SUPERCUPNI: County Down nearly pull off Newcastle shock

Darragh Byrne and National Select Lee Lynn at The Warren, Portstewart. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

John Bailie’s County Down almost stunned Newcastle United at the Ballymena Showgrounds, last night.

Goals from Ethan Wynne and Adam Carroll looked set to give Down a remarkable win over the Premier League side, only for the Magpies to score a late, late equaliser for 2-2.

Former Ards and Bangor captain Bailie said, “Obviously it’s disappointing to draw 2-2 after leading approaching the end of the game but I am very proud of the boys and they effort they put in against Premier League academy side. Experiences like this is exactly what the SuperCupNI is all about.

“We have three group games against teams from three different countries.

“The players will learn so much from playing against a club from Asia and a team from South American. It’s important to expose them to the different styles of play. They just don’t get experiences like that playing for their own clubs.

“At the SuperCup, you play five games in five days. The ideal experience for our development is to play five different teams from five different countries.

“That’s more important to me than winning games and trophies.”

Stephen Small’s National Select side’s 1-1 draw with County Fermanagh in Portstewart was one of the stories of the day in the Premier Section.

Spartak Moscow were forced to pull out of the tournament on Sunday after they failed to secure visas to travel to the United Kingdom.

With just 24 hours notice, the former Cliftonville defender pulled together a squad of local hopefuls who were not selected for their County team.

With no preparation, not a lot was expected from the select side but they managed to secure a 1-1 draw with Fermanagh.

County Londonderry were another local side that made a fine start to the tournament. They defeated French side, and 2014 finalists, Vendee 3-1 at Scroggy Road in Limavady.

Mexican side Club America are among the favourites for the Premier title. However, County Tyrone made them work for the three points at the Coleraine Showgrounds yesterday afternoon. The Mexicans eventually ran out 2-1 winners.

Armagh were another county side to taste defeat. They lost 1-0 to a Serie B select side at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

County Antrim were defeated 1-0 by Brazilian side GO Audax at the Riada in Ballymoney. Audax were formally known as Osako, but after relaunched under their new name just before the tournament.

American side First Choice Soccer defeat New Zealand side Otago 1-0 in Portrush, while SuperCupNI stalwarts Right To Dream made a winning start to the competition. The Ghanian academy side who regularly participate in finals night defeated Glasgow side Partick Thistle 2-0 in Broughshane.

There was a North American derby in Portstewart, with the Canadians trumping the Americans with ease when FC Edmonton defeated Global Premier Soccer 3-0.

Japenese high school side Ichifuna made a winning start to the tournament in Ballymena, with a 2-1 win over Chilean side Desportes Iquique.

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