Balnamore through to the Shield final

Balnamore reached the final of the Coleraine Social Club Challenge Shield on Saturday with a good victory over Hazelbank FC.

However, they don’t know their opponents yet as the other semi final between Hillview and West Bann Athletic had to be abandoned due to illness to referee Alan McMillan who is now thankfully on the mend.

In the league, Glebe Rangers Old Boys extended their lead at the top of the table with a hard fought victory at home to Brook Street. Berthas FC moved into third place with a derby win against The Villagers while Mountview and Dunaghy fought out a 2-2 draw. Finn McCools and FC Macosquin also shared the points while FC Windyhall were good winners at home to Ballyrashane.

In the battle of the bottom two, The Taverners took the points against Coleraine Olympic.

The committee and all concerned with the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League would like to pass on the best wishes to Ballyrashane player Ian Glass, Dunaghy’s Nathan Blair and referee Alan McMillan who all suffered serious injury or illness at the weekend.

No fixtures will be played on Saturday 22nd December unless otherwise requested by individual teams. Cut off date for requesting games is 11pm Friday 16th November. Please contact the General Secretary if you want a fixture. Fixtures previously scheduled for the 22nd will be rescheduled for a later date.

Balnamore FC 3 Hazelbank FC 1

Castlerock was the venue where Balnamore booked their place in the shield final with a solid win and performance against a strong and experienced Hazelbank side. Balnamore threatened the Coleraine men’s goal from the start and forced a corner. Lee Kelly floated a nicely weighted ball into the area where the unmarked Nicky Tweed powered his header home to give the men in red the lead within the first few minutes.

Hazelbank looked stunned with the early goal as they tried to get some sort of shape back to their play. Most of the first half was a tough battle for both sides with the midfield staying tight. McLean and Greene had efforts for Hazelbank but pulled them well wide. Balnamore had a more settled swagger about them and had a couple of chances through Heggarty and Mc Dowell but Balnamore looked the team more in rhythm.

The second half saw a more resurgent Hazelbank as they tried to conjure a way through Balnamore’s tough defence. This was to be short lived as Balnamore piled on the hurt on the hour mark. David McDowell’s twisty run was cut short by a foul on edge of the area, young starlet Lee Kelly stood over the ball picked his spot and watched the net ripple as he made it two for Balnamore.

Hazelbank were down but not out, they threw McIlreavy up front and caused some trouble with his aerial presence. As Hazelbank went for goals they were leaving gaps. Balnamore won a corner, Noel Halliday delivered a low drive into the box, Andy Heggarty was first to react as he side footed past Crawford in goal to put Balnamore three up and surely now out of sight.

Hazelbank pulled a goal back late on through McIllreavy’s volley as Balnamore momentarily switched off. Credit to both teams for serving up an entertaining cup tie, but it was jubilation for Balnamore as the whistle went and they march on to the final. Man of the Match: Andy Heggarty (Balnamore)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 5 Brook Street 3

Glebe Old Boys met a youthful Brook Street at Megaw Park on Saturday morning and for the first time since their formation the Old Boys retained the previous game’s starting line-up. There were a couple of new faces on the bench with Adam Clarke returning after a two month sabbatical and ex-player ‘Midget’ Patterson who re-signed last week.

The home side took the lead after nine minutes when big ‘Chin’ Blair shot home after a corner was only partially cleared. Wilmont had a shot well saved by McAllister and the same player also drilled wide for the homesters. Despite this it was Brook Street who scored a deserved equaliser when Davidson latched on to a corner and slotted past Allen.

This appeared to give a wake up call to the Old Boys and they regained the lead when Wilmont volleyed in from Blair’s pass just on half-time. Adam Clarke was introduced at the start of the second half and his influence was so marked he was received the man of the match award.

However it was the visitors who scored the first goal of an eventful second period when McDonald, despite appearing to be well off-side, was waved on and held his nerve to finish. Rather than be deflated the Old Boys appeared galvanised and it was the industrious Holmes who got on the end of a DJ McBride cross to put Glebe three-two up.

Two minutes later McBride again was the provider for Wilmont to complete his double and give the Old Boys a two goal cushion. Back came the indefatigable Brook Street and Tosh, who along with Davidson had impressed throughout, pulled another back when Glebe were caught short at the back. With time running out Bellingham scored his second penalty in successive games, slotting home after Clarke was fouled in the box. Man of the Match: Adam Clarke (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Berthas FC 3 The Villagers 1

For the second time in two weeks Berthas met derby rivals The Villagers and for the second time Berthas ran out 3-1 winners. It was The Villagers who were on the front foot in the opening 30 minutes with Berthas taking an age to get going with their defence working hard to keep them on level terms. Indeed goalkeeper Elder had to be on his toes on a number of occasions to save shots from Friel, MacFarlane and Shirlow.

Berthas gradually got into it and had a couple of half chances through Hanna and Caldwell. They then grabbed the lead right at the end of the half as Michael McLaughlin poked home after Best had saved his initial shot. The home team increased their lead five minutes into the second half when Caldwell cheekily back healed home MacAulay’s inviting free kick.

The Villagers hit back also straight away when Berthas failed to clear and MacFarlane arrived to hammer home from 20 yards out. Both teams pushed for more goals with Elder saving from MacFarlane while Best in The Villagers goal pulled off top saves to deny McLaughlin twice and Hanna.

With 15 minutes to go, Berthas should have increased their lead but sub Aidy Drake put the ball over the bar from all of a yard out. Ex Villagers player Richard Pollock did though settle the game when he ran onto MacAulay’s long ball to smash past Best and all but give his team the three points. With play going into injury time, Rab Friel thoughthe’s pulled a goal back when he turned well in the box only to watch his shot crash off the foot of the post. Man of the Match: Andy MacAulay (Berthas FC)

Dunaghy Old Boys 2 Mountview FC 2

Prior to kick-off, Nathan Blair of Dunaghy Old Boys took unwell resulting in an overnight stay at the Causeway Hospital and all the players and Management of Mountview FC wish him a speedy recovery. Mountview were first to settle into the game and controlled the opening exchanges. The opening goal was somewhat fortuitous, a free kick from Doherty delivered into the box eluded everyone and sailed into the top corner. Mountview continued to create chances and were unlucky not to add to their tally but the first half ended with a slender lead.

The second half started with Dunaghy on top and their efforts were rewarded when Bartlett equalised after Mountview failed to clear their lines. Dunaghy continued to press and took the lead when they were awarded a penalty which was converted by Graham. This sparked Mountview into life as they searched for an equaliser and were rewarded when Taggart was hauled down in the box and a penalty awarded. Calvin stepped up but the keeper made a great save only for Calvin to follow up and a last ditch tackle ended up with another penalty being awarded. This time Quigley stepped up and despatched to level the scores and this effectively was the last kick of the game.

Finn McCools 2 FC Macosquin 2

Macosquin started the better team in this hard battling game. They struck first when the ball was crossed into the box the forward hitting the net. Finns came back playing good football from the wings making it one each just before halftime. Second half Finns started again were they left off. Both teams giving everything with hard tackling and defences not giving much away.

It was Finns who took the lead with Parke being put threw making no mistake with the finish. The battling commenced again when Finns were giving too many free kicks close to goal. Macosquin made them pay when Finns were caught out, the free kick being taken quickly before Finns got their wall in place making it two each. This is how the game finished in which was probably a fair result.

FC Windyhall 4 Ballyrashane FC 1

After four points from their previous two games Windyhall went into this game trying to continue their current form while Ballyrashane were trying to get their first win in six. Both teams held a minutes silence before the match as a mark of respect for remembrance Sunday. Ballyrashane came out the brighter of the two teams and the first chance of the match fell to Alan McIntyre, but his low shot was well saved by Newman in the Windyhall goal.

Both teams then struggled to control possession in midfield in the early stages. The first goal didn’t come until the 30th minute. Caughey drawing Kane out of the Ballyrashane goal before coming back inside and curling an unstoppable shot with his left foot into the top corner with two Ballyrashane defenders on the line. One soon became two for Windyhall in the 43rd minute. A corner from the left by John Sweeney. Bradley met his ball with a fine header at the near post only for it to be cleared of the line. The ball fell to Donnell at the edge of the six yard box who rifled home a volley with a lot of bodies in front of him. It was then 3-0. Caughey pouncing on some hesitant defending to round the keeper, Doherty seemed to foul the young striker, but Caughey bounced straight back up to roll the ball into a empty net.

The Windyhall players were enraged as to how Doherty was allowed to stay on the pitch when he was the last man.

Windyhall came out in the second half determined not to have a repeat of the last time the two teams met. The Windyhall men started to control possession in midfield with Jamie Allen and Robert Sweeney working well as a partnership and Steven Bradley and John Sweeney running their socks off out wide but despite this they couldn’t create any clear cut chances for Johnston and Caughey up top.

The next goal of the game didn’t come until the 70th minute. A cross from the Ballyrashane left towards the back post where Alan Freeman crept in and got above his marker to head home. The goal made Windyhall more determined and five minutes later they put the game to bed. A corner from the right was met by Donnell who managed to get above two Ballyrashane defenders to head home. Windyhall then rang the changes. Four could have become five when Caughey had a shot cleared off the line only for the ball to once again fall to his feet but this time his shot hit the bar.

Both teams would like to wish Ian Glass of Ballyrashane a speedy recovery who injured himself making a tackle late on in the game and was taken to hospital. Man of the Match: Aaron Caughey/Stephen Donnell (FC Windyhall)

FIXTURES:

Balnamore FC v Coleraine Olympic Fulton Park

Bertha’s FC v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Castlerock

Brook Street v Finn McCool’s Crescent 3

FC Macosquin v Villagers FC Rugby Avenue 2

Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Hillview FC Megaw Park

Hazelbank v FC Windyhall Rugby Avenue 1

Mountview FC v West Bann Athletic Rugby Avenue 3