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Match : 3rd XI v Ballynahinch 3rds
Date : 2001-10-19
Venue : A
Score : 1-3
Scorers : Johnson
By 3rd XI Captain
A late night start worthy of any Boxing promotion saw The 3rdrd XI perform in front of a crowd of, albeit a very small crowd, Ballynahinch supporters.
Once again the team has undergone major changes and for this match the line-up included Stephen Swann at Centre Forward, the Beak moving to Right Midfield, Tom Watson taking the Centre Back position in the absence of Gordon Gillespie. Nathan Haddock returned to the fold at Centre Midfield, not his natural position, and James Fitzpatrick made his debut on the bench. It is not often that the 3rd's can have the luxury of substitutes but for this match two were available.
Ballynahinch fielded a side of, in the main, seasoned veterans but for the first 15 minutes E Antrim had the ascendancy and were unfortunate not to score. They kept the game simple on the whole moved well to one another, not attempting, as has been the fault in the past, to try and pass the length of the field.
Ballynahinch brought the ball out of defence an attacked down their left wing. They received a free just short of the 25, which was cracked in at about knee high. The Beak dropped it dead in front of their Centre Forward and waited for the whistle for lifting. The centre forward, being a twinkle toed 26 stone, deftly stuck his stick out a deflected it into the net. Much remonstration with the Umpire achieved nothing.
E Antrim fought back and subs James Fitzpatrick and Gerard Mahoney took over from Dinger at left midfield and Johnny (I don't want to play in goal if the results important) Duncan, at right wing. Unfortunately, despite all the effort, a breakthrough seemed impossible with shots going wide or being saved by a reasonably athletic, or perhaps lucky, keeper.
About ten minutes from half time Ballynahinch once again made a foray into the E Antrim 25. Personally I hate centre forwards who not only appear to take up about 75% of the circle but have the knack of wafting their stick in the exact position and at the exact time that the ball arrives at that said position. The chance of having ones body interposed exactly between the point of contact and the goal can be calculated by the improbability drive - two billion to one and falling!!
Half time and 2 nil down. In truth we had not done anything wrong and our BRA contingent had coped extremely well with a side of seasoned players. The old brigade hadn't done badly either given a couple of elementary errors. Luck had not been quite on our side and shooting had been a little off target.
Ballynahinch added a third after 15 minutes counter attacking and leaving the defence floundering with a three on one situation. Things were definitely looking a bit desperate.
Then as if by magic a definite short corner decision was magically transformed into a flick by the umpire. Not that we were complaining, just a little bemused, I still think he was practicing his hand signals and didn't like to take it back - especially after missing the lifting decision in the first half). Neil (I only have to lose 2 stone to get back on the 1st's) Johnston stepped forward a deftly placed it in the top left hand corner.
Despite renewed efforts we were unable to achieve any further score but, having said that we deprived Ballynahinch any further opportunities.