Maguire nets as South maintain unbeaten run

South Antrim have adjusted well to life in the Ulster Premier League, taking five points from the opening five games. US1541-530cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson

South Antrim have adjusted well to life in the Ulster Premier League, taking five points from the opening five games. US1541-530cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

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Last weekend saw South Antrim Men’s Firsts don their swimwear and stretch their unbeaten run to three league games with a 1-1 draw in the pouring rain in Newry.

Paul Maguire netted for the visitors before Newry equalised just before half-time in a game dominated by South.

Having already beaten Newry 1-0 earlier in the season in the Kirk Cup group stages, South were confident of getting a result.

As they started well, the Newry keeper was equal to both Paul Maguire’s and Adam Glass’ early efforts. Even when he was beaten as Ward Phillips tapped home, the whistle rather dubiously went seconds after with the umpire awarding a short corner instead of playing the advantage.

After Nathan Gamble had seen a fine drag-flick saved, he held the ball up well and won South their second corner which was put away when Maguire deflected in.

As the half wore on Newry grew more into the game and created their own openings, but a combination of resolute defending and some fine saves from Mark Hutchinson kept them out.

South continued to press which resulted in their third corner of the game. The Newry keeper was equal to Glass’ drag flick and had to react quickly to deal with the subsequent rebound efforts from Getty, Glass and Phillips. As the half drew to a close Newry got a rare short corner of their own. Hutchinson, in goal, thwarted the initial effort but the South defenders couldn’t deal with the scramble which ensued afterwards and eventually Newry drew level on their third attempt to get the ball over the line.

After the interval, South again began in the ascendency. The midfield duo of Lee Marshall and John Semple continued to dictate things with the latter having particular joy.

Adam Glass proved to be a menace for the Newry back four and as the rain became more and more intense, so too did the pressure applied by South. Marshall came close with a quick fire reverse, after being played in cleverly by younger brother Adam from a long corner, but the home side’s keeper was once again found in superb form.

Unlucky not to win, South can be content with a point in tough conditions against a formidable side.

The Lisburn outfit return to action next Saturday with a 3pm push back against Portadown at Friends’ School.