HUTCHINSON TILES:Balnamore shock the Old Boys

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It was the Coleraine Social Club Shield Quarter Final weekend in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League along with four games in the league.

Tie of the round in the Shield was billed to be at Castlerock between Berthas and Hillview and it didn’t disappoint with Hillview winning by the odd goal in seven. Balnamore caused maybe the shock of the round with a comfortable 4-1 victory against holders Glebe Rangers Old Boys.

A single goal was enough for Hazelbank to see off Dunaghy Old Boys while West Bann Athletic advanced with victory over Ballyrashane. In the league there was victoriesfor Mountview, Finn McCools and Brook Street. In the other league game played, FC Macosquin and FC Windyhall battled to a 4 all draw.

Berthas FC 3 Hillview FC 4

This looked on paper to be the big game of the weekend and that’s how it turned out to be with both teams battling from start to finish in a real entertaining game for any spectators present. It was Hillview quickest out of the blocks and they took the lead after only four minutes when Close controlled Black’s pass before lashing the ball into the top corner past stand in keeper Cochrane’s net from just outside the box.

Berthas hit back almost immediately when MacAulay’s corner was headed straight back out to him, he controlled before picking out Caldwell unmarked and the big man headed home powerfully from 16 yards. The same player then put his team in front when he out jumped three markers to head home Patterson’s long throw.

Both teams pushed forward for more goals but it was Hillview who struck next when Nevin curled home a free kick, low into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. Hillview then regained their lead, Close again the scorer with another excellent goal, this time cutting in from the left and hammering the ball across Cochrane and into the bottom corner.

Close was proving to be a real handful and it was his turn to provide as he headed back Cosgrove#s deep cross for the advancing McCrellis to side foot from six yards. The home team regrouped and should have pulled one back with McLaughlin just failing to find the net when one-on-one with McDowell.

McLaughlin made up for this miss moments later with the goal of the game. Davy Graham was fouled about 35 yards out, McLaughlin stepping to smash the ball around the wall and into the top corner, a free kick that wouldn’t have looked out of place in La Liga!

The first half was a real goal-fest with the second half turning out to be a real battle. Berthas had a bit more of the possession with Hillview not committing the same numbers forward as they did in the first half but when they did it took two top saves from Cochrane to deny Close and Nevin.

At the other end Hillview were defending really well to keep Berthas out, and when they did break through, McDowell in the Hillview goal was equal to the task. As time ran out and Berthas pushing more men forward, Hillview nearly got a fifth when McClelland ran onto Hutchinson’s long ball forward but as he pushed the ball past Cochrane, Patterson was on hand to rush back and clear off the line.

Berthas pushed forward but failed to find an equaliser with Hillview doing what was needed to advance to the semi finals. Man of the Match: Timmy Close (Hillview)

Balnamore FC 4 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 1

Megaw park witnessed a thrilling game on Saturday between these two rivals. Glebe looking to maintain a hundred percent record and Balnamore seeking to gain bragging rights after a narrow early season defeat to the hosts.

Balnamore began the livelier, creating chances and troubling the Glebe back line, Heggarty’s strong burst of pace opened up the defence but keeper Allen just doing enough to deny him. Armstrong too was unfortunate not to open the scoring after his two strikes were kept out again by an alert Allen. McCurdy and Holmes worked tirelessly for Glebe but a solid Balnamore back line meant most of their efforts were from distance and comfortably held by Elder in goal.

Ex Balnamore man now Glebe recruit Ricky “Chin” Blair was having a frustrating day trying to unpick his former clubs solid defensive lock, but both sides walked off at the break probably happy that the score line was still even.

The second half saw the match burst into life and more like a cup tie, chances came and went but Glebe drew first blood, Jason Wilmont finding the net with his second attempt after J Elder had stopped Wilmont’s first effort. Balnamore hit back immediately, winning a penalty after McBride handled a goal bound shot, he was given his marching orders and Lee Kelly calmly slotted home the resulting kick.

Two minutes later Balnamore had their noses in front, Sean Hogg found himself time inside the box to control the ball, turn and direct his low drive beyond the stricken Allen. Glebe were under pressure with only ten men but still looked dangerous, Holmes watched his long strike brush agonizingly over as they probed.

By chasing an equaliser this left Glebe exposed, Balnamore capitalised on this and Simon Armstrong broke the Glebe hearts on the 88th minute with a clinical strike from just inside the box. Balnamore still had time for a grand finale. S Armstrong was upended inside the area and super sub Willie Corr stepped up to hammer home the penalty. Credit to both teams for serving up such an entertaining cup tie. Man of the Match: Joe Connor (Balnamore)

Hazelbank FC 1 Dunaghy Old Boys 0

A close encounter separated by the odd goal and a sending off! Both teams struggled to find any real rhythm to their play, the best chance off the half fell to Dunaghy. The loose ball falling between Kelly and Alcorn, with Jason Moore reacting to this. Kelly managed to put the pressure on him, but Moore got his shot away only to be denied by Stephen Crawford’s excellent save to turn over the bar from close range.

The second half began with both teams looking to get the break through. Hazelbank began to push Dunaghy on to the back foot, Harry Kilgore getting involved more. Hazelbank broke the deadlock on 70 minutes, Mark Boorman barging through from midfield, his shot from the edge had enough on it to beat Docherty at full stretch.

Dunaghy where reduced to 10 men after Ricky McNabb saw red for a foul which can only be described as a reckless lunge from behind on Boorman. Dunaghy to their credit managed to play a lot better after this, although still under pressure with Hazelbank now looking to extend their advantage played better with the man less, managed to hit Hazelbank on the counter attack.

Dereck Hickinson went close to levelling the tie, his first time shot was pushed wide by Crawford. Hazelbank managed to see out the remainder off the game and book there place in the semis. Man of the Match: Harry Kilgore (Hazelbank)

West Bann Athletic 3 Ballyrashane FC 1

West Bann Athletic progressed to the semi finals of the Coleraine Social Club Shield at the expense of Ballyrashane. Prior to kick off both teams observed a minutes silence for Heights legend Jimmy McGonigle who sadly passed away.

Athletic got the perfect start taking the lead in the fourth minute through Greg McAfee who latched onto a Peter O’Kane through ball before rounding the Ballyrashane goalkeeper and coolly finishing to score his first goal in West Bann Athletic colours. Athletic controlled the next 20 minutes of the game but failed to convert pressure into goals. Ballyrashane got themselves back in the game in the 33 minute through Ricky Hanna, who capitalised on Athletic’s inability to clear there lines to make it 1-1.

Ballyrashane saw the half out on the front foot with the Freeman brothers, Ernie and David in particular causing problems. Athletic started the second half the brighter of the two teams and went close on a couple of occasions, however they had to wait until the 58 minute to score the all important second goal through Aaron McLelland who made no mistake after being played in by strike partner McAfee.

Athletic made it 3-1 four minutes later with McLelland adding to his tally poking home from a well delivered Davy Hunter corner. West Bann Athletic continued to press for the remainder of the game creating some great chances especially from set pieces, but were unable to add to the score line.

Ballyrashane pushed Hutchinson Tiles veteran Ricky Hanna further up the pitch in the last half hour hoping to get themselves back into the game however Athletic soaked up all and any pressure. It was Ballyrashane who had the last chance of the game with Davy Campbell shooting just wide to leave the final score 3-1 to West Bann Athletic. Man of the Match: Chris Shirlow (West Bann Athletic)

Brook Street 5 Coleraine Olympic 1

It was a scrappy start to the game but it wasn’t long until the first goal and it was Olympic who struck first from a corner. It was then the Joel McDonald show, his first came from the spot after a hand ball. The second arrived soon after, great cross from Smyth on the right to pick out Joel about 15 yards out who buried his volley into the right corner. Really great finish, his third came from a great through ball and he lifted it over the on rushing keeper to net a first half hat trick.

Plenty more chances came and gone but it remained 3-1 at the break. Brook Street got into their way again at the start of the second half with Davidson and Smyth pulling the strings.

There were plenty of chances again but it wasn’t until the 80th minute that there was anymore net bulging. A corner on the left for Brook Street was not dealt with properly and it was left to Davidson to put the ball in the net. Four soon became five as Morton finished after a game of ping pong with Tosh before putting into far corner. Well deserved win for Brook Street who could and should of added more. Man of the Match: Joel McDonald (Brook Street)

FC Windyhall 4 FC Macosquin 4

With Windyhall improving in recent weeks and Macosquin sitting fifth in the league this was going to be a close encounter. It was Windyhall who came out the brighter of the two teams when Caughey rolled the ball back from the kick off to Donnell who squared it to Thompson who played a wonderful through ball for Johnston who fired across the keeper and into the bottom corner after only 16 seconds.

Windyhall continued to press with chances for Bradley, Caughey and Johnston but it was Macosquin who scored next against the run of play through McGuinness. It was Macosquin then who took the advantage when McGuinness scuffed shot managed to creep past Newman at his near post.

Both teams battled to try and control possession but the score remained the same at half time. Windyhall came flying in the second half after the hair-dryer treatment at half time from the management but couldn’t seem to create any clear cut chances. Macosquin scored again. A one-two down the right ended up with Campbell swinging the ball in for Alistair McElhinney to creep in at the far post and put the ball past Newman.

This seemed to fire the young Windyhall team up. Jamie Allen started to control the battle in centre midfield and fed the ball threw for Caughey who played in Cochrane who shot seemed destined for the bottom corner only for Tosh to get his finger tips to the ball and direct it around the post.

Windyhall then rang the changes. Laverty and Crawford coming on for Bradley and Cochrane, pushing Donnell into centre midfield and it paid off when Allen won a penalty. Up stepped Donnell who placed the ball perfectly past the keeper.

The visitors didn’t want to throw the game away and scored again. Campbell with a long throw into the box resulted in Downs flicking the ball over the advancing Newman and into the net. Macosquin then backtracked and tried to close the game out. Caughey who was a thorn in the side of Macosquin centre backs all day feels he should of won another two penalty’s.

The first he took the ball around Tosh and shot towards goal only for the Macosquin defender who seemingly handled on the line and clear the ball. The second when he again took the ball around the advancing Tosh and with the keeper looking to have pulled the young striker down.

Caughey did win a penalty however with 10 minutes to go when he danced into the box and was fouled. He dusted himself down and placed the penalty the same way as Donnell did to give Windyhall hope.

Windyhall continued to press and with four minutes of time remaining the ball was chipped forward towards Johnston. With his back to goal and 25 yards out he controlled the ball turned and unleashed an unstoppable volley which left the keeper with no chance. Macosquin had another chance in the last minute but Newman wasn’t letting them past and pulled off a wonderful save to earn his team a point. Man of the Match: Aaron Caughey (FC

Windyhall)

Finn McCools 4 The Taverners 3

Finns started this game brightly with great short passing. Both teams played attacking football, but it was Finns who opened the scoring through A McAfee. He was on the score sheet again soon after putting his side 2-0 up. Taverners came into the game when the Finns keeper and defender had a mix up resulting with the away side scoring. It was Finns who put the pressure on again, this time Watton getting a head to the ball putting it over the keeper to make it 3-1.

Again Taverners came back, this time a great goal from twenty five yards out giving the Finns keeper no chance. Near the end of the first half Taverners came back at the Finns defence again with another great strike from the same player.

The second half continued in the same vein with Finns hitting the post twice and then finally getting the goal to win the three points for the Bushmills men. Man of the Match: A McAfee (Finn McCools)