SUPERCUPNI: Manchester United joy but heartache for County Antrim

Manchester United were crowned STATSports Super Cup NI Junior champions as they beat Rangers 2-0 at Ballymena Showgrounds.

By Sports Desk
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 12:22 am

The young Red Devils beat their Scottish opponents to lift the trophy thanks to first-half goals from Shea Lacey and Harrison Parker.

Rangers pressed in the second-half but couldn’t get past United’s resolute defence despite their best efforts.

The first chance of the game fell to Findlay Curtis, but in the box he shot straight at William Murdoch on the volley.

Manchester United players celebrate their victory over Rangers

From a corner shortly after Rangers centre-back Niall Rogerson had the whole of Ballymena to himself but he headed well wide.

Manchester United opened the scoring thanks to a penalty from Lacey, who calmly slotted it home sending Mason Munn the wrong way.

The winger won the penalty himself due to his sharp feet drawing the foul from Bailey Rice in the box after a great pick out by Adam Berry in the build-up.

In the 25th minute Northern Irish goalkeeper Munn made a phenomenal one-handed save to keep out Berry’s piledriver from the edge of the box after he was set by Lacey.

From the resulting corner though Munn failed to keep out Parker’s downward header from Lacey’s delivery as he parried it into his own net. In first-half injury time Rangers’ substitute

Callum Burnside had a header from a free kick but directed it into the ground instead of on goal.

Four minutes into the second half Paul Nsio for Rangers did well to win the ball back high up the field before finding Burnside in the box but he blazed well over.

In the 43rd minute Manchester United should have extended their lead as Amir Ibragimov had a free header from three yards out from another Berry corner but he failed to get the correct contact on the delivery.

Just before the 50th minute mark United broke with pace after Lacey stole the ball off Cameron Scott before playing Ethan Wheatley in on goal but a poor first touch by the striker meant Rangers defenders could get back to block.

Minutes later Rangers went forward down the right with Alexander Hutton who got to the by line before pulling it back to Archie Stevens who looked to have shot on goal but Man United captain, McAllister made a vital block.

As frustration grew for Rangers Bailey Rice decided to have a crack from 30 yards but William Murdock came up with a save to tip it around the post.

Wheatley was growing into the game at this point as he and Berry combined for a neat one two to send the striker away but the striker didn’t put enough on his shot to beat Munn.

Cameron Campbell’s youngsters pressed in the dying embers of the match with chances for Burnside and Stevens, but couldn’t find a way through as they came runners-up of the Junior section of the tournament.

Manchester United end the tournament as champions with four wins and a draw to their name in a very impressive tour.

There was disappointment for County Antrim in the Premier final.

Nico Valentine and Ben Haddock put Ipswich Town 2-0 ahead early on at The Showgrounds.

But the County side hit back with a brace from Sean Moore deservedly drawing them level again before the break. Ipswich’s Ash Boatswain and County Antrim’s Lewis Tennant both hit the woodwork in the second half.

Seconds after Tennant’s fierce shot though Ipswich grabbed the winner through Jack Manly.

Select beat Glentoran 3-1 in the Minor Final at Coleraine Showgrounds. And Charlton Athletic won the Youth Final by overcoming Glenavon 3-1. Surf Select won the Girl’s U16 title.