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Match : 1st XI v Ballymena
Date : 2008-04-05
Venue : H
Score : 0-1
By Kriss Leslie
On Saturday East welcomed Ballymena to Paisley Park, a rescheduled fixture from earlier in the season. It was always going to be a tough game, however we knew that if we played like the way we can do, we would be in with a chance.
In the first half, East had the majority of the chances to take the lead. We had quite a few short corners, but unfortunatley failed to convert any of them. At the other end of the pitch, we defended and held our shape fantastically well and limited Ballymena to very few chances. Half time came, and it was 0-0. It had been a good first half performance from the home side, in our changed black shirts. We felt confident ahead of the second half that we could go on and get something from the game. As always we warned against having a poor start to the second half, and everyone recognised the importance of a good start after last weeks disappointment against Omagh.
The second half started and East were up for it, unlike in weeks gone by. Ballymena came at us, but they failed to break us down. East then, with the added pace of Kris Stewart at half time hit Ballymena with a few counter attacks, and managed to win a few more short corners in the process. By the half way stage of the second half, the game was delicately poised. However, with about 15-20 minutes left Ballymena got their first clear cut chance, and they took it. After a well worked short corner our defence failed to react, and gave Ballymena a free shot from the right hand side of the goal. East were behind but still felt confident of getting an equaliser. Though with 10 minutes left, East suffered a huge blow. Jamesy Greer picked up an awful knee injury and had to be taken to hospital via an ambulance. We wish him all the best in his recovery.
After this setback, East ploughed on, searching for the equaliser. Unfortunately it never came, but everyone realised that we were unlucky not to have came out of the game with at least a point.
It was a much improved performance from the Green Machine, but again luck wasnít on our side. That game shows that we can compete with teams such as Ballymena when we really want to. We just have to believe we can and put enough effort in to challenge these teams that are higher up in the league. From now until the end of the season, we face Armagh, Parkview and Campbellians, all in that order with the Armagh and Campbellians games being at home. Armagh will be a very tough game as always, but we must still put everything into it. On the other hand I believe the games that we should really be concentrating on are against Parkview and Campbellians. We have shown we can compete with such teams, as Saturday shows and as the home game against Parkview earlier in the season also shows.
If we go to Parkview and defend well with a good shape, as we did on Saturday, and take our chances up front, we will definitley be in with a shout. The same applies for Campbellians at home. They are both below Ballymena in the league, and it therefore isnít unrealistic to be aiming to pick up a few more points before the seasons over. But we must remember that you only get out of the game what you put into it!!!!!!