Three amazing saves in the penalty shoot out by Jack Tate ensured the Under 13 team progressed to the next round of the South Belfast Cup when they defeated Stonebridge last Saturday at Hydebank. Missing a few regular players manager Brian Steenson had to shuffle his squad with Ben Onuoha and Thomas Munroe starting. With five minutes gone a super run by Ben Onuoha saw him shoot narrowily wide while great link up play by sisters Alison McMaster and Emma McMaster saw them torment the Stonebridge right back. Stonebridge were finding it hard to get out of their half but Ballynahinch just could not make the breakthrough. Time and time they were thwarted by the Stonebridge keeper who pulled of three super one handed saves from Alex Burtney, Corey Fitzpatrick and Ben Onuocha. The first half remained scoreless. In the second half Stonebridge regrouped and started to get closer to the Ballynahinch players not allowing them as much time on the ball. Ballynahinch continued to press and had a number of corners which no one could get on the end of. Stonebridge had a lively centre forward but Jack Davis never gave him a moment to settle on the ball. Thomas Munroe was having success on the right hand side as he ran at the left back. The game finished without a goal and went to extra time. Joshua Higginson came on at right wing and made several good runs and crosses into the box. With time running out Stonebridge broke but Jack Tate , who had not really been tested during the game , was alert to the danger and made a super save. At the other end Alex Burtney had a chance to win the game but shot just beyond the post. And so to penalties. Stonebridge went first with Jack Tate pulling of a great save, Alison McMaster calmly stroked home her penalty, Stonebridge missed their second,Mark Murray had his saved, Jack Tate dived to his right to save Stonebridge’s third before Ben Onuoha blasted his penalty into the roof of the net. Stonebridge scored their fourth kick while Dylan Fitzpatrick had his saved. When Jack Tate dived to his left to save Stonebridge’s fifth penalty the job was done and Ballynahinch progressed to the next round. Ballynahinch’s man of the match was Jack Davis.
Two stunning strikes from Curtis Ross helped the Under 11 team to the points against Dungoyne at Moat Park last Saturday. Hoping to build on their performance of the previous week Ballynahinch were up for the game and right from the start took the game to Dungoyne. Within five minutes they were ahead when Harry Bell finished of a good move to fire his shot across the keeper and into the corner. Ballynahinch were in control with Curtis Ross pulling the strings in the middle of the park and finding his wingers with some fine passing. On the left Eoin Teggart was seeing plenty of the ball and was causing the Dungoyne problems with his attacking runs. From one of his crosses Luke Martin was unlucky not to score when the Dungoyne keeper held his volleyed shot. Ballynahinch were playing some super passing football and created a number of chances which they just could not convert. Dungoyne were restricted to the odd attack which the defence of Cara Murray, Philip Leahy, Sarah Crompton and Conor Graham dealt with comfortably. The second half mirrored the first with Ballynahinch putting Dungoyne under pressure with Eoin Teggart and Luke Martin both going close. On the right Scott McCaw linked up well with Daniel Hewitt who was coming into the game more with his speed and tricky footwork causing all sorts of problems to the Dungoyne right back. It looked as if Ballynahinch were just not going to get another goal but midway through the half Curtis Ross received the ball twenty five yards out and hit an amazing shot into the top corner of the net. This spurred Ballynahinch and two minutes later a pass from Daniel Hewitt found Harry Bell who beat his marker before placing a super shot into the corner of the net. Ballynahinch were now running at ease at Dungoyne and Daniel Hewitt was rewarded with a goal when the keeper failed to hold his shot. With five minutes to go Ballynahinch were awarded a free kick outside the penalty box when Daniel Hewitt was fouled yet again. Curtis Ross stepped up to take the free kick and placed his shot delightfully into the top corner. This was another good performance from the entire team who thoroughly deserved the victory. Ballynahinch’s man of the match was Curtis Ross.
The Under 16 team were also at Moat Park where they played Ards Rangers. Missing several players made it a tough trip and Ards picked up the points. Changes meant that John McMenamin played at the centre of the defence while Greg Allison was left to forge alone up front. Ballynahinch competed well in midfield and tried to find Greg Allison but the passing was just not on target. In the second half Matthew Manley went into goals and made some fine saves. Scott McNeill floated in a couple of fine free kicks but there was no one to get on the end of them. As the game entered the final minutes the ball broke to Graeme McMullan on the edge of the box and he hit a great shot into the roof of the net. Although defeated the team did put in a spirited performance. Ballynahinch’s man of the match was Matthew Manley.
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