IT’S as you were at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles League as the top three all won on Saturday racking up the goals in the process.
Glebe Rangers Old Boys, Macosquin Village and Mountview fired in 20 goals between them in their respective games conceding only two in return.
Elsewhere Balnamore picked up a good win away at Finn McCool’s and Dunaghy Old Boys also picked up three points at home to FC Macosquin.
West Bann Athletic came from behind to beat Hillview in a close encounter at Rugby Avenue and Bertha’s hit the goal trail again firing 11 past Somerset.
Hazelbank made it 20 goals for in the last two games as they made it through to the quarter finals of the Shield at Brook Street’s expense.
It’s the quarter finals of the cup this Saturday with all four ties to close to call.
Ballyrashane FC 1 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 5
Ballyrashane entertained Glebe Old Boys in this league encounter at Ballysally at the weekend. A couple of changes saw player-boss Bellingham and elder statesman Gary McCracken return to the staring line-up whilst long-term absentee Gary Lyttle also returned to the squad albeit on the bench.
In temperate conditions and the sun at their backs Glebe went on the offensive from the kick-off and ace marksman James Steele opened the scoring with a crisp left foot finish after only two minutes. Ballyrashane went close when Kyle, blinded by the sun, misjudged a high ball but Allen scrambled away the danger.
This was the signal for a spell of sustained Glebe pressure, with the effervescent Holmes to the fore, which saw home keeper Doherty called into action on a number of occasions. Blair, still searching for his first goal in Glebe colours also went close when his header from a McCurdy corner was cleared off the line by Morrow.
However it was Colin McBride who notched number two when he beat a couple of men inside the box before despatching past Doherty. Two minutes later McCurdy made it three when he slotted home a penalty after McBride had been impeded and this was score as both teams went in at the interval.
Glebe maintained the pressure at the start of the second period and from Steele’s clever back-heel the unfortunate Morrow turned into his own net under pressure from Paul Surgenor. After this Glebe sat back and the home team came more into the game with Hunter and Hemphill pulling the strings in midfield ably supported by Dallas and Glass.
Allen was called into action as Ballyrashane tried to narrow the gap and Freeman was unlucky to see his shot strike the woodwork. However Glebe made the points safe when Ivan Elder finished off a counter-attack with his side’s fifth goal in the 83rd minute. Ballyrashane still had time to pull one back when an aberration by Allen presented Keys with a free shot at goal, although to be fair the substitute struck it well, to make the final score 5-1 to Glebe. Man of the Match: Ivan Elder (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
The Taverners 0 Macosquin Village 8
Macosquin expected this to be a difficult game away from home to an improving Taverners side, but in reality it was an extremely one sided affair as they ran out 8-0 winners. They took an early lead on 10 minutes when Newton drilled the ball into the bottom corner with an fierce drive from a tight angle. Alan McBride then added a second five minutes later when he rose above everyone in the box to head into the top croner from Patterson’s corner kick.
Two soon became three when Newton grabbed his second of the game, outmuscling his marker before rounding the kepper to slide the ball into an empty net. The second half began on the same note with the away side dominating in all areas, and they grabbed a fourth on 51 minutes when Newton completed his hat-trick by again rounding the Taverners keeper having outpaced the defence to reach Riley’s through ball.
The in-form striker then made it four for himself and five for Macosquin with another cool finish following some neat football between himself and Stewart. Doherty then joined in on the act with the goal of the game, coming in from the wing the chip the ball over the advancing keeper into the top corner from a tight angle.
Newton then turned provided for Darren Stewart on 84 minutes and the big striker completed the scoring on 86 minutes again set up by Newton to make it eight nil to Macosquin. Man of the Match: Donald Newton (MVFC)
The Villagers 1 Mountview FC 7
Mountview started this game in brisk fashion and never allowed the visitors any time to settle. McLelland opened the scoring on 14 minutes after being released by Martin. Johnston then made it two after 20 minutes when he slotted home after his determined solo run.
McLelland then added his second when he fired home on 25 minutes. Parsons was next to add his name to the score sheet when cutting inside his marker to rifle home. Fraser then gave his side a comfortable five goal lead at the interval when the veteran striker tapped home on 44 minutes.
The second half started with the home side using all five subs. This allowed the visitors to enjoy a period of possession, although the home defence was rarely threatened. Wallace then made it six on 75 minutes when he beat the offside trap and slotted past Friel. The visitors to their credit kept going and got a reward nor their efforts on 82 minutes. Parke firing home from just outside the box. Kerr then made it seven for the home team when he danced between the visitors defence before rounding the keeper and tap into the empty net. Man of the Match: Gary Johnston (Mountview)
Finn McCools 0 Balnamore FC 4
Both sides shuffled the personnel for this encounter in Bushmills and gave an entertaining display. The first half produced little of chances, Halliday cleared off the line from a Finns corner and Henderson denied Hoggs effort early on. Most of the battle was in the midfield area cancelling each other out as both teams closed down and worked the ball well.
After the restart Balnamore made a few changes and within a few minutes found themselves 1-0 up. Ryan Maddison calmly placed his shot past the Finns keeper after good work by McLaughlin. Balnamore were having good spells of passing and their defence looked solid denying Finns of venturing forward. Balnamore kept the pressure on in attack and got a second goal soon after, big ‘Toby’ McLaughlin netting from six yards with a thumpin shot after a scramble in the box.
Balnamore relaxed into a settled rythmn of play with numerous chances as Finns chased the game, this left space and the men in red exploited it, Simon Armstrong gettting number three running nicely on to a through pass and confusing Finns keeper Henderson with his clinical finish.
The Bushmills men tried to salvage something by throwing men forward but were caught out again, Buick’s quick throw in found Maddison whos pass opened up the defense for Armstrong to nip in and grab his second with a cool finish. Balnamore were the worthy winners, but a valiant effort by Finns who never gave up. Man of the Match: Simon Armstrong (Balnamore)
Dunaghy Old Boys 3 FC Macosquin 1
Dunaghy Old Boys and FC Macosquin both started at a blistering pace but it was the old boys who struck first when Robinson cooly rounded the defender and buried a low drive into the bottom corner. This seemed two rattle the visitors as the hosts made it 2-0 from a kick out both central defenders were caught under it and W Blair ran on to it and smashed it into the roof of the net.
It was all Dunaghy now who were playing some great football and when Bartlett’s header found Arnie Blair, who in turn played it into Robo’s feet, his clever turn and pass releasing young Blair who tucked it past the onrushing.
FC were glad to see half time they started the second half much brighter and they got their rewards when McGuinness slotted home.
Kinaird in Dunaghy’s goal pulled of two top class saves in quick sucession to keep his side in front and this settled Dunaghy’s nerves as they once again started to pass with great purpose resulting in M Blair’s shot going wide.
Robo had a great chance to grab his second of the game but he delayed too long and the chance was gone. Man of the Match: Nathan Blair (Dunaghy)
West Bann Athletic 2 Hillview FC 1
West Bann Athletic played host to Hillview at Rugby Avenue in ideal conditions. Both teams were determined to win all three points in what over the last few years has always been a close and competitive game. Athletic started the better of the two teams with Aaron McLelland going close in the opening five minutes.
Athletic should have took the lead shortly after through Michael Olphert but his shot was well saved by the Hillview keeper. Hillview had a few chances in the opening half hour and always threatened when going forward. Raymond McCrelliss gave Hillview the lead in the 38th minute when his shot hit the post came back out and seemed to be gathered in by Athletic keeper Paul Jones but the referee awarded a goal as he felt the ball had crossed the line.
Athletic came out for the second half knowing that the next goal in the game was all important for both teams. As the second half developed it seemed the game was going to end 1-0 Hillview as both teams were cancelling each other out all over the pitch and on the day both teams use of the ball when in possession was poor.
Hillview did have the ball in the back of the net however it was correctly disallowed for offside. Michael Olphert came closest for Athletic when in the 70th minute his shot struck the woodwork. The game was turned on its head in the 82nd minute when Michael Olphert pounced on a loose ball in the six yard box making no mistake to make it 1-1.
Athletic with there tails up sensed they could now go on and win the game and were rewarded two minutes later when Colin Diamond whipped a cross into the Hillview box which was picked up by Martin Pancott whos goal bound effort was well saved by the Hillview keeper however Michael Olphert was again at hand and again pounced on the loose ball with his shot crashing into the roof of the Hillview net to win the game and all three points for West Bann Athletic. Man of the Match: Chris Shirlow (West Bann Athletic)
Somerset FC 1 Berthas FC 11
Berthas hit 11 goals for the second time in four games in this encounter away to Somerset. It was a cagey start by both teams but after a few half chances it was Berthas who opened the scoring when Jenks spilled Pollock’s cross on the line and left Daniel Edgar the simply oppourtunity of poking home from a yard.
They should have extended the lead but Jenks pulled off good saves to deny Caldwell and Pollock twice. They did get their second when Patterson’s header was cleared off the line, only for Edgar to be on hand to half volley home the rebound. Captain Davy Caldwell got on the score sheet when he tapped home from a yard after Patterson’s throw caused confusion between Jenks and Beech. Patterson then grabbed his teams fourth when he capitalised on some sloppy play at the back to run clean through and slot past Jenks.
Edgar got his hat-trick when he ran onto Parsons’ defence splitting pass to cheekily scoop the ball over the keeper and into the net. Somerset kept plugging away when Freeman testing Elder and Sweeney shooting just over. Berthas scored their sixth and seventh just before half time through Patterson and Caldwell.
Patterson again running clean through after poor play at the back to slide the ball past the stranded Jenks before Caldwell turned his man to fire into the top corner to complete the first half scoring. Berthas made a few changes just after the restart and one of the subs, Alan McClarty scored with a neat finish following an excellent Aaron Laverty cross. Berthas took their foot off the pedal for five minutes and Somerset came into, and grabbed a consolation goal, Bradley scoring with a great front post header.
The away side soon kicked into action and it was player-manager Chris Patterson who got his teams ninth and his hat-trick when he scored from a free kick, bending the ball around the wall and into the bottom corner. Number 10 came after neat player from MacAulay and Laverty, with the latter squaring for Caldwell to complete his hat-trick from six yards out.
The final goal of the game came when the impressive Willie Parsons sauntered past four men before lashing the ball past Jenks with his left foot. Berthas should have had more goals in this game but a mixture of good keeping and poor finishing kept the away side from gaining a cricket score.
It was a decent performance by the away side with Graeme Hanna on the wing causing the home side all sorts of problems and gives them decent momentum going into next weeks quarter final Shield game against holders Balnamore. Man of the Match: Graeme Hanna (Berthas FC)
Hazelbank FC 9 Brook Street 0
Ciaran wilson opened the scoring on nine minutes, linking with with Colin McClarty to drill home from the edge off the box. McClarty should have doubled the lead minutes later, but he managed to pull his shot trying to volley on the turn. James Diver also went close and should have done better with keeper stranded he side footed wide under no pressure certainly a miss to forget.
Nigel Sheppard did double the lead on 18 minutes, a well-worked move with Wilson putting him one-on-one with keeper he cooly slotted it home. Hazelbank were dominating the game with Greene and McCartney taking charge off the midfield and Crawford and Boorman dealing with anything that got past them.
An Andrew Campbell own goal made it 3-0, the defender’s attempted clearance from McCartney’s near post header flew into the net.
Diver made it four just before the break after more neat build up play from Wilson and McClarty allowing the midfielder to slot home.
Full back Brian Alcorn capped an impressive game as he headed in from close range after Crawford had flicked on Sheppard’s corner.
Sheppard grabbed his second and Hazelbank’s sixth on the hour mark as he headed home McCrory’s cross.
Striker Jonathan McIlreavy grabbed his first for the club tapping home after the keeper had spilled the ball.
Alcorn picked up a second goal on 83 minutes as he ran at the Brook Street defence before pulling the trigger to make it 8-0.
McClarty wrapped up the scoring late on as he slotted home from Diver’s cross. Man of the Match: Brian Alcorn (Hazelbank)
Fixtures Saturday 24 March
C Bertha’s FC v Balnamore FC Castlerock
C Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Mountview FC Dunaghy
C Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Hillview F.C Riada 2
C Villagers FC v Hazelbank Ballysally 2
Coleraine Olympic v Brook Street Rugby Avenue 1
Somerset v Ballyrashane Rugby Avenue 3
FC Macosquin v West Bann Athletic Rugby Avenue 2
Finn McCool’s v Taverners FC Bushmills