Understrength Antrim crumble under pressure
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Instonians 8 Antrim 0
Antrim travelled to Belfast to play Instonians in a Premier League match which was listed for a 4pm hit off.
Unfortunately this late start ruled out goalkeeper Andy Heatley and Andy Linford due to work commitments and Rory Brown and Ian Brownlees who were unavailable.
Stuart McIlroy, who was injured in the match against Cookstown, was brave enough to volunteer to be the goalkeeper for this match.
The weakened Antrim squad was determined to give a good account of themselves and they almost took the lead in the sixth minute but Lloyd Kane's snap reverse stick shot rebounded off the post to give the home team a lucky let off.
Then in the eighth minute a strong cross circle ball was deflected high into the Antrim net by Stuart McWilliams to give Instonians the 1-0 lead.
Kane forced his way into the home circle only to be bundled off the ball but the umpire ignored the foul and waved play on. The same thing happened in the next Antrim attack and this time the umpire awarded a penalty corner but the shot was deflected away to safety.
Instonians increased their lead in the 15th minute when a left to right hit across the circle allowed the unmarked Jordan Robinson the time and space to drive the ball under the diving goalkeeper.
At the other end Neil McCullough broke into the circle but his shot just skimmed the wrong side of the left hand post.
Instonians won their first penalty corner in the 22nd minute but David McClintock finally cleared the ball out of the circle.
Instonians had all the pressure as Antrim defended in numbers to try and keep them at bay. Following slack Antrim defending down their left side, Instonians won a penalty corner and the first shot rebounded off the goalkeeper's pads to John Watson who reacted first to slot the ball back into the net for the 3-0 lead in the 30th minute.
In the 33rd minute David McClintock forced his way into the Instonians circle to fire the ball at the goals. The goalkeeper just managed to block the shot and scramble the rebound away before McClintock could get his stick to the ball.
The home team won an added time penalty corner but the rookie Antrim keeper made a tremendous diving save to keep the half time score at 3-0.
Antrim defended in numbers trusting for the quick breakaway into the home defence but by defending so deep they allowed the Instonians sweeper, Paul Gleghorne the time and space to spread his accurate passes deep into their defence time after time.
In the 41th minute an Antrim stick chop brought another penalty corner and this time the switch was swept into the net by the alert McWilliams for the 4-0 lead.
The intense pressure was forcing more and more errors in the Antrim defence and it was no surprise when Stephen Kelso scored for Instonians when, from a mid circle scramble, he scooped the ball into the net for the fifth goal, quickly followed by another fierce Alan Patterson strike for the sixth goal.
Another Instonians penalty corner in the 51st minute saw McWilliams get his hat trick when he deflected a clever Gleghorne switch, high into the net for goal number seven.
The Instonians confidence surged as they turned the screw on the Antrim defence forcing more and more stopping and hitting errors.
Instonians won another penalty corner in the 60th minute and from the going wide, knee high, shot the ball deflected off Alan Mullan's stick into the net for the umpire to award a very dubious goal.
Antrim had a great chance in the 68th minute when a cross into the circle found the unmarked Alistair Reilly but he drove the ball into the side netting when he should have really scored.
This week Antrim travel to Carryduff on Wednesday evening to play Annadale and on Friday evening they host near neighbours Mossley in their penultimate match of the season with an 8pm hit off.
Antrim: S McIlroy, D Gleghorne, A Mullan, N McCullough, A Murtland, J McMeekin, R McClintock, D McClintock, M Smyth, D Mailey, L Kane, A Reilly, S Gleghorne, G Shirley.
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