MOUNTVIEW caused the shock of the day in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League as they took the points in their contest with Bertha’s FC, a result that severely dents Bertha’s hopes of a league title.
Normal service elsewhere as Glebe Rangers Old Boys and Dunaghy Old Boys ran out comfortable victors in their home games, while Hazelbank kept up the chase at the top with a win away to Finn McCool’s.
FC Macosquin continued their good league form with a commanding victory away to Riverside Athletic as The Villagers took the spoils in their ‘derby’ game with Macosquin Village. Brook Street took the spoils by the odd goal in five against Coleraine Olympic while Somerset - Balnamore and Ballyrashane – West Bann Athletic shared the points in their games.
This weekend see the Shield semi final games take place with two interesting ties up for decision. Most outsiders will be expecting a Hazelbank and Dunaghy Old Boys final, but Balnamore and Macosquin Village are capable of beating anyone on their day and they will be looking towards that final in April.
Don’t be surprised if extra time and penalties are needed to find a result in any of these ties.
The league would like to pass on their regards to West Bann Athletic player Jonny Mitchell after his recent family bereavement.
The league committee would also like to remind all managers that all match reports are to be with Chris Patterson no later than 4pm on a Sunday afternoon.
Mountview FC 2 Bertha’s FC 0
Bertha’s kicked this match off at Rugby Avenue and both teams settled into the match fairly quickly, playing good passing football from back to front.
Both defences stood firm canceling out each other’s attacks for most of the match. Irwin had the first decent chance on goal but his strike after a scramble in the box just went the wrong side of the post.
It was Mountview who broke the deadlock on the half hour. Good play from ‘Stacka’ and Kerr down the right channel, enabled Kerr to get inside the Bertha’s box, he squared to Stanfield and his pass across goal found Harte unmarked at the back post for an easy finish to put his side one up.
Harte almost got his second five minutes later, young Darryl Wills’ pin point cross picked out Harte, who had got between the two Bertha’s defenders, to head the ball down towards the bottom corner, but Mountview old boy Alan McClarty in goals for Bertha’s was equal to the shot and pulled off a great save to tip the ball past the post.
Bertha’s were finding the going tough up front with both first choice front men unavailable; they struggled to get a shot on goal.
In the second half, Bertha’s applied a bit more pressure, but found the Mountview defence in good form. This pressure almost paid off for Bertha’s when MacAulay found himself in space after good play involving McIlreavy but he shot wide when well placed.
Then Barry Greene latched onto a wayward back pass, but McLaughlin was out of goal fast to close down the angle and Greene’s shot cannoned of the keepers legs. Mountview continued to work hard and created a few half chances from outside the area.
Mountview scored their second ten minutes from time when a Bertha’s defender passed the ball back to McClarty, Smyth ran onto the pass and knocked the ball one side of the advancing keeper, ran round the other side to leave himself with an easy tap in from four yards.
Bertha’s almost pulled one back five minutes from time when Graham found himself in a bit of space, but his shot was well blocked by Watton.
Mountview dug in during this spell of attack from Bertha’s and got the clean sheet their hard work deserved. Man of the Match: Gareth Kerr (Mountview).
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 6 Hillview FC 1
Glebe Rangers Old Boys ran out comfortable winners in a game that on paper looked like it could have been a closer affair.
Goals from Mervyn Greer, Billy McCurdy, David Paterson, James Steele, DJ McBride and Jason Wilmont for Glebe saw off Hillview, who scored a consolation goal through Timmy Close. Hillview played the second half a man light after Hutchinson was sent off after 40 minutes, and to make matters worse Kirgan and Evangelista were given their marching orders in the last ten minutes. Man of the Match: Harry Love (Glebe Rangers Old Boys).
Dunaghy Old Boys 7 The Taverner’s 0
Dunaghy started this local derby with some urgency with Christie hitting the post inside two minutes.
Three one-on-ones were crafted in quick succession, Christie with a total miss kick and Craig making two saves with his feet from Robinson.
The goal eventually came on 15 minutes when a Taverner’s player scored an own goal from Patton’s through ball. It was all Dunaghy pressure after this with The Taverners making it hard fighting for every ball but a great strike from Dunlop crashed the upright from 20 yards, then M Blair had a couple of efforts saved.
Dunaghy almost paid for their lack of finishing when Taverner’s player Peter Baird hit the underside of crossbar from 25 yards.
Robinson and Christie found their shooting boots after the break, ‘Robo’ scoring a real poachers hat-trick in and around the box, his second treble in two weeks.
Christie got in the act with two, both good strikes inside the box. An own goal by Taverner’s Blair late in the game made it seven and another good result for Dunaghy. Man of the Match: Paul Robinson (Dunaghy Old Boys).
Finn McCools 2 Hazelbank FC 4
Hazelbank started the stronger, with good forward play from McClarty, Sheppard and Reid.
All Finns play was on the break with Adair and Parke working hard.
Kieran Reid opened the scoring on 15 minutes, McClarty laying the ball into his path, Reid coolly slipping it below Boyce in nets,
McCools responded well to this and equalised on 25 minutes, Parke firing in at the back post.
Colin McClarty restored Hazelbank’s lead soon after as Reid turned provider beating three players and chipping for Colin to head home.
Hazelbank continued to press, Sheppard and Reid both went close, before Sheppard got the third on 40 minutes, Colin played him through, similar to the first, Nigel poked into the bottom corner.
Hazelbank continued to press in the second half, Mark Crawford went close, James Diver was getting more involved in the game making good runs from the right, before Sheppard fired in from the edge of the box from Crawford’s lay off.
Finns never gave in though and Steven Crawford had to be alert a string of corners forcing him to make two great saves, one point blank from Parke’s volley. Pete McAfee gave the hosts a chance with a thunder bolt of a strike from easily 25 yards, which big Crawford had no chance of stopping it.
Hazelbank slowed things down and seen out the remaining 15 minutes for a comfortable win. Man of the Match: Mark Boorman (Hazelbank).
Riverside Athletic 1 FC Macosquin 4
Riverside had set the pace in the league for much of this season but despite having home advantage were up against a confident Macosquin team, still unbeaten in the league since last October.
On paper this one should have been close but ended up being very one sided. Macosquin’s unanswered prayers were answered as the rout started when after some sloppy defending Liam McGuinness headed home from close range after some excellent work from Blackwood and Mearns.
The mighty Quins laid siege to the Riverside goal and had chance after chance to take the score to double figures. Decy McGahon made amends for his five misses from close range by scoring a great goal at the back post after determined battling from McGuinness.
With the score now 2-0 Macosquin continued to pour forward in search of a third. Some great footwork in midfield from Johny McLaughlin led to the next goal when the ginger assassin fed a great ball through to McGuinness who rounded the keeper to pass the ball into the net.
Riverside were beginning to wish that tomorrow would never come as the Quins tried to tie the game up before half time with Mearns proving a constant thorn in the side of the Riverside defence pushing forward and Thomas fortune teller Cambell working tirelessly on the right wing and Ian McClelland again leading the front line with a great strikers display just missing out on his finishing.
Again chance after chance was missed and it was a relief to the home side when the half time whistle went and the score only 3-0.
The thunder was starting to roll and the Riverside manager led the home team back into the dressing room for a right rollicking kicking the dressing room door on his way in and nearly taking it off its hinges. What was said must remain x rated but it did work as Riverside did come out the second half a different side. From the kick off Riverside pushed more men forward and started to create some chances of their own.
Their pressure paid off when Moore broke through to chip the Quins keeper with a classy finish. Riverside’s friends in low places were thin on the ground as their manager had few options on the bench and any thoughts that Riverside might claw their way back into the game were short lived as Macosquin continued to push forward for a fourth goal.
The Quins have been training extensively this season by working hard each morning in the gym, running on the beach and McClelland chasing sheep.
This fitness showed in the second half as the midfield worked tirelessly and the defence was flawless as Robinson, Stephen McLaughlin and Creswell were proving unbeatable and giving keeper Watkinson very little to do. They continued to push forward and eventually were awarded when Decy McGahon trapped the ball on his chest, dropped it onto his knee and cheekily lobbed the keeper from twenty yards for an amazing goal.
Macosquin were in full flow and standing outside the fire beside the river were trying in vain for number five when Cambell had an amazing run from his own box to the opposition box but narrowly missed. And also when after a great cross from Paddy Conway fell to Johnny McLaughlin he also has no luck in front of goal.
The whistle went ending a very exciting but slightly one sided match and with the Quins having Andrews, Gibson, Gareth Brooks and McCambridge all returning from injury in the next few days are in a bit of a predicament which team to field next week. Man of the Match: Mark Blackwood (FC Macosquin).
The Villagers 1 Macosquin Village 0
This derby match saw the welcome return of Colin Hutchison to action following injury.
Ivan Brown Kerr took the gloves for the home side and made great saves from the Macosquin attack throughout. The match was very open early on with McFarlane, Gamble, Dunn, Bradley and Ricky Pollock coming close for the home side and at the other end Brown Kerr was on top form to keep out Stewart amongst others for the visitors.
The second half was frantic to say the least with Ricky Pollock twice coming close and Brown Kerr again on top form, there was a five minute delay as Dunn and Morris clashed heads and we wish them well particularly young Morris.
When play resumed Stewart came close for Macosquin, but then on 80 minutes super sub William Gamble scored a sublime chip worthy to win any game.
The match became even more frantic with Ryan Pollock clearing off the line and Brown Kerr making a superb one handed save, at the other end Hamilton Gamble came close, but the result stayed the same and The Villagers won a hard earned but deserved three points. Man of the Match: David Pollock (The Villagers).
West Bann Athletic 2 Ballyrashane FC 2
West Bann Athletic played out a 2-2 draw with Ballyrashane.
Steven Docherty opened the scoring in the second minute with a well struck free kick. Ballyrashane equalised through Simpson and deservedly took the lead through Boyd to end the half Athletic 1-2 Ballyrashane.
Athletic pressed for most of the second half in search of an equaliser and got it through Lee West to set up an exciting last 20 minutes. Both teams tried but failed to grab a winner and the game ended all square with both teams feeling they could have got more than just a share of the points.
All at West Bann Athletic would like to pass on their sympathy to Jonny Mitchell on his recent family bereavement. Man of the Match: Aaron McClelland (Ballyrashane).
Somerset 0 Balnamore 0
This was a decent game from start to finish despite the score line.
Balnamore enjoyed the better of the play and nearly took the lead in the first half but Josie Kelly’s effort from distance hit the bar.
Somerset found the going tough up top but were solid themselves at the back from Barry McGonigle in particularly good form.
Near the end Madison thought he had given his team victory but his low shot cannoned off the post. Man of the Match: Joe Connor (Somerset).
Shield Fixtures for Saturday 12 March
Balnamore FC v Hazelbank Fulton Park
Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Macosquin Village Dunaghy
League Fixtures for Saturday 12 March
Ballyrashane v Somerset Ballysally 2
Coleraine Olympic v Taverners FC Rugby Avenue 1
FC Macosquin v Villagers FC Rugby Avenue 2
Finn McCool’s v West Bann Athletic Bushmills
Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Bertha’s FC Riada 2
Hillview FC v Riverside Athletic Crescent 3
Mountview FC v Brook Street Rugby Avenue 3