HUTCHINSON TILES: Bertha’s do it again

Glebe Rangers Old Boys and Hillview FC maintained their 100% starts to the league with narrow victories on Saturday morning.

However, Mountview FC were to lose their 100% start to the league season and they suffered their second loss in two weeks to Berthas FC. FC Macosquin and Balnamore kept up their pressure at the top with good wins over The Taverners and Brook Street respectively. In the remaining games, their were wins for Finn McCools over West Bann, Hazelbank over The Villagers and Ballyrashane who defeated Coleraine Olympic.

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 2 Dunaghy Old Boys 1

The Old Boys entertained their old rivals form Dunaghy at the Joey Dunlop Centre on Saturday morning. In the absence of Reilly and Greer, Beech and McCurdy returned whilst player-boss Bellingham made his comeback in place of party-going Lee Kyle. Dunaghy had the best early chance when Moore blazed over and Keers then struck a post as the visitors opened in style.

Les Nicholl drew a fine save from Doherty as Glebe fought back. With both teams nullifying each other good chances were hard to come by and it was from a set-piece that the home team took the lead when, following a Nicholl corner, the ball dropped nicely for Blair to slot home. The visitors retaliated and after a fine four man passing move Paul Robinson equalised with a cool finish past Allen.

Moore then looped a header against the bar before the half drew to a close with the scores level. The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with neither side looking likely to score. Davy John McBride went closest when his fine drive was stopped in magnificent fashion by the impressive Doherty.

Holmes also had a good claim for a penalty turned down by referee McConaghie as Glebe pressurised the Dunaghy defence in which aging warhorse McNabb produced a man of the match performance. Eventually Glebe struck the decisive blow when Nicholl produced a great finish from a Wilmont cross on the hour mark. Dunaghy, prompted by Blair and Dunlop, pushed forward in search of a second equaliser but were unable to breach a solid Glebe backline with Bellingham and McBride prominent. Man of the Match: Richard McNabb (Dunaghy Old Boys)

Hillview FC 4 FC Windyhall 3

The first half of this game proved to be a scrappy affair with both sides only having a handful of chances. The only goal of the half came from the penalty spot. Hutton converting after Hutchinson was fouled in the box. Windyhall had a chance to bring the sides level in the opening moments of the second half when they were awarded a penalty. However, the spot kick was fired a couple of yards over the bar.

Miller struck the bar for Hillview with a 30 yard drive soon after, but they were forced to wait for their second. It eventually came from the head Hutchinson, who got on the end of McClelland’s cross. McClelland scored with a low drive himself a few minutes later and made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.

Sweeney pulled one back for Windyhall within minutes of the restart. His corner flew over everyone and in to the top corner of the Hillview goal. Windyhall were now showing some grit and it wasn’t long before there was only one goal in it. Caughey picked up the ball and drove hard at the Hillview’s defence. He eventually fund himself through on goal and fired his slot passed McDowell in the Hillview goal.

The away side now looked determined and it wasn’t long before they brought the score level. Crawford’s 30 shot caught McDowell off his line and the power in the shot gave the Hillview keeper no chance to get back to stop the ball.

With the game entering the last 10 minutes, Windyhall were definitely in the ascendancy and looked the most likely to pick up the win. The winning goal came from another corner with only a few minutes left on the clock. A Hillview corner from the left was not cleared properly and the ball fell to Sweeney 10 yards out. He managed to keep his shot down and direct it past everyone to make the score Hillview 4- Windyhall 3.

This was a hard fought victory for the home side against a much improved Windyhall side who will feel like they deserved to take something from this game. Man of the Match: Paul Friel (Hillview)

Mountview FC 2 Berthas FC 4

These sides served up an entertaining game in the shield last week and Saturday’s game was no different with both teams playing good attacking football. Darryl Wills shot narrowly wide for Mountview and McLaughlin blasted over for Berthas in the opening exchanges. It was the away side who took the lead after 15 minutes of play when a majestic long range pass from MacAulay picked out Pollock on the wing, he controlled before crossing for Caldwell to head from powerfully from 12 yards.

Mountview soon drew level though when Doherty capitalised on a mistake at the back to coolly slot the ball past Elder. The good football continued with Mountview having the better of the chances, Walker hitting the cross bar and Doherty firing wide. They did grab the lead with 35 minutes gone, when Calvin played a lovely 1-2 with Doherty to advance on goal and slide the ball into the net.

Berthas weren’t behind for long however when Swag McLaughlin ghosted past three players before bending a beautiful strike round Simpson from a narrow angle. Right at the end of the half Wills put a header wide when well placed.

Not long into the second half when a big turning point occurred, Willis fouled in the box for a penalty but the normally reliable Doherty dragged the penalty wide. Berthas were creating plenty of chances and soon took the lead when MacAulay’s dangerous free kick from out wide proved too hot to handle for Simpson and landed in the back of the net.

Mountview piled the men forward in search of an equaliser but this left holes at the back with Caldwell failing twice to further his team’s lead after top wing play from Hanna. The Berthas back line and Elder were proving up to anything that Mountview could throw at them but they were grateful to their winger Pollock who cleared off the line with his chest from Fraser’s well struck shot.

Berthas did grab their fourth of the game when good work from McIlreavy and McLaughlin presented McGarvey with the chance and he flicked the ball home delicately with his left foot. Mountview didn’t give up and continued to pile men forward but Berthas should have put the game to bed with both Pollock and Minihan missing with just the keeper to beat. Right at the death and Wills missed again with a header from point blank range. Berthas held out for another big win over the league champions. Man of the Match: Chris Patterson (Berthas FC)

Balnamore FC 2 Brook Street 0

Balnamore banked another three points on Saturday with a solid performance to see off the challenge from Brook street. Early on the home team had the big percentage of possession and caused the visitors problems down the flanks with Balnamore doing everything right but score. However the breakthrough came twenty minutes into the game, the ball breaking for Balnamore’s Brent Watton just inside the box and the young winger made no mistake as he found the net with a well drilled volley beyond an outstretched Morton in goal.

Balnamore dominated large portions of the game but Brook Street kept the Fulton Park men frustrated as the home boys watched a number of chances go begging. Tosh had a couple of efforts clink off the bar from two set pieces for the Coleraine men, but in general the Balnamore back line were solid all day.

After the break the away side came into the game more but any shots on target were long range efforts and never troubled Elder in the home nets. It took until the eighty fifth minute for Balnamore to kill the game off, good build up play by Corr and Mc Dowell found Simon Armstrong just inside the box, with back to goal, Armstrong was able to shake off his marker, turn and fire past the keeper at the near post to seal the win.

Another day with the chances it could have been four or five but getting the win and clean sheet was most important. Man of the Match: Joe Connor (Balnamore)

The Villagers 2 Hazelbank FC 4

Hazelbank went into this game off the back of a few disappointing results, looking to get off to a good start, Villagers also wanted to get their season back on track and the game got off to a scrappy start, stop start play from needless free kicks.

Hazelbank began to get their passing going, Smith and Boorman proving to be a good choice for the midfield battle. Ciaran Wilson opened the scoring on 32 minutes, running onto Sheppard’s pass.

Hazelbank raced into a 2-0 lead straight from the restart, Johnny McIlreavy finishing off a great move from Wilson and Sheppard. Steven Fillis opened his account with the club with a belter from the edge off the box, Thursday night’s shooting practice paying off.

Wilson made it four on 69 minutes to seemingly seal the win, Hazelbank though made a few changes and fell asleep, the Villagers with nothing but pride to play for took advantage of this and in a 10 minute spell they halved the deficit.

Gary Friel headed in at the back post on 77 minutes and Parke fired in from the edge of the box with six minutes to go. Hazelbank responded to this and closed out the game to pick up three valuable points. Man of the Match: Brian Alcorn (Hazelbank)

West Bann Athletic 0 Finn McCools 2

Last week these two teams met in a tight cup fixture which West Bann won. It was more of the same this week with good tackling and passing. West Bann pressed hard the first ten minutes putting Finns back in their own half. Finns started to settle and play the ball on the ground with some good passing.

Both teams cancelled each other out with very little been giving away in defence. The second half started more of the same with both teams battling hard to push and get that first goal. Half way through the second half it was Finns who scored with Parke latching onto a ball West Bann couldn’t clear inside their own area.

It stayed one nil until near the end when Finns got a free kick outside the West Bann area, Watton stepping up and scoring through a number of players giving the keeper no chance. West Bann pushed with a couple of long range shots, but it was Finns who held on to take the three points.

Ballyrashane FC 4 Coleraine Olympic 2

Ballyrashane wanted to put things right after Olympic pushed them to penalties in the Shield last week. And with two new players in the squad in Ricky Hanna and Davy Campbell this was sure to add experience to the Ballyrashane squad. Ballyrashane looked the stronger of the two from the kick off with Olympic on the back foot in the opening 20 minutes.

But Ballyrashane didn’t find the net until the 38th minute when Freeman slotted the ball home past the Olympic keeper. After a good talking to and another game plan, Ballyrashane came out for the second half even stronger and gave Olympic no time on the ball and it didn’t take long for Ballyrashane to get number two when Jordan Dallas turned his markery inside out and gave a belting through ball to David Freeman to round the keeper and nicely place the ball home to make it 2-0.

Ballyrashane got number three when Ian Glass’ cross was turned in by an Olympic defender. David Freeman completed his hat-trick soon after to make it 4-0. New signing Davy Campbell though saw red as he stopped the ball on the line before Greer slotted home the spot kick.

And on 72 minutes Weatherall made it 4-2 after Doherty failed to clear. The home side held on though to secure the win.

Saturday 13 October

Ballyrashane v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Rugby Avenue 2

Brook Street v Hillview FC Crescent 3

Finn McCool’s v Bertha’s FC Bushmills

(C) Hazelbank v FC Windyhall Rugby Avenue 4

Mountview FC v Coleraine Olympic Rugby Avenue 3

Taverners FC v FC Macosquin Riada 2

(C) Villagers FC v Balnamore FC Castlerock

West Bann Athletic v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Rugby Avenue 1