South fourths edge classic encounter


WITH the Christmas break coming up, South were looking to end 2012 on a positive note with a win against their local rivals. With the reverse fixture finishing in a 6-5 win for the boys in black and red earlier in the season, this was sure to be a classic.

South started very brightly, with Garvey seemingly intimidated by the Fourths 100% home record this year, but South were able to capitalise on this shaky start from the Hillsborough team and created a few great chances. When Andrew Smylie, deputising in central midfield due to personnel shortages, played a perfectly weighted through ball into the D, it seemed to only need a touch from Adam Pyper to take it past the Garvey keeper, but he somehow managed to get a block on it. But South were undeterred and after some great play and classy defending from South they eventually found the break through after 15 minutes. When South defended a long corner well, they broke away quickly with Alan Hamilton and Adam Pyper, who were ruthless in attack all day. They played a lovely one-two pass leaving Pyper with a one on one with the Garvey keeper, but Pyper, cool as you like, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net. South continued in much the same vein, restricting Garvey to a few crashed balls into the South D, but the Fourths stood strong, marked well and protected their goal well. Smylie in midfield was able to thread a few more balls through the centre of the park, so when he sent one straight to South top-goalscorer in the D with only keeper to put the ball past it was no surprise when the dull thud of the ball hitting the backboard was heard around Laurelhill sending all South stakeholders into a frenzy. South carried their two goal advantage into the break knowing that questions would still be asked of them in the second half.

After an injury to vice captain and fatigue in various positions, South had to reshuffle the defence at half time. For a period, this didn’t seem to make any difference with South threatening again and again. When South won a short corner 10 minutes into the second half, they knew if they could put it away, it would all but end the tie. The ball ended up at Junior’s stick again in the D, who turned and slotted the ball underneath the keeper’s foot giving the Lisburn men a 3 goal advantage. But Garvey weren’t just going to roll over and let their local rivals walk over them, so when they picked off a misplaced clearance and ended up 3 on 1 with the keeper, it was inevitable that they would score, and they did thanks to deft flick over the oncoming South keeper. But they weren’t finished there and showed a lot of heart to win a short corner, awarded for an inexplicable stick tackle which everyone but the travelling umpire seemed to miss. With Tommy Crocket standing over the short corner, the South defence knew they’d be in for a scary few seconds, but in the end, a slip the left caught the South defence out and he was able to pick his spot at the near post with a thundering ball. South decided this was too close for comfort, so Adam Pyper turned on the pace almost immediately, leaving the Garvey defence for dead in his wake, playing a fantastic ball across the face of goal which Junior slid in to connect with at the back post, collecting his second hat-trick of the season and restoring South’s 2 goal lead, with only two minutes left on the clock South thought they were safe, but the Garvey umpire had other ideas awarding another short corner, this time for feet. A perfectly executed drag flick from Garvey powerhouse Crocket sent the ball right into the left hand post with ferocious pace. With now only 60 seconds remaining, things were tight and South were determined not to concede again, but with yet another short corner given, for an unexplained reason, South defence gritted their teeth, put on their game faces, and stood firm with Andy Hanley rushing out straight to the top of D and clearing the ball, with the final whistle blown just seconds later. This result meant South had done a home and away double over their local rivals, an early Christmas present for all involved in South Antrim.

Thanks to George Redpath for umpiring and for all supporters who turned out on such a cold day. The Fourths go into the Christmas break in a strong position and hope to build on it with a match against Garvey “7s” in the New Year, South will be keen to avenge their 7-2 loss to the Sevenths earlier on in the season.