HUTCHINSON TILES: No change at the top

Its getting like a broken record in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League this season with Glebe Rangers and Hillview continuing to set the pace at the top of the league, both teams keeping up their 100% records with wins over FC Windyhall and Ballyrashane respectively.

Berthas FC moved up to third place with a late come from behind victory to beat West Bann Athletic. Mountview and Balnamore recorded a stalemate in their game with Hazelbank recording a good win over FC Macosquin. In the remaining games there was victories for Dunaghy Old Boys, The Villagers and Brook Street.

This Saturday sees the quarter finals of the Coleraine Social Club Shield take place with the tie of the round at Castlerock behind second place Hillview and third place Berthas. The home team are in a good run of form at present but Hillview have beat all before them this season and will start off this one as favourites. Glebe Rangers and Hazelbank face tough opposition against Balnamore and Dunaghy Old Boys while West Bann should see off the challenge of Ballyrashane in the remaining game.

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 4 FC Windyhall 2

A Glebe team made the return to their spiritual home of Megaw Park on Saturday as the Old Boys entertained Windyhall in the reverse league fixture. Ronnie Reilly made a return at left back for Glebe with the experienced Mervyn Greer resuming his central midfield role. Jason Wilmont also started having recovered from a troublesome ankle injury. A much-changed Windyhall team took the field and provided a far stiffer test than the last time these two sides met.

The Old Boys took time to settle and Bradley fired past DJ McBride as Windyhall opened brightly. Caughey was impressive throughout providing an excellent outlet for the visitors and the home defence had to be on their toes to deal with this threat. Wilmont, Nicholl and Madison went close as the Old Boys began to exert pressure on a defence well-marshalled by seasoned campaigner Lyle Crawford but despite some neat build-up play nothing could get past Newman.

In fact it was route one football which led to the deadlock being broken when a long punt from Bellingham dropped nicely for Wilmont to volley in from close range. Two minutes later Les Nicholl notched, slotting home a Bellingham knock-back from Wilmont’s corner to leave the half-time score two-nil to the Old boys. The second half was only seven minutes old when Johnston pulled one back for Windyhall with the home defence all at sea. Encouraged by this the visitors pushed forward but, despite their pressure, they failed to seriously trouble McBride.

The enigmatic Ivan Elder was introduced to the fray as the Old Boys sought to re-establish control but it was Ricky Blair who struck next as he rifled home off the crossbar to give the home team some breathing space. Ronnie Reilly then scored his first goal for the Glebe when his well-disguised shot deceived Newman. Back came Windyhall a minute later when indecisiveness by goal-keeper McBride left Caughey with a deserved goal to make the final score four-two to the Old Boys. Man of the Match: Ricky Blair (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Hillview FC 6 Ballyrashane FC 2

The home side opened the scoring on six minutes through Lee Nevin but they were pegged back soon after as Lee Gray headed in from a corner. Raymond McCrellis though made it 2-1 on 20 minutes before Paul Friel added a third. They were again pegged back before the break though as Alan Freeman took advantage of another McVey error. Hillview dominated the second half but they didn’t score again until the 74th minutes as Hutton converted from the spot. Archibald came off the bench to make it five before Ryan Sweeney wrapped up the scoring. Man of the Match: Cary Evangelista (Hillview FC)

Berthas FC 2 West Bann Athletic 1

In a hard fought game by both sides at Castlerock, it was the visitors who took the lead when a free kick picked out Luke Bacon, who had time to control before hammering the ball into the back of the net. Berthas took forever to get going with the West Bann defence coping easily with anything they had to offer. Berthas first chance of the game came with Pollock found himself in space but he couldn’t find the target when well placed.

The second half was much the same, with both teams having half chances but neither keeper being particularly troubled until Elder made an excellent save to keep his team in the game. With the game entering the later stages, Berthas made a couple of attacking changes and McGarvey rattled the bar moments later. West Bann chose to sit back and paid for this with five minutes to go, Berthas scoring a quick fire double.

It was ‘Hatchet’ McIllreavy who proved the game changer, first of all slipping in ‘Swag’ McLaughlin who rounded the keeper who shoot home. Two minutes later, after a crunching challenge by Hoey at back, who then found McIlreavy, he put Pollock in the clear and the winger made up for his earlier effort by chipping the ball over the advancing Jones. West Bann barely had time to mount an attack and it was Berthas who stole the points at the death. Man of the Match: Mathew McCandless & David Hunter (West Bann Athletic)

Balnamore FC 0 Mountview FC 0

A strong solid performance by both sides in this game produced no goals. Mountview opened the livelier but as the game settled Balnamore started to impose themselves. Both teams played good football but couldn’t seem to get a break through. Frazer’s volley for Mountview early on went well wide and Ciaran Doherty’s turn and shot brushed only inches over the cross bar. The home side tested the Mountview keeper with long range efforts from P Hanna and S Hogg.

The game however came to life five minutes from the break, Doherty was brought down in the area by Balnamore stopper J Elder, but the big man redeemed himself with an excellant save from Parson’s spot kick. The second half was more of the same with few clear goalscoring oppurtunities. Both defences kept it tight. With the midfield men of both sides locked in a hard but fair physical battle. Willis hit a sweet free kick for the Coleraine men, but again drifted just over. And for Balnamore, sub B McLaughlin watched agonisingly as his effort curled past the post with the last kick of the game. Man of the Match: Nicky Tweed (Balnamore)

Hazelbank FC 2 FC Macosquin 1

A good contest played with a competitive edge which saw Hazelbank come from one down to take all three points. Hazelbank edged the attempts in the first half with Shepherd, Wilson and McIlreavy all going close, Tosh making two smart saves from Shepperd. Macosquin punished Hazelbank for these misses by going in at the break one goal to the good, Noel Downs firing in a smashing shot from a direct free kick into the top right hand corner giving Crawford no chance.

Hazelbank came out off the traps sharper in the secondnd half, Sheppard got the teams level with a smart turn and shot low past Tosh’s hand. The keeper was called into action five minutes later, Sheppard again going close with a header, Tosh saving well. Ciaran Wilson put Hazelbank in front, converting Sheppard’s lay off to slot into the net. Macosquin pushed hard for the equaliser with Hemphill and Campbell going close from long distance. Man of the Match: Brian Alcorn (Hazelbank)

Finn McCools 0 Dunaghy Old Boys 2

Both sides cancelled each other out in the first half. Dunaghy should have broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart but Moore missed from eight yards. A Blair did put the Old Boys one up when he volleyed a good cross from M Blair jr past Finns despairing keeper. It went from end to end but on 81 minutes A Blair got his and Dunaghy’s second when Graham’s pass was latched onto 25 yards out and his low drive skidded below finns outstretched keeper. I Blair almost made it three when his thunderous strike crashed of the crossbar. Man of the Match: Arnie Blair (Dunaghy Old Boys)

Coleraine Olympic 2 The Villagers 6

The Villagers started this game with a bang as Richard Steele and Ryan Shirlow had them two up with only four minutes gone. Olympic hit back though. Greer hit the bar. It was the visitors who struck the woodwork as MacFarlane’s effort came back off the post. On 61 minutes it was good night Olympic when Lee Wilson made it 3-0 with a left foot finish from the 18 yard line. Three became four when Wilson finshed with his right this time.

Duffy made it five with a back post header following a free-kick. Olympic didn’t deserve this scoreline but did pull a goal back through Wetherall on 78 minutes. Young Stuart Parke celbrated his 18th with a fine finish for 6-1. Olympic then scored a great goal which include a Zidane turn, perfect cross and deft finish from Garvin. Man of the Match: Davy Pollock (The Villagers)

The Taverners 1 Brook Street 3

On a crisp Saturday morning brook street headed to Ballymoney looking to change the slump they had went on the past few weeks. The break through for Brook Street came on 15 minutes with a corner from the left from the returning Joel McDonald and the finish from James Tosh via his face. With the lead came hope that this would settle them down, chances came and went for both sides after this in the same manor prior to the first goal until on 25 minutes a cross on the right from goalscorer Tosh returned the favour from McDonald who cooled slotted a left foot shot from 16 yards into the top right corner.

The second half started with the Taverners on top, but they were reduced to 10 men shortly after the restart. The hosts scored next though with 12 minutes to go to set up a tense finish. It was Brook Street though who wrapped the game up on 85 minutes as Martin Smith made it 3-1. Man of the Match: James Tosh (Brook Street)