Berthas take an early advantage with a narrow win over Glebe OB

Action from West Bann Athletic's 4-0 win over Coleraine Olympic on Saturday. INCR41 TILES
Action from West Bann Athletic's 4-0 win over Coleraine Olympic on Saturday. INCR41 TILES

Berthas FC stole an early advantage at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter league as they took the points against nearest challengers Glebe Rangers Old Boys.

West Bann Athletic and Portrush both got back to winning ways with relatively comfortable victories.

Ballymoney Olympic Old Boys continued their strong form of late by taking the points away to The Villagers while Dunaghy Old Boys won their match against Balnamore by the odd goal in seven.

Finn McCools fought hard to take a point from their game with Millburn while FC Windyhall came away with the win in their match at home to Ballyrashane.

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Glebe Rangers Old Boys 0 Berthas FC 1

This clash was between the teams placed one and two in the league, top defence against top attack with both sides unbeaten also.

It was a tight opening 20 minutes with Glebe enjoying more possession and having a few half chances through Campbell and Greer. Berthas took a while to get going and in one of their first decent attacks, won a penalty when Stewart was brought down in the box only for the usually reliable MacAulay to miss from the spot.

This shook Berthas up and Glebe continued to enjoy the possession without making inroads into the away team backline. Bellingham fired a free kick just wide for the Glebe while Pollock forced Riley into a save at the other end.

With time running out in the first half, McCurdy blocked a Willie Stewart header on the line.

The second half was fairly similar to the first, Berthas looking the more likely to get a goal with Hanna forcing a top save out of Riley when well placed while Glebe had plenty of the ball in midfield.

The all important goal came in the 77th minute when Cochrane stole a yard on his marker to head home MacAulays corner at the back post.

Glebe piled the pressure on the Berthas back line and right at the end Kane had to make a great save to deny Doherty who had been put in by Greer.

Berthas saw out the remaining minutes to secure the three points. Man of the Match: David Hoey (Berthas FC)

West Bann Athletic 4

Coleraine Olympic 0

West Bann Athletic won all three points at Rugby Avenue against a spirited Coleraine Olympic team, who to their credit played the better football for majority of the game and hit the woodwork either side of half time.

First half goals from strike partners Mark McLelland and Lee Nevin gave Athletic a two-goal advantage going into the second half. Nathan Black and Aaron McLelland’s second half strikes made it 4-0 at full time, a scoreline that flattered the home team who for most parts of the game were both wasteful on the ball and in front of goal. Man of the Match: Harry Clifton (WBAFC)

Portrush Old Boys 5

Hazelbank FC 2

Portrush Old Boys entertained Hazelbank with both teams hoping to secure points after an indifferent start to the season.

Portrush settled quickly and opened the scoring in the third minute when Taggart played the ball out of defence to Hamilton who skipped past the full back to cross to the front post where veteran Parsons was on hand to guide the ball into the net.

However within minutes, Hazelbank equalised when a defensive mix-up let McClarty in to punish the Portrush defence. Portrush got themselves back in front in the twenty third minute when Shirlow showed great determination and crossed for Tweed to fire the ball high into the net.

Portrush started the second half well but Hazelbank forced an equaliser when they won the ball in midfield and Smyth crossed for McClarty to bag his second of the day with sixty seven minutes on the clock. However, within seconds of the restart Hazelbank found themselves behind again when good work from Doherty ended with and shot on target which the keeper saved but struck the defender and ended up in the back of the net.

Having taken the lead for the third time, Portrush now settled and played some good football. McAllister got his name on score sheet when he shot from 30 yards and saw his effort hit the underside of the bar and into the back of the net and the same player then turned provider for Calvin who completed the scoring when he cleverly clipped the ball past the advancing keeper in the eighty seventh minute. Man of the Match: Garth Mitchell (Portrush Old Boys)

Dunaghy Old Boys 4

Balnamore FC 3

Dunaghy Old Boys and Balnamore met in a local derby and it was frantic from start to finish.

‘Chin’ Blair should have opened the scoring in the first min but blazed over when well placed. Then Balnamore were awarded a penalty on five minutes, but Small pulled off a great save to keep the Old Boys level.

On 11 minutes Nathan Blair made a great run down the right and his low cross was tucked away by ‘Chin’ Blair. Willy Corr equalised on 27 minutes when they were awarded their second penalty and he made no mistake this time.

On 37 minutes McDowell latched onto a long cross and tucked his header into the bottom corner to give them a 2 1 lead at half time.

The second half saw Dunaghy get straight back into the match when Ryan McNeil scored after challenging the keeper and got to the loose ball and slotted it into the empty net.

It was end to end and both keepers were in fine form but Armstrong gave Balnamore the lead again when he tucked away a long ball into the bottom corner.

On 75 minutes McNeill went on a run and his cross was well taken by Robinson who slotted it past the keeper who was rooted to the spot.

It was anyone’s game for the taking now and it was the Old Boys who took all three points when McNeill followed up a shot from ‘Robo’ and smashed it into the bottom corner. Man of the Match: Josie Small (Dunaghy Old Boys)

The Villagers 0

Ballymoney Olympic 4

The Villagers entertained Ballymoney Olympic at Castlerock in a evenly contested start to the game Mark Blair broke the deadlock on 15 minutes with a fine strike from 30 yards.

In the second half The Villagers tried hard to get back into the game but Warren Blair broke away from The Villagers defence to round the keeper and slot home.

With Olympic now in control they added to the tally with goals from Mark Blair and was wrapped up with a Jamie McNeill finish. Man of the Match: Mark Blair (Ballymoney Olympic Old Boys)

Millburn FC 3

Finn McCools 3

Millburn started well as Cahoon back from injury took on two players and smashed the ball into the top corner.

Sloppy play though let the Finns in to equalise straight away. Millburn dominated the first half with Tosh hitting the bar with a fine header.

Shortly after Boreland played a through ball and Cahoon got on the end and poked home for 2-1. Near the end of the half G Boreland gave away a freekick, the Finns left back stepped up to hit a fine shot into the top corner for 2-2 at the break.

The second half started well with Law hitting the post with a fine effort. After an hour Millburn made a couple of changes with Nesbit coming on to head the ball in from a corner.

Millburn hit the post twice more with ‘Noodles’ McDowell hitting a worldy off post/bar from 30 yards.

As chances had not been taken the Finns got a corner with two minutes to go and Millburn were caught sleeping as they scored from a front post flick.

FC Windyhall 3

Ballyrashane FC 1

Windyhall hosted Ballyrashane at Rugby Avenue on Saturday morning in what could be classed as a local derby.

Both teams were missing players although Windyhall maybe more so with up to seven players missing through suspension injury or work commitments.

Windyhall started brightly and should have been one up in the first minute when Ferguson’s free kick dropped to the feet of Cochrane in the box who was unable to get the ball out of his feet giving the away defence the chance to clear.

Windyhall kept coming forward but the final ball was lacking. Ballyrashane started to come back at the home side and took the lead when a long ball forward was put into the box by Gray which resulted in a game of ping pong in the 18 yard box before Gray squeezed it home.

Windyhall weren’t behind for long. Alun Lee McCallion picked the ball up in his own half taking on three Ballyrashane players before crossing for Downs to tap home.

Windyhall took the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Paul Newman in the away goal misread a bouncing ball before clattering Noel Downs. Ferguson stepped up to pass the ball into the net.

Ferguson and Downs were involved in the third goal for Windyhall. Ferguson’s wonderful pass down the line for Downs to square to Johnston in the box to tap home. Three could have been four but the crossbar denied John Sweeney direct from his own corner. Man of the Match: Trevor Hutchinson (FC Windyhall)