West Bann Athletic lost their unbeaten start to the season but still remain top by a point after Glebe Rangers Old Boys took the spoils in a tight contest at Rugby Avenue.
Portrush Old Boys were the big winners of the day smashing 14 past Ballyrashane while there was wins for Berthas FC and FC Crusaders. Dunaghy Old Boys took a good three points in a cracking game against Hazelbank, while Finn McCools saw off Coleraine Olympic. In the remaining game, FC Windyhall and The Taverners fought to a draw.
West Bann Athletic 1
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 2
West Bann played host to the Old Boys at the Lodge Road Playing Fields on Saturday morning as they attempted to consolidate their position as league leaders and both teams played their part in a good advert for the league.
Stephen Elder proved to be a threat on the right throughout the game and from his cross Steele put the visitors ahead in the 10th minute. Encouraged by this the visitors continued to press and a chip from Holmes came back off the crossbar before Patterson fired narrowly wide. West Bann’s best efforts came from set-pieces but failed to hit the target with two free headers form corners and the interval arrived with Glebe one up.
The Old Boys attacked from the restart with Elder to the fore but the midfielder failed to hit the target with a couple of efforts. However he made amends when finding Aaron Stewart, a half-time replacement for the injured Steele, who slotted home. At this stage Glebe were in control but a defensive lapse allowed Nevin to pull a goal back after 74 minutes to give the hosts a lifeline.
Nicholl failed to convert from a Bellingham knockdown before Allen pulled off a great save from McClelland’s free-kick. West Bann forced a series of corners to further increase the pressure on an over-worked Glebe defence and their task was made that much harder when Patterson received his marching orders after a tackle from behind.
In a final assault Nevin put a great ball across the penalty box but there wasn’t anyone to take advantage and the final whistle followed to leave the Old Boys victorious. Man of the Match: Alan Walls (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
Portrush Old Boys 14
Ballyrashane FC 0
Portrush Old Boys ran out comfortable winners in this one and led by six goals going into the interval.
They continued their scoring in the second half scoring another eight for a final tally of 14. Goalscorers were Willie Shirlow (2), Paul Wallace (2), Hugh McAllister (2), Darryl Wills (2), Johnny Martin (2). Dave Parsons with a single with Gareth McDonald rattling home a hat-trick. Man of the Match: Gareth McDonald (Portrush Old Boys)
Berthas FC 3 Brook Street 2
Berthas were looking to get back to winning ways after a couple of defeats and they looked like they meant business from the off attacking Brook Street but failing to capitalise on some glorious chances.
They were made to pay for this when Brook Street took the lead against the run of play when a neat passing move saw Boreland find Joel McDonald in space and he rattled home with his left foot. Berthas kept on attacking and drew level through a deep Andy MacAulay free kick which eluded everyone and found the back of the net.
Within a minute they took the lead when a slick move from back to front saw McLaughlin find Pollock in space, he beat the full back before squaring to Willie Stewart to fire home. Berthas continued to miss chances and this continued into the second half as they failed to put the game to bed.
Indeed they were made to pay again when the away team drew level and a free kick out wide that Martin Smith got the final touch to. It was Brook Street that should have regained the lead when Dysart slipped to let in McDonald but he made a great recovery with McDonald about to pull the trigger.
Berthas did take the lead when Minihan and Hanna combined to find Stewart and the striker grabbed his second, hammering the ball home from the edge of the area. Both teams went down to 10 men before the game was up but it was Berthas who took the points. Man of the Match: Willie McDowell (Brook Street)
Balnamore FC 0
FC Crusaders 2
Big local derby with the team from Balnamore against the team from Macfin. The sun was shining and it was a great day for football with the pitch in great condition. The Crues started brightly but Balnamore held out and finished the half the stronger team holding on to the ball well without creating any real chances.
The second half was more exciting with Balnamore pushing forward but being caught on the break by a great run and solo goal from Thomas Campbell. Balnamore pushed for the equaliser but found the crues hard to break down with Adam Watson and Ali Newton in great form. The Crues made it 2-0 soon after when big Bobby Archibald continued his fine form in front of goal with a great strike.
Balnamore pushed up the pitch but despite lots of possession created very little chances. A hard fought win for the crues and a vital three points. Man of the Match: Adam Watson (FC Crusaders)
FC Windyhall 1
The Taverners 1
Windyhall entertained the Taveners at Rugby Avenue on Saturday morning looking to build on their current points tally. It was the home side who started brightest when Grills hit the outside of the post with a header and Cochrane unable to control a Tennant pass when through on goal.
This was the kick up the backside the Taveners needed and the home side found it hard to break them down. The remainder of the first half was scrappy with no team able to take advantage.
Windyhall made two changes at half time Donnell and McMullan on for Laverty and Sweeney. Windyhall took the lead in the 78th minute. Crawford winning a penalty giving Donnell the chance to step up and place the ball home. Windyhall’s lead didn’t last long though. In the 85th minute. a cross come shot from the right caught Newman off guard, the keeper couldn’t hold on to the ball as it dropped over the line. 1-1. Man of the Match: Andy Fielding (FC Windyhall)
Dunaghy Old Boys 4
Hazelbank FC 2
Dunaghy Old Boys entertained Hazelbank in a cracking match in Megaw Park. Nathan Blair should have opened the scoring for the Old Boys after his shot rebounded off the post and he somehow put it over the bar from four yards. Blair did make amends when he got on the end of a good cross from Warren Blair to slip it below the keeper on 22 minutes.
Dunaghy were piling on the pressure and from an Arnie Blair corner he smashed an unstoppable volley from 20 yards into the bottom corner. Two minutes later it was three when Patton pounced on a loose ball and played in Robinson whose low drive beat the keeper at his near post.
It remained like this until half time.
The second half was a complete turn around as Hazelbank went on the offensive and just four minutes in McClarty won a penalty and it was he who cooly smashed it down the middle to make it 3 1. ‘Robo’ then put a header over from a Patton cross but it was still Hazelbank doing most of the pressing and on 58 minutes McClarty rose highest to head powerfully into the roof of the net to cut the deficit to one.
Hazelbank went all out looking for an equaliser with Dunaghy defending well and hitting on the break and it was only on 88 minutes the game was made safe for the old boys when Ian Blair had his shot well saved but managed to scramble the rebound over the line.
A very hard fought three points for the Old Boys. Man of the Match: Paul Robinson (Dunaghy Old Boys)
Finn McCools 3
Coleraine Olympic 0
This was an entertaining clash from start to finish with Finns scoring first with Cochrane hitting a wonder strike giving the keeper no chance.
Finns kept the pressure on Olympic with good work up front and in the midfield but the first half scoreline was still 1-0.
The Second half was more of the same but it was P.McAfee who killed of Olympics hopes when the big midfielder scored two headers to make the final score 3-0.
Both teams had alot of chances in this game Finns taking theirs getting the three points. This was a good performance from an under strength Finns side with the first win for the new management. Man of the Match: Peter McAfee (Finn McCools)