With Hillview inactive, Glebe Rangers took the chance to go clear at the top of the league with a comfortable win away to a depleted FC Windyhall.
Balnamore and West Bann Athletic fought out a 2-2 draw while FC Macosquin and Brook Street also shared the points. Berthas FC and Hazelbank FC both had wins, albeit much less comfortable than they had hoped while The Taverners picked up a much needed three points at home to Ballyrashane.
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FC Windyhall 0 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 9
Glebe Old Boys travelled to Rugby Avenue Playing Fields for this league fixture on Saturday morning. A severely depleted home side took the field with only ten men whilst the visitors had Adam Clarke and Mervyn Greer returning and the recently retired Colin McBride reversing his decision to hang up the boots.
A welcome addition for the Old Boys was new signing Ronnie Reilly who enjoyed a sparkling debut at right back. With a man advantage the Old Boys were on top throughout the first half but were denied by the hard working Windyhall defence until midway through the half when Colin McBride slotted home after a fine four man move.
This was quickly followed by the second scored by Ryan Maddison who capitalised on a miscued clearance before shooting past Parke. Windyhall had a good chance but late call-up DJ McBride saved well from Sweeney. Just before the half ended Ivan Elder made it three with a fine finish from a Clarke through ball.
The second half followed the pattern of the first as the ten men strove manfully to keep the Old Boys at bay. Despite the best efforts of Crawford and co. in defence Maddison scored his second after fine work by Elder. Manager Ian Bellingham rang the changes giving the hard working Reilly, McCurdy and McBride a break and introducing Nicholl, Stewart and Chinny Blair to the action.
Man of the match Maddison completed a four goal haul with a quick-fire double before Ivan Elder notched his second of the day as the one man advantage began to tell. The substitutes then took centre stage as Aaron Stewart scored his first goal in three years closely followed by a superb solo effort from Blair to end the scoring for the day. Windyhall continued to press to the end but were unable to breach the Old Boys defence. Man of the Match: Ryan Maddison (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
Balnamore FC 2 West Bann Athletic 2
This was the big game of the day between two teams who have performed well this season and are sitting at the top end of the table. It was the away side who settled the quicker and they took the lead 20 minutes in when Martin Pancott got the important touch after a scramble in the box. They quickly doubled their lead with an excellent strike from young Aaron McClelland.
Balnamore hit back quickly when Phillip Hanna headed home Sean Hogg’s cross at the back post. The game ebbed and flowed with Pancott and McClelland excellent in the West Bann midfield with Lee Kelly and David McDowell the stand out Balnamore players. West Bann were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half but battled on manfully, looking like they would take the points until Hogg ran clean through in the 90 minute to grab his team an equaliser. The away side finished the game with eight men but still done enough to grab a point. Man of the Match: Nicky Tweed (Balnamore)
Berthas FC 3 Coleraine Olympic 0
On paper the home team would have been looking like easy winners in this game with Olympic having struggled all season shipping a lot of goals in the process. This was not the case as Berthas were a shadow of the side who won the previous week with Olympic players quicker to the ball and working harder off.
The away side nearly took the lead in the first half, with Garvin’s well struck shot going wide of the post, with stand in keeper Chris Patterson well beaten. Berthas had a lot of the possession but failed to create anything meaningful though McIllreavy hit the post and Doherty saved well from McLaughlin and Edgar while Caldwell had a header cleared off the line. At the other end, McCaughan had a shot cleared off the line by MacAulay.
The second half was similar to the first with Berthas controlling possession though it was Olympic who nearly took the lead when Greer’s shot from distance clipped the bar. Berthas did take the lead when MacAulay picked out Caldwell, ‘Swag’ McLaughlin latched onto his flick before sliding the ball past Doherty. Olympic then nearly equalised when a slick passing move resulted in Garvin watching his shot from outside the box crack the inside of the post before being cleared to safety.
Berthas took this to their advantage and doubled their lead when Caldwell again flicked on for McLaughlin and he rounded the keeper to score. This deflated Olympic somewhat and Doherty made a number of good saves, one in particular from Edgar who had he scored would have been contender for goal of the season.
Berthas grabbed their third with McLaughlin getting the hat-trick when he sauntered past four challenges before hammering the ball past Doherty. A much improved performance from Olympic who if they keep this level of commitment up, will surely improve in the months to come. Man of the Match: Michael McLaughlin (Berthas FC)
FC Macosquin 1 Brook Street 1
Macosquin have been really struggling to get 11 players on the pitch this season due to injuries and suspensions. They were up against a very determined and well organised Brook Street who have really turned themselves around since last season under Stevie Friel.
It was Macosquin who were attacking from the start and had numerous chances to take the lead but their failure to convert their chances paid dearly as Brook Street played perfect counterattacking football and after some clever wing work Tosh was at hand to give Brook Street the lead.
FC continued to attack but at every attempt on goal they found Brook Street keeper McAllister in fine form. The pressure eventually paid off as after a goalmouth scramble Ginger McLaughlin was at hand to strike towards goal to level the match. The second half was much of the same with Macosquin pouring forward but again McAllister was in great form and was saving everything.
Despite the pressure Brook street kept calm at the back and defended well and played some great football on the break. The last ten minutes was a very hectic affair with chances wasted or saved for Macosquin.
The third goal was not about to happen and despite Macosquin feeling they threw away three points a draw was a very fair result for the fight, discipline and defending that Brook street demonstrated. Half of the Macosquin team now head off to the priory for some neuron rehabilitation and drying out. Man of the Match: Peter McAllister (Brook Street)
Hazelbank FC 3 Finn McCools 2
Finn McCools started the better of the two team and Parke had a couple of efforts just over the bar. Hazelbank soon settled and were playing their passing game with Smith and Drake prominent in midfield. Hazelbank went ahead on the half hour when Wilson released the overlapping McCrory and his cross was met by the in rushing Sheppard with a bullet of a header at the back post,( a bit of a collectors item is a Sheppy header), and that’s how it remained until half time.
Finns were sharp out of the blocks in the second half and were level after two minutes, a long ball out from defence found Parke just about onside he coolly rounded Crawford to put the game level. This goal sparked Hazelbank into life and they started to play their best football of the game and it was no surprise that they soon went in front when McClarty finally got on the end of one of Wilson’s brilliant crosses to head past the stranded keeper.
Two soon became three when Sheppard got on the end of a Wilson cut back to blast in a shot off the cross bar and put some daylight between the teams. Finn McCools never gave up and kept attacking at every opportunity and when Kelly misjudged a header the ball dropped back over Crawford and his efforts to clear resulted in a coming together with Parke and the referee pointed to the spot and Mcafee made no mistake. Hazelbank held on for the last minute to record a fine win against a much improved Finn McCools. Man of the Match: Nigel Sheppard (Hazelbank FC)
The Taverners 4 Ballyrashane FC 0
With both teams fighting for points this match set to be a thrilling game. It wasn’t too long before the first name was to go onto the score card when in the seventh minute the ball fell for David (Brent) Dobbin on the edge of the Ballyrashane box and was struck with his opposite foot into the top right hand corner.
Ballyrashane weren’t going to take this lying down and took the game to the Taverners only to be left frustrated with the Taverners defence denied any chances they had of scoring. With the Taverners midfield working tirelessly with Mark Connolly taking it upon himself to break Ballyrashane’s defence and striking from fifteen yards out and hitting the crossbar and with the ever present Rodney (Trotter) Doherty getting the tap in on the twenty-second minute.
The game started back after the break with the Taverners with there tails up but Ballyrashane’s defence held strong. The third goal came though with Doherty beating his man and placing the ball around the keeper in the sixty-third minute. Taverners were carrying no subs and with the players feeling stretched but showing a lot of fighting spirit it took Alex Workman to battle his way forward and to beat his man and squeeze the ball into the bottom corner in the eightieth minute to give Taverners a much needed and well deserved win. Man of the Match: Rodney Doherty (The Taverners)
Saturday 22 September
Villagers FC v Taverners FC Castlerock (KO 10:30AM)
Ballyrashane v Windyhall FC Rugby Avenue 4
Brook Street v Mountview FC Crescent 3
Coleraine Olympic v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Rugby Avenue 2
Finn McCool’s v Hillview FC Bushmills
Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Hazelbank Riada 2
West Bann Athletic v FC Macosquin Rugby Avenue 1