Ballyrashane Fc and West Bann Athletic are the two remaining teams to make it through to the quarter finals of the Hutchinson Tiles Knockout Cup.
Ballyrashane progressed with a good win against FC Windyhall while West Bann comfortablely saw off Coleraine Olympic. The quarter finals take place this Saturday with the pick of the ties at Castlerock where Berthas host Mountview. Balnamore host Dunaghy Old Boys in another tough looking tie while Glebe travel to Coleraine to play West Bann and Ballyrashane travel to Bushmills to face Finn McCools.
In league action, Glebe Rangers continued their assault to regain the league title with a narrow win against Finn McCools while Hillview took a good victory against Mountview. Balnamore took the points in their game against The Villagers while there was a stalemate between Dunaghy and The Taverners. In the last game, Hazelbank returned to winning ways with a big victory at home to Brook Street.
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 2 Finn McCools 1
Glebe Rangers Old Boys met Finn McCools in what turned out to be an extremely hard-fought encounter at Megaw Park on Saturday morning. With a number of Old Boys missing for various reasons changes included the recall of veterans Mervyn Greer, Robert McCaw and the uncompromising Jimmy Coulter to the squad after lengthy absences, whilst Lee Kyle returned after domestic reasons forced his absence the previous week. In a tight first half it was Lesie Nicholl who gave the home side an early lead forcing home the rebound after Henderson had blocked his initial effort.
Finns hit back and after a period of pressure Darren Adair found himself with time to fire past Allen and bring the scores level. Big ‘Chin’ Blair, in an unfamiliar role at centre forward, found himself with a couple of opportunities but he hit the post with one effort and the corner flag with the next. Finns were proving a real handful with McAfee and Moore prominent and ended the half deservedly on level terms.
Glebe started the second half in determined fashion but found the Finns defence, with Dobbin outstanding, in resolute mood. DJ McBride headed wide from a corner and then the same player produced a candidate for miss of the decade as he headed over from under the crossbar. Nicholl also failed to make the most of a couple of opportunities with the uneven surface to blame as the ball inadvertently bobbled. Despite the Glebe pressure they could not find a breakthrough and Finns continued to threaten on the break.
However with 12 minutes remaining Blair produced a sensational finish as he took a Nicholl pass before cutting in from the left wing and despatching an unstoppable shot past Henderson to seal the three points for the Old Boys. Man of the Match: Billy McCurdy (Glebe Rangers Old Boys) & Ali Dobbin (Finn McCools)
Mountview FC 1 Hillview FC 2
Hillview were down to the bare bones as they took on last seaon’s champions at Rugby Avenue. This didn’t stop them taking the lead with only three minutes gone as Nathan Black fired home. Mountview were having the netter of the possession and levelled things up through a spectacular free kick from Johnny Martin which gave McDowell no chance.
Both sides were producing some great football, but it was through a stroke of luck that Hillview went in front again as Ryan Gaston put through his own net. Hillview made a formation change at half time and it benefited them as they dominated possession after the break. They couldn’t find a third goal though. The closest they came was through a McCrellis header, which beat Fraser in the Mountview goal but hit the bar and bounced out again.
The hosts found themselves restricted to long range efforts due to the good work of the Hillview back four. Man of the Match: Cary Evangelista (Hillview)
The Villagers 0 Balnamore FC 2
Balnamore kept their good run going on Saturday with a solid display and result against a tricky Villagers side in Castlerock. The hosts started the livelier of the two and for the first ten minutes launched long balls over the top, but the Balnamore back line held firm. The visitors kept the seasiders shooting to long range efforts as Balnamore settled into the game. Balnamore were unfortunate not to take the lead midway through the first half, Nicky Tweed sending Simon Armstrong clear, Armstrong beat the keeper but his shot rattled off the bar.
After the break Villagers keeper Jason Best was the busier of the two keepers, making important stops from Andy Hegarty and Willy Corr. Balnamore’s pressure paid off on the hour mark, Lee Kelly broke down the right beat his man and fired low into the box, Sean Hogg was well placed to control the ball, turn and find the net with his left footed shot.
Villagers kept battling but found it hard to break down a stubborn and well organised Balnamore. Brian McLaughlin got the visitors second goal ten minutes from time, the big striker firing home from close range after good work by Andy Hegarty. Cutmore came close for Villagers late on just failing to connect from a set peice. Man of the Match: Andy Hegarty (Balnamore)
The Taverners 0 Dunaghy Old Boys 0
Both sides made a lively start to the game but neither team really threatened the opposition keeper despite several good chances being carved out. The second half continued in the same vein with both sides creating lots of chances but failing to break the deadlock. Taverners made a couple of changes and with Mooney pushing forward they had the better of the last exchanges. Chances from Doherty and a great strike from Dobbin went begging and the match finished all square. Man of the Match: Stephen Elder (Taverners)
Hazelbank FC 7 Brook Street 0
Hazelbank finally shock the monkey off there backs with a much needed win and a clean sheet just for a bonus. Ciaran Wilson opened the scoring on two minutes, playing up front with James Diver for the first time this season, Diver as usal providing all the running, laying off for Wilson to score his first from close range. Brook Street responded well to this Boreland firing just wide from a loose ball. Tosh went close with a shot from the edge off the box, which Steven Crawford did well to push over for the corner. Tosh went close again from the corner, again Crawford saved well with his feet.
Hazelbank dealt with this pressure and doubled their lead with perfect counter attack. Wilson and Diver again linking well, Ciaran getting his shot away from the edge of the box leaving Friel with no chance. Hazelbank began to dominate the game, Diver seeing his effort coming off the bar, Brian Alcorn also had a good chance but manged to push it wide. Ciaran Wilson completed his hat-trick on 41 minutes, tapping in Diver’s lay off.
Brian Alcorn was causing problems down the left and twice he teed up Diver, who was unlucky not to score as he rattled the woodwork again.
James Penny got the all important fourth smashing in from the edge of the box. Brook Street tried to rally from this set back but found an inform Crawford and better organised Hazelbnk defence. From a Brook Street corner Alan Mcintyre cleared for Penny who found Wilson, who in turn laid off for Alcorn to get the first off his hat-trick firing in from inside the box.
Five became six on 75 minutes, a solo effort from Alcorn cutting in and beating Friel at his near post. And he completed his hat-trick on 84 minutes from the spot, Friel catching Alcorn as he tried to round the keeper. Man of the Match: Ciaran Wilson (Hazelbank)
FC Windyhall 0 Ballyrashane FC 1
Windyhall came into the game in form and and looked the likelier to score in the opening exchanges. Ballyrashane began to find their feet and went close through McClarty and D Freeman. The first half continued in a similar vein with neither side able to take any of the chances which came their way.
As the second half wore on it looked as though the game was heading to extra time. But with 10 minutes to go the deadlock was finally broken. Ballyrashane were awarded a free kick just outside the box and D Freeman stepped and put the ball through the Windyhall wall and beat Newman to put his side in front. Windyhall pushed hard to level the score but A. Freeman and Campbell held a tight defensive line cleaning up any attack and keeping Windyhall at bay until the final whistle blew. Man of the Match: Alan McClarty (Ballyrashane FC)
Coleraine Olympic 0 West Bann Athletic 6
West Bann Athletic progressed to the quarter finals of the Hutchinson Tiles Cup at the expense of Coleraine Olympic winning 6-0 and will now face Glebe Rangers Old Boys FC. Athletic took the lead with five minutes gone through Martin Fleming who saw his shot give the Olympic keeper no chance. Olympic were playing some good football but could not manage to create an opening. Athletic at this point in the game were relieved when Luke Bacon made it 2-0 in the 27th minute stealing in at the front post to head the ball goalwards.
Athletic went 3-0 up on the half hour with Martin Fleming again firing accurately into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the box. Martin Fleming scored his hat-trick goal five minutes later to make it 4-0 and virtually put the tie to bed as a contest. Mark McClelland scored his first goal in West Bann Athletic colours in the 38th minute when he managed to squeeze his shot in after a goal mouth scramble to make it 5-0 to the away team at the break.
Second half of the game was a lot closer and saw Olympic come into the game a bit more. Athletic however made it 6-0 just after the hour mark with Greg McAfee getting on the end of a Martin Fleming cross. Both sides went at each other for the remainder of the game however there was to be no further scoring from either team. Man of the Match: Martin Fleming (WBA FC).