The two top teams in the NW&CDY U-11 League met on a sunny blustery day at Ballysally and served up an absolute treat for the large crowd of supporters.
It took 12 minutes of play for Coleraine to make the breakthrough when Patrick Kelly won possession on the right and threaded a ball through to Pierce Quigley who lashed home a shot high into the net with what is becoming his trademark finish. Oisin OʼMullanʼs twisting and turning on the left wing was causing the Utd defence all sorts of problems but there was no further scoring and a fairly even first half.
An early flurry of action in the second half saw Ballymoney draw level when a striker got to a bouncing through ball before the keeper and slid it home. Within a minute Pierce Quigley found himself clean through only to see his firm low shot superbly saved by the advancing United goalie who had a great game throughout. The Bannsiders were to rue that miss two minutes later when Ballymoney played through the defence on the right finding a striker in space whoʼs shot was well saved by Owen MacKenzie at full stretch only for the ball to cruelly rebound off the post straight to a waiting Ballymoney man who gleefully rolled the ball into the net.
The Coleraine lads didnʼt let the heads go down though and were battling away in midfield with Lewis Dallas and Jake Wallace winning most of their tackles and headers to release Jamie Sheppard and Pierce Quigley in the wide positions. On 28 minutes Mark Lowry strode forward through two tackles and threaded a pass to Patrick Kelly who unleashed a high strike into the net to equalise.
Coleraineʼs confidence grew and they regained the lead with a clever set piece. Jamie Sheppardʼs corner found Mark Lowry who again combined with Patrick Kelly who completed his brace with a low shot from close in. Coleraineʼs hopes of holding on to this lead were dashed by some determined midfield play from Ballymoney and only a minute after taking the lead they were pegged back again after a defensive mix up allowed a United player to pounce on a loose ball in the box to equalise.
Both teams were now flat out looking for the winner but with the Ballymoney keeper in outstanding form and the Coleraine midfield breaking up Utd attacks the high scoring draw was probably the right result. Many congratulations to the Ballymoney Utd U-11 players and coaches on their League success and well done to the wee Bannsiders for coming a close second in the division. This excellent game was a credit to both teams. Man of the Match - Patrick Kelly.