PSNI Men’s 1st XI (6) v (3) Ballymena Men’s 2nd XI
Saturday 14th January
Junior League 6
Only one Club game survived the weekend winter backlash with Ballymena Men’s 2nds travelling back to the Playball Pavilion at Stormont, this time to play PSNI 1st XI, after last week’s defeat to NICS!
This game didn’t start much better for Ballymena as they quickly found themselves a goal down in the opening two minutes, from PSNI’s first attack! Ballymena weathered the storm in the next ten minutes, denying any more goals through good defensive cover, releasing Philip Montgomery on the right wing to find Alex McKeown, who delivered a cross circle ball for Jack Hutchinson to get in front of his man to send the ball into the home goal to level the game!
For much of the half the game had end to end attack from both teams, but PSNI took the advantage into the break scoring twice more for a 3-1 lead.
As they had in the first half Ballymena attacked in the second with good off the ball movement and passing, forcing the home side to defend deep in their circle! A Ballymena shot on target was stopped on the goal line and the resulting penalty flick was guided home by McKeown to reduce the deficit to 3-2!
Further attacks by PSNI brought several good saves from Matthew Orr in the Ballymena goal, but another penalty flick this time to PSNI took the score to 4-2, with Orr missing the save by the narrowest of margins.
The heavy pitch from the constant rain and pace of the game was taking its toll on both sides, but undeterred Ballymena continued to play good possession hockey, however PSNI were difficult to stop on the break and added to more goals.
In the last ten minutes, Ballymena took control of the game, with Archer and Cole working hard on the left wing. A deserved penalty corner late in the game saw the visitors add another to their tally with Alister Hanna’s strike from the top of the circle deflected in off a defenders stick to make the final score 6-3 to PSNI.
This was a much improved performance from Ballymena, who remained competitive throughout, with encouraging performances from all the schoolboys.
Thanks to Phil Moody for umpiring.
Team: M. Orr(GK), R. Jess, A. Hanna, J. Grimason, A. McKeown, P. Montgomery, E. Archer,
W. Barr, B. Mills, S. Lamont, J. Hutchinson, K. McConnaghie, T. Cole, S. Glass.