South share the spoils in exciting league encounter

Action from the match between South Antrim and Instonians, at Friends. US1549-536cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Action from the match between South Antrim and Instonians, at Friends. US1549-536cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

South Antrim 1st XI continued their Premier League campaign in the 3pm slot at Friends’ on Saturday past.

Their opponents Mossley resided at the bottom of the table prior to the game and presented a tough challenge for the men in red and black.

Mossley’s strong Kirk Cup run showed them to be a side of true quality.

South Antrim’s task was not made any easier by the absence due to injuries of set piece specialist Adam Glass and the influential Mathew Getty.

South Antrim started the game strongly, with the defence, midfield and forward line all linking up well thanks to superb off the ball running from John Semple, who drifted between the lines, and the accurate distribution skills of both Marshall brothers.

South Antrim however, took time to make their dominance of possession count as a lack of clear cut chances made them wait for their first goal of the game.

The goal however did come when superb skill from Chris Henry won South Antrim their first short of the game.

A powerful James Brown flick was well saved by the Mossley keeper, however, it rebounded to the waiting Paul Maguire who coolly dispatched from just beyond the flick spot.

South continued their strong spell but were lucky not to concede after seeing two Mossley corners miss, one clattering off the post and spinning across the goal line after it looked destined for the net.

South Antrim were the better side in the first half but Mossley took advantage of a slick corner routine with minutes to go in the first half to make it one all at the halfway break.

The second half was a much more open affair with both sides enjoying an equal share of possession.

Both defences did well to limit the opposition’s forwards from increasing the goal tally, however special mention must go to Adam Marshall who again showed what a vital player he is to this team with his masterful display in defence, intercepting passes at ease and building attacks from the back.

Mossley controversially took the lead, converting a counter attack move after a forward foot appeared to be used in the build up.

South Antrim did not give up and showed great fight and determination throughout the course of the second half.

They were eventually rewarded after some great skill in the Mossley circle earned them a stroke when two defenders scythed down Chris Henry when through on goal.

The captain Lee Marshall stepped up and was never in doubt as he slotted past the Mossley keeper to level to scores.

Shortly after Chris Henry had the chance to bring all 3 points into South’s grasp when played thourgh clear one on one with the keeper, an unorthodox style of keeping unnerved Henry as he simply stood in place until the last possible second when he dived down an dispossessed the forward.

In the closing stages the game could have gone either way, with either side having chances to win the game and take all three points. However the game finished two all in what was a thoroughly exciting game of hockey.