County Antrim to face Manchester United in SuperCupNI decider

Manchester United will face County Antrim in Friday's SuperCupNI final at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 10:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 10:34 pm
Co Antrim celebrate after defeating Southampton 2-0 in the Junior Section

Holders Antrim booked their place in the final with a 2-0 win over Premier League academy side Southampton at Seahaven, with goals from Dale Taylor and Cameron Stewart.

Look ahead to today’s showpiece final, Seaton said, “The players deserve immense credit. They managed the game superbly well, considering they are young players.

“We looked comfortable in the game and deserved the win, against a very good Southampton team who had done well throughout the week.

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“Now we have Manchester United which is brilliant. These are the games you want.

“Manchester United have a big name and reputation, but we will give it our best and see where it takes us.

“We embrace these games. This is where we want to be, playing in finals against big opposition.”

At the Coleraine Showgrounds, Tommy Martin’s young United side recorded a 2-0 win over County Armagh.

Martin said, “It wasn’t great on the eye. It was a physical, long ball game. But the important thing is we won it, and the players will now experience playing in front of a big crowd.

“Back home, there is a lot of pretty football in academy football so this tournament gives the players a different experience. The boys struggled with it in the first game against Londonderry and suffered from some nerves, but they’ve improved as the week has gone on.

“I don’t know alot about County Antrim, but they’ve defeated Southampton so they are obviously a very good team.”

It took Manchester United just 80 seconds to open the scoring. George Walters, who has impressed throughout the week, used his pace to burst into the box and drill a shot towards goal. Fortunately for Walters, Armagh’s Sean Conlan deflected the ball beyond the reach of Glenavon goalkeeper Conner Byrne. While Walters was awarded the goal, in a man’s game it would surely go down as an own goal.

United almost scored again in the 23rd minute. A corner-kick was headed across goal by George Wyatt, but Michael Mellon was unable to convert at the back post when he looked certain to score.

Armagh had the ball in the net just before the half-time break after a scramble in the box, but referee’s assistant was quick to spot that Reece Emerson was in an offside position.

Oisin Conaty came within a whisker of equalising a minute into the second half. The Armagh man volleyed a cross just past goalkeeper Daniel Polakowski post.

Emerson had a golden opportunity in the sixth minute of the new half, but he bundled the ball wide from close range.

But it was Manchester United who scored the second goal of the semi-final. A defensive mix-up allowed Manni Norkett to flick the ball beyond the reach of Byrne, from around 10 yards. It was enough to settle the game.