SuperCupNI Day 3

My final day at the tournament started in familiar fashion, a trip to Clough to take in a game with a legendary home-made soup at half-time.

At the end of the second day four teams were on six points, Club NI, Man Utd, Cherry Orchard and Chivas. To qualify for the SuperCup semi finals Rangers needed at least one of them to fail to win their third game and of course make sure they won theirs.

Cherry Orchard were playing GPS Bayern and having seen both these sides I knew this would be close. Having watched Southampton being well beaten by Cherry Orchard I was assuming a win for Man Utd in their meeting. The word on Chivas were they were physical and looked older than the Under 16 age group, on that basis I guessed they would beat Sheffield Utd. I was hearing Club NI (basically a NI U15’s select) were impressive but thought a clash with an older Middlesborough side would be a stiff test, more on that later. The game at Clough was between Plymouth Argyle and NC Elite from North Carolina.

Plymouth Argyle 0 NC Elite 1

NC Elite dominated this encounter but only won by the single goal with Plymouth showing little in attack. The Americans took an early lead after only five minutes, David Molina attacked down the left and he passed inside to Ian Holdaway who beat Shaun Hillier low to his right from the edge of the box. Just over five minutes later David Molina latched on to a clearance and broke into the left side of the box and went wide of Shaun Hillier but his net bound shot was headed off the line by Alfie Wotton.

Half-Time:- Plymouth Argyle 0 NC Elite 1

Plymouth had shown nothing in attack in the first half but five minutes after the break Kieran Rowe cut in from the right and his effort forced Trace Alphin to dive to his left and turn the ball wide. As is the norm the second half is notable for the number of substitutions, it was into the final ten minutes when the American side created a couple more chances.

Cole Frame hit the right hand byline and pulled the ball back for Ian Holdaway but he shot over from close range. The final chance came when Adam Armour dispossessed Alfie Wotton on the edge of the Plymouth penalty area with Shaun Hillier coming from his line to block with his legs.

Full-Time:- Plymouth Argyle 0 NC Elite 1

Plymouth Argyle:- Shaun Hillier; Finley Craske, Oliver Tomlinson, Alfie Wotton, Reuben Collum; Jamie Simmonds (Owen Raven HT), Jude Boyd, Kieran Rowe, Jimmy Miller; Joe Seery (Jacob Evans 40 mins); Sam Wickens (Oscar Massey 40 mins).

Not Used:- Dominic Osborne, Lewis Moyle, Brandon Pursall.

NC Elite:- Trace Alphin; Cole Frame, Angelo Madrid, Jake O’Connor, Tanner Barry (Titus Sandy 55mins); Adam Armour (Kevan Kahoussi 59 mins), Sebastien Grundseth (Brian Mendoza 29 mins), Devon Faison, Orion Mills ((Aidan Dwyer 20 mins) Mikey Estrello 47 mins);  Ian Holdaway; David Molina.


Next stop was Broughshane for Middlesborough against the young Club NI side.


Middlesborough 1 Club NI 2

The young Ulster side edged it to finish as the only side on nine points, a great achievement for the youngest side in the tournament.

The first chance came for Club NI when a free kick into the penalty area broke for Lewis McKinnon to turn and shoot with Oliver Swan saving low to his left. The English side responded by taking the lead, Harry Healy went past a defender into the left side of the box and then wide of the keeper before firing into the net.

The equaliser came on the stroke of half-time and it was a sublime finish Sean McAllister played the ball to Connor Bradley inside the right side of the box, he flicked the ball over the head of a defender before lobbing Oliver Swan as he came off his line.

Half-Time:- Middlesborough 1 Club NI 1

Boro’ had a chance five minutes after the break when the ball broke to Hayden Hackney but he shot over. They came close still at the midpoint of the half when Joe Ridley’s twenty-five yarder bounced off Callum Taylor’s left hand post.

Almost immediately Ross McAusland latched on to a defensive slip and raced clear but his weak shot was straight at Oliver Swan. With four minutes remaining Club NI got a stroke of luck to secure the points, Vicky Saldanha’s shot from the edge of the box clipped the heel of team-mate Ross McAusland who was running across the box and the ball looped over Oliver Swan and into the net.

Full-Time:- Middlesborough 1 Club NI 2

Middlesborough:- Oliver Swan; Hugo Abrol (Jonathan Krakue 51 mins), Hayden Hackney, Andrew Nelson, Terry Stephenson; McKenzie Dicicco (Thomas Walker 40 mins), Issac Fletcher (Ben Cummins 40 mins), Cain Skyes, Sam Collins (Adam Campbell 47 mins); Harry Healy, Joe Ridley.

Not Used:- Samuel Barrett.

Club NI:- Callum Taylor; Charlie Allen (Joshua Archer HT), Lewis McKinnon, Sean Stewart, Stephen McGuiness; Connor Bradley, Ronan Kalla (Reece Byrne 50 mins), Orrin McLaughlin (Terry Devlin HT), Conor Byrne; Sean McAllister (Kian Storey HT); Matthew Lusty (Ross McAusland HT).

Not Used:- Aaron Donnelly.


My final game at the tournament was at Ballymena Showgrounds and it was Rangers third game against First Choice Soccer. By kick-off time word had filtered through that both Cherry Orchard and Chivas had lost 1-0, so a win meant Rangers would qualify for the SuperCup Semi Finals.

Rangers 2 First Choice Soccer 0

Rangers dominated against a side made up of players from America and Ireland, but the win wasn’t secure until Kai Kennedy’s late penalty. Unfortunately the squad list on the website didn’t match the shirt numbers so I wasn’t sure of the FC Soccer lineup.

Rangers first chance came on ten minutes, Kai Kennedy passed in from the left to Ciaran Dickson and he forced a save from the keeper. The spectators only had to wait a further five minutes for Rangers to take the lead, Matty Yates passed to Kai Kennedy and his superb pass matched the movement from Faisu Sangare to find him free inside the box to slot past the keeper.

Just before the break Kai Kennedy sent Faisu Sangare towards the right hand byline from his cutback Matty Yates effort was deflected over.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 First Choice Soccer 0

Rangers missed a great chance to double their lead on forty-two minutes, Darren Watterson played the ball to Ryan Muir wide right and his cross picked out the head of Matty Yates but he headed wide of the keeper’s left hand post. A minute later Harris O’Connor was dispossessed allowing the FC Soccer striker a sight of goal but he shot straight at Jay Hogarth.

Rangers were soon back on attack with Kai Kennedy combining with Ciaran Dickson on the right side of the box before forcing a save from the keeper. Within a minute Ciaran Dickson capitalised on a defensive slip to break in to the box but shot straight at the keeper.

With four minutes remaining Rangers made the game secure with a second goal from the penalty spot. Kai Kennedy attacked the left side of the penalty area and was bundled over for a penalty that he stepped up to convert.

Full-Time;- Rangers 2 First Choice 0

Rangers:- Jay Hogarth; Ryan Muir (Aaron Bryson 59 mins), Ally Monro, Harris O’Connor, Euan Deveney; Murray Miller, Kyle McAusland; Ciaran Dickson (Tom Henderson 48 mins); Matty Yates (Simon Millar 52 mins), Faisu Sangare (Darren Watterson 37mins), Kai Kennedy (Robbie Fraser 56 mins).

Not Used:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Callum Biggar.

FC Soccer Squad:- Sean O’Mara; Andrea Nguionza, Jackson Dixon, Jack Henry, Enda Douglas, Josh Mellon, Odhran Braniff, Eamon O’Brien, Mark Hanratty, Josh Hayes, Vincent Petera, Jack Kavanagh, Jamie Redmond, Eoghan O’Sullivan, Andrew Omobamidele, Job Bondo, Andrew Quinn, Gabriel Adebambo.


On the final whistle news came through that Man Utd had lost 2-0 to Sheffield United and Rangers had therefore finished second in the table to Club NI. To be honest the draw had been kind to Rangers with both Colina an FC Soccer failing to find the net in their three games.

Their opponents in tonight’s semi final, GPS Bayern, is a step up on the sides they have played so far and it should be a tight game. In the other semi it may be a big ask to expect Club NI to continue to beat older opponents, they line up against County Antrim who I haven’t seen but are traditionally the strongest of the Northern Irish county teams.

It was a great three days and now wish I had gone for the week, maybe next year. I was at two Irish League grounds in Ballymena and Colraine, three smaller enclosed grounds at Clough, Broughshane and Anderson Park, Colraine. What really impressed we were the public facilities at Ballymoney and Limavady, I can’t think of any of similar quality here in the West of Scotland.

Oh, and every game I watched was played on GRASS !!!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: