’Neill converted South’s next short corner with a precise drag flick proving that it really is third time lucky.

The determination shown by the young South side to match a gritty Ballynahinch side for fight pleased the team as they look forward to travelling to Campbellians next week.