It’s a demolition derby

It’s a demolition derby

BALLYNAHINCH crashed to their heaviest defeat of 2012 last weekend.

Last season, the locals were in Senior Two while North Down were in the Premier division, with both sides meeting in Senior One last Saturday as a result of relegation and promotion respectively.

Ballynahinch were missing injured skipper Grant Hayes while his central defensive partner Andrew Mulholland was forced to start despite also being injured.

During the game, Ballynahinch’s defensive crisis worsened when Ashley Brown had to leave the field with a knee injury which resulted in a trip to hospital.

The home side was also missing Tim Crean which meant a very weakened outfit took to the field and it was no surprise that North Down’s superior fitness told in the end.

And while the visitors scored seven goals, the fact it wasn’t more was due to home ‘keeper Mark Brown who pulled off a string of fine saves.

North Down took the lead from a short corner in the sixth minute. Ballyhaninch’s ‘keeper was expecting a drag flick effort, but he was out-foxed by the North Down striker whose effort stayed low and, uncharacteristically, went through Brown’s legs into the net.

Five minutes later the visitors led 2-0. The goal was awarded as a result of the controversial new rule which has been introduced this year governing deflections inside the penalty area.

No matter what a ball deflects off on its way into the net, even an umpire, a goal is awarded.

A North Down player drilled the ball into the Ballynahinch area at height and took a wicked deflection off defender Scott Leitch’s stick. Goalkeeper Brown thought the ball was high and dangerous before it took a deflection into the net. But the goal was allowed to stand.

Just before the interval North Down scored from play to make it 3-0 and Ballynahinch were left with a mountain to climb. The locals did earn five short corners in quick succession during the first half, but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

Despite the senior squad being down to the bare bones, Ballynahinch were intent on doing better in the second period, but North Down were superior in every department.

They pinged the ball about with confidence and Ballynahinch found it increasingly difficult to plug the gaps opening up in the middle of the park and in defence.

The visitors scored another four goals. North Down created chances at will, but Brown produced a string of excellent stops to prevent the score from reaching double figures.

While the netminder conceded four goals in the second period, he prevented more than double that amount of shots whistling past him into the net.

Alex Millar picked out Stuart Hunter with an inch-perfect pass with 10 minutes to go but the Ballynahinch midfielder squandered the opportunity.

A heavy defeat but not unexpected given Ballynahinch’s mounting injury list.

The senior side has no game this weekend which will allow players to recuperate ahead of their next game on December 15 at home to Newry where a win would take them to eight points and well clear of the relegation zone.

There was some good news for Ballynahinch last weekend when it emerged that a number of teams around them in Senior One, including Portadown, Queen’s and Armagh had all suffered defeats.

Ballynahinch 0

North Down 7