South Antrim Seconds made the journey to Glengormley to face Mossley last weekend.
Having turned up to the pitch discussing the surface and the way the ball can move, the last thing South thought they were going to have to compete with was the elements.
As has become a pattern of play for the Seconds in the latter part of the season, the match started at a very high tempo and South stormed into a three goal lead within the first 15 minutes.
An early rocket of a short corner from James Brown was the first to go in, followed by a double from Darren Hutchinson. One being a trademark reverse and the second coming after fine play down the left from Nathan Gamble who, after beating a number of players to get into the area, committed the keeper and played the ball to Darren who just had to pass it into the empty net.
With Mossley rocking, it felt like a big score could have been on the cards. However, Mossley found a way back into the game.
South’s defense which has been rock solid of recent, were failing to adapt to the extremely wet conditions and not successfully clearing their lines.
Mossley’s goal came after a series of attacks from which runners were not tracked into the area, and a free man dispatched a low shot into the corner.
A physical battle ensued in the second half with a heavy pitch taking its toll.
Mossley pressed high and any ball over the top was taken by the Mossley defense with ease, releasing their players for wave after wave of attack.
The second half could have seen a total capitulation from the visitors, except for the performance of the man mountain that is Ian Glass. Save after save kept the black and reds in front and a couple of exceptional saves in particular kept his teammates believing that they could yet leave the Glade with all 3 points.
With ten minutes to go, an outstanding stick save high to his right, drew applause from the supporters who were braving the elements, and team mates alike.
From a passage of play following the resulting long corner, another save low to his left saw the ball fall to a Mossley forward who could not have believed his luck. He pushed the ball towards the unguarded net but Glass was in no mood for conceding the lead and from nowhere a diving glove save nicked the ball round the post, simply brilliant goalkeeping.
With a renewed vigor, the South defense began working the ball through the high press into the middle and after a strong run from Willie Redpath, the Mossley keeper was drawn into action again to toe the ball past the post.
The final whistle was blown to jubilant cheers from the South players who, for being second best for the majority of the second half, had shown a tremendous spirit and appetite for survival in Junior 1. Well done boys.
Thanks must go to Gordie McCandless not only for umpiring but braving the torrential rain at times throughout the match.