Mearns to the double for Under-15's
Ballymena United Youth Academy Under-15's welcomed Sion Swifts to the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
BALLYMENA UNITED YA U15 2-1 SION SWIFTS U15
NIBFA Subway National League Under-15
Date: Saturday 18th February 2017
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds - Kick-off: 12.15pm
Lewis Mearns 2.
Before Saturday's game both teams paid their respects to John Hampshire (grandfather of Under-15's captain, Oliver Hampshire) with a minutes silence before the game began and it promised to be a tightly fought affair.
The game began with the home side storming forward. The movement from Lewis Mearns was causing major problems in the Sion defence and it wasn't long before the deadlock was broken. A ball from Matthew Lorimer was lifted over the onrushing keeper by Mearns to give his side the lead.
Almost immediately after, Mearns struck again. A neat passing move down the right between Filip Zdonek and Jude Currie saw Mearns find space in the box, and he made no mistake steering the ball into the bottom corner. Ballymena continued to dominate, Currie testing the keeper with a great volley and Lorimer's shot brushing the top of the bar. However a goal came came against the run of play. A free kick from 30 yards was curled into the top corner to give an edgy end to the half.
The second half began in a similar vein to the first. Ballymena creating multiple chances but unable to finish. Mearns showed flashed of Dennis Bergkamp with a beautiful flick and turn around the defender, but the goalkeeper made a great save. A lovely through ball from Davidson found Mearns one-on-one but the Ballymena forward tried to round the keeper who smothered the ball at his feet. Lorimer got in behind after good work from Zdonek, but his attempt to beat the keeper was saved as well.
A corner from the right was met by Mearns at the back post with the goal gaping, but he somehow nodded over the bar. A cross from Blake Douglas, called up from the Under-14s found Lorimer at the exact same spot as Mearns minutes before, but for the second time the ball found its way over the bar. Douglas tested the keeper with two shots, one from either side, and Davidson had an effort charged down on the edge of the box.
When Sion attacked in the closing minutes it looked like it might be one of those days for the home side. The number nine got onto the end of a long ball, Crockard got a touch, and a fantastic saving tackle by Jack Rainey kept his side in front. The home side showed good resilience despite some of the tactics employed by the opposition to hold out and claim a valuable three points. Some passages of play were very slick and ultimately with better finishing the result could have been a lot more comfortable.
Ballymena United YA Under-15 team: W. Crockard, C. McCurdy, J. Neeson, D. Heaney, J. Rainey, J. McMullan, M. Davidson, F. Zdonek, J. Currie, M. Lorimer, L. Mearns. Subs. B. Douglas.