Final for West Bann

West Bann Athletic caused the upset of the weekend with a Coleraine Social Club Shield Semi-Final win over favourites Hillview.

Stephen Fleming’s men scored two late goals to reach their first final in five years as a club and will now face Balnamore FC. In the league Glebe stretched their lead at the top to eight points with a big win against The Villagers with Mountview and Berthas moving level second with good wins against Ballyrashane and Hazelbank respectively. Balnamore v FC Macosquin and The Taverners v FC Windyhall both came away from their games with a point while there were wins for Finn McCools and Dunaghy Old Boys.

This Saturday plays host to the first round of the Hutchinson Tiles Knockout Cup with the biggest game undoubtedly at The Crescent where Hillview will host Berthas FC. Holders Hazelbank will travel to Balnamore in a big test to start off their campaign. For the rest of the first round games and other Hutchinson Tiles news, logon to www.htwl.leaguerepublic.com.

The league committee, managers and players would like to express their sympathy to the family of Davy Tosh who sadly passed away on Monday.

Davy played in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League with great distinction for a number of years and will be sadly missed.

Everyone connected with the league would like to pass on their condolences to the entire family circle.

West Bann Athletic 2 Hillview FC 0

West Bann Athletic and Hillview travelled to Castlerock to play a game that would see the winner face Balnamore FC in the final of the Coleraine Social Club Shield. The first half started with both teams cancelling each other out all over the park. It was West Bann Athletic who had the first real chance of the game however Phil Stevenson saw his effort go just the wrong side of the post. West Bann Athletic again went close minutes later however Matthew McCandless was unable to get on the end of Martin Fleming’s shot bravely steaming in at the back post.

It was all West Bann Athletic at this point and they probably thought it was going to be one of those days when Steven Doherty saw his 25 yard free kick come off the cross bar, the ball was put into the net however it was chalked off for offside. On the half hour West Bann Athletics Fabian Dunlop got on the end of a well delivered corner only to see it rebound to safety off the Hillview crossbar. Hillview went close in the last 15 minutes of the half with the best chances falling to David McClelland and Joel McDonald who both found themselves one on one with West Bann Athletic goalkeeper Paul Jones who pulled off the two saves of the day to keep his team in with a chance at the break.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first with both teams cancelling each other out. Hillview, who didn’t have one corner in the first half, forced a succession of corners and free kicks in dangerous areas from which they went close on a few occasions. As far as clear cut chances they were few and far between as both sides were set out and defending well all over the pitch. It took to the 82nd minute for the first goal of the game and it was West Bann Athletic who scored it with debutant Michael McWilliams playing in Martin Robinson who made no mistake from 12 yards out.

In the 88th minute Athletic’s Phil Stevenson found himself at the Hillview corner flag looking to play down the clock however the West Bann forward had other ideas and played a cracking ball to Luke Bacon on the edge of the Hillview six yard box who in turn unselfishly laid off perfectly for man of the match Martin Pancott to score and seal the game sending West Bann Athletic to there first ever cup final. Man of the Match: Martin Pancott (West Bann Athletic FC)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 9 The Villagers 3

Glebe Rangers Old Boys entertained the Viilagers in the first meeting between these two sides this season.  With Ronnie Reilly injured Aaron Beech made a return at left back whilst Ivan Elder was also handed a starting slot. And it was the resurgent Elder who almost made it a dream return when he struck the post in the first minute. However the Old Boys did not have long to wait as Les Nicholl scored with a superb strike following intelligent play by Patterson. Ten minutes later Elder was impeded inside the box and Alan McBride made no mistake from the spot. 

Elder scored the goal his performance deserved to make it three before Patterson scored with a superb strike from 25 yards. A minute later Nicholl applied the finishing touch after a shot from the impressive Holmes had been pushed out  by Best to leave the home side five up at the interval. Four minutes after the interval Elder added his second with a fine solo effort. Lee Wilson then pulled one back for the visitors after a defensive slip.  

However the  Old Boys restored their six goal advantage when McBride slotted home his second penalty of the day after an infringement on the impressive Nicholl. The Villagers never-say-die attitude saw Park punish the home defence further before Anchor man DJ McBride was introduced and he slotted in well in a performance reminiscent of his boyhood hero Ray Wilkins. Indeed he was involved in the best move of the game as fellow sub Aaron Stewart put the finishing touch to a fine five man move. 

An Ian Bellingham header then found the net in the 80th minute. Unfortunately it was his own net he was facing at the time and it gave the visitors their third goal and one which their performance deserved.  But it was talisman Nicholl who had the final say with a sublime lob over Best to end the scoring for the day and confirm the points for the Old Boys. Man of the Match: Paul Holmes (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Mountview FC 5 Ballyrashane FC 0

Mountview entertained Ballyrashane at Rugby Avenue on Saturday and the initial exchanges were even enough until the 15th minute when Frazer converted directly from a corner kick. This settled the home side and they extended their lead in the 40th minute when Darryl Willis converted from inside the box. Then, right on half time Calvin provided for his midfield partner to crash the third in off the under side of the crossbar to effectively finish the game as a contest.

Mountview took control of the game in the second half and after some great play down the left by the Willis boys, Darryl Willis delivered a ball from wide and Barton was on hand to finish at the back post. This goal was well deserved for Barton who worked tirelessly all day. Mountview completed the scoring when McAllister split the defence for Mitchell to run onto and slot past the advancing keeper. Man of the Match: Gary Johnson (Mountview)

Hazelbank FC 2 Berthas FC 4

This fixture has always been a big game with plenty of incident and goals and this one on Saturday past was no different. It was an even start with both teams trying to get the ball down and play football but it was the direct route that gave Berthas their first couple chances. Twice long throws from Chris Patterson caused bother to the home team defence and on both occasions Lee McIlreavy had half chances he couldn’t take.

At the other end Elder made a couple of decent stops from Wilson and Hemphill. Crawford made another couple saves for Hazelbank before Berthas took the lead midway through the half. It was a lovely passing move which started at the back with MacAulay who found McLaughlin, he produced a defence splitting pass for Hanna who made the by line before cutting back to find McLaughlin who found the back of the net with a low shot.

Hazelbank almost pulled one back when Wilson crossed for Steven McCrory but his header was tipped over the bar by Elder. It was Berthas who doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half when again Patterson’s long throw caused problems, Lee McIlreavy getting on the end of one which Crawford saved but the winger made no mistake at the second opportunity. Hazelbank pushed more men forward and thought they had pulled one back when McCrory found space in the box but his shot hit the post before running across the line and being cleared to safety.

Berthas still pushed for more goals and Crawford saved from McLaughlin before Cadlwell hit the post with a header. Hazelbank did pull one back with 15 minutes ago and it was route one at its best with Crawford kicking from his own goal, the ball took one bounce before Sheppard capitalised on some hesitation at the back to poke past Elder. Berthas quickly restore their advantage when Steven McIlreavy picked out Biggart with a 60 yard pass, the wee man ran clean through and although Crawford saved his first attempt, he scored with the second bite of the cherry.

It was proving to be a frantic last 15 minutes and Hazelbank pulled another back, this time Hemphill’s free kick from deep evaded everyone and finding the back of the net. Berthas then grabbed a fourth, when Kelly’s backpass was found the back of his own net past the unfortunate Crawford. Hazelbank then nearly hit back again with another free kick from deep from Hemphill but this time Elder made the save. Berthas held on to take an excellent three points. Man of the Match: Steven McCrory (Hazelbank)

Balnamore FC 1 FC Macosquin 1

After the weather played havoc last week with fixtures it was back to service as normal at Fulton park. Macosquin made their intentions clear right from the off with a strong start to the game, the visitors won a couple of corners in the first few minutes after the home side failed to clear. A well delivered ball curled into the Balnamore area was met by the head of Macosquin’s Liam McGuiness who steered his header into the net to give the visitors an early lead.

Balnamore came back quickly, pressing and creating down the flanks, this paid off on the eighth minute when Andy Heggarty sent David McDowell free with a neat through ball, the young striker kept his cool, drew the keeper out and fired into the bottom corner for Balnamore equaliser. Balnamore thought they had a second soon after, Simon Armstrong and Philip Hanna hitting the bar and post within seconds of other with the young Macosquin keeper making an excellent save tipping the ball over to rescue.

The game was stopped briefly as veteran defender Jackie McAfee collided with his own keeper, but after few minutes returned as normal. The second half saw both sides cancel each other out. Macosquin were well organised and their physical presence made it difficult. Balnamore however had chances to wrap the game up, Lee Kelly whipped in quality balls all day from set pieces but the ball would do everything but go in. Young Brent Watton was deputising in Balnamores goal as big James Elder was injured ,and the young winger did well, denying Macosquin a certain goal as he saved with his out stretched foot.

The home side threw everything up in the final minutes searching for a winner, but credit to the Macosquin men who held firm as the points were shared. Man of the Match: Jackie McAfee (FC Macosquin)

Dunaghy Old Boys 3 Brook Street 0

Dunaghy and Brook Street both started at a high tempo. It was the Old Boys who took the initiative on nine minutes when McNabb swung in a superb free kick and Arnie Blair got on the end of it and directed his diving header into the bottom corner. It went from end to end, Docherty in Dunaghy’s goal making a couple of fine saves when called upon. N Blair then raided up the right wing, his cross met again by Blair, but this time his header was well saved by Brook Street’s keeper.

The Old Boys went into the break with a slender one goal lead. The second half started with Dunaghy on the attack and on 52 minutes they stretched their lead when N Blair’s cross was tucked away by W Blair from eight yards. Brook Street where trying hard to get back into the game but Dunaghy were keeping the ball well and it was no surprise when they sealed the three points on 80 minutes when W Blair’s shot was well saved, but Robinson followed up the rebound and slotted it in. Man of the Match: Richard McNabb (Dunaghy FC)

FC Windyhall 0 The Taverners 0

FC Windyhall hosted the Taveners at Rugby Avenue on Saturday morning with both teams looking to claim all three points to close the gap on West Bann and Hazelbank above them. Windyhall started the game the brighter constantly pressing forward at every opportunity but the Taveners defence stood firm well marshalled by Gerry Kinnard.

Taveners on the back foot tried to get a foothold in the game and everything good about their play came through Gary Little in centre midfield but any threat was well cut out by Donnell, Allen and R Sweeney. Sweeney played a wonderful ball through the Taveners defence for Johnstone to release him on what looked to be one-on-one with the keeper, but the ball got caught up on what was a poor playing surface that gave the Ballymoney men the chance to get back and scramble the ball clear.

The Taverners kept going but every time the ball came towards their centre forwards Lyle Crawford nipped in front of them and played out from the back. Johnston was giving the Taverners centrehalves a torrid time with his work rate but the ball just couldn’t stick. With the centre of the park being packed Windyhall started to use their flanks a lot more. Cochrane testing Workman before he won a free kick on the edge of the 18 that Donnell put wide. J Sweeney was getting a lot of joy on the right going past his marker at every opportunity but just lacking the final ball.

Windyhall came out in the same manner at the start of the second half. Johnston and Allen both brought good saves out of Workman. Johnston’s a shot from 20 yards and Allen’s a header that saw Workman scramble across the goal and tip it around the post. On the next attack R Sweeney slipped to ball in behind the Taveners right back that Cochrane crossed only for Workman to get his finger tips to and take off Johnston’s head.

Johnston then played the same ball behind the right back but Cochrane’s first touch let him down and the chance came to nothing. Taverners hit the top of the bar from a Gerry Kinnaird free kick. With the game in the last five minutes Windyhall nearly won it. First Donnell went close with a 18 yard volley that just went past the post. Tennant then rattled the bar with a volley that bounced down on the line. On reflection of the match it was two points dropped for Windyhall and a point gained for the Taverners. Man of the Match: Lyle Crawford FC Windyhall

Finn McCool’s 5 Coleraine Olympic 0

Finns knew they had to step their game up with Olympics last result. This was a first half both teams would have wanted to forget with slack passing. Finns scored as Ally Dobbin headed home from a good cross. Things changed after the break as the halftime talk made a difference for Finns and they proceeded to get grips with the game.

They scored again when Dobbin grabbed his second. The third came when Taylor chipped the keeper from twenty yards. Finns fourth came when new signing Callaghan got his first goal for his club slotting it into the net. Four became five when substitute McCloy also scored his first goal for Finns. Man of the Match: Ally Dobbin (Finn McCools)

Saturday 9 February

Balnamore FC v Hazelbank Fulton Park

Coleraine Olympic v West Bann Athletic Rugby Avenue 2

Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Brook Street Dunaghy

FC Windyhall v Ballyrashane Rugby Avenue 4

Finn McCool’s v FC Macosquin Bushmills

Hillview FC v Bertha’s FC Crescent 3

Taverners FC v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Riada 2

Villagers FC v Mountview FC Castlerock