It’s tight at the top at the WBA, Glebe and Bertha’s all keep up winning ways

Ciaran Wilson closes down his FC Windyhall opponent.
Ciaran Wilson closes down his FC Windyhall opponent.

West Bann Athletic, Berthas FC and Glebe Rangers Old Boys kept up their three-way fight at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League as they all scored four in their victories at the weekend.

Hazelbank were the biggest winners of the day knocking eight past FC Windyhall, while Finn McCools also picked up a good win at home to Brook Street. The Taverners and Dunaghy Old Boys drew in a rare scoreless draw, while FC Crusaders were narrow winners over Coleraine Olympic.

Ballyrashane FC 1 West Bann Athletic 4

WBA met Ballyrashane at Rugby Avenue expecting three points after the previous week’s avalanche of goals, however Ballyrashane had other ideas! The visitors took the lead with 20 minutes on the clock through Aaron Mclelland. Kurt Wilson made it 2-0 on the half hour when presented with the opportunity by Lee Nevin.

Ballyrashane came out second half determined to get back into the game and were rewarded early on with Steven Bradley finishing well to make it 2-1 with 35 minutes to go in the game. Ballyrashane looked the more likely to score the next goal with veteran Davy Campbell causing all sorts of problems, however it was to be WBA’s Lee Nevin who scored the all important next goal to make it 3-1 and his 19th goal of the season into the bargain.

Martin Robinson made the points safe late on for WBA finishing well from 12 yards out. Jamie Allen nearly made it five, however his shot crashed off the crossbar to safety. Man of the Match: Davy Campbell (Ballyrashane)

Balnamore FC 1 Berthas FC 4

Berthas travelled to Balnamore looking to get back to winning ways after a home loss last week. However it was the home team that started the brighter and had some half chances, but the defence of Macauley, Diamond, Hoey and Pollock stood strong and Berthas began to come into the game as the half wore on, with Gaile patrolling the midfield for the away team.

The second half began with Berthas well on top and it was the away team who struck first with Willie Stewart finishing after great build up play between him and Lee Biggart. Berthas scored again after brilliant build up play between the front two saw Stewart beat the keeper for his second of the game.

Balnamore were reduced to 10 men and the away team forged further ahead when MacAuley beat the keeper from the penalty spot. The home side then scored what proved to be a mere consolation for themselves from the penalty spot. Berthas scored the last goal of the game and probably the best when a chipped through ball from Caldwell was met by Macauley steaming forward from the ball who coolly beat the home keeper to make it 4-1 and a comfortable away victory for the Berthas. Man of the Match: Willie Stewart (Berthas FC)

The Villagers 0 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 4

Glebe Old Boys returned to Castlerock hoping to avoid a repeat of their previous visit. In the one change from last week’s starting line-up ‘Midget’ Patterson returned in place of DJ McBride whilst James Steele returned to the bench after his recent injury lay-off. Taking advantage of a strong wind Glebe immediately went on the offensive and took the lead when Les Nicholl volleyed home after a Patterson corner.

Gary Fulton had an opportunity to continue his recent scoring streak but somehow managed to completely miss the target with a header. The Old Boys continued to press and Nicholl produced a piece of magic to make it two with a delightful overhead kick.

Having been under the cosh until now, the Villagers began to push forward with Ryan Pollock and Shirlow figuring prominently. However Allen was relatively untroubled and it was man of the match Nicholl who completed his hat-trick and the first half scoring with a neat finish after good work by Elder.

With the elements in their favour the Villagers made a positive start to the second period and the Glebe defence, with the hirsute Kyle conspicuous, were forced to withstand some heavy pressure. The Old Boys remained dangerous on the break bit were unable to add to their tally until Stephen Elder, resplendent in new footwear, finished with aplomb after a fine pass from Patterson.

The Villagers, who never stopped running throughout, continued to push forward but a long range effort from Wilson which struck the bar the closest they came to a deserved consolation. Man of the Match: Les Nicholl (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys players, officials and supporters would like to extend their deepest sympathies to Stephen Elder and his partner Nicole on their recent bereavement.

Hazelbank FC 8 FC Windyhall 0

Hazelbank made it back-to-back wins with an excellent performance against FC Windyhall at Rugby Avenue. The hosts had the better of the opening 20 minutes but despite dominating possession they couldn’t find a goal. The opener finally arrived on 31 minutes after a storming run down the left by Marty McCrory who teed up Colin McClarty for a close range finish.

It stayed that way until two minutes after the restart when James Penny crossed for McClarty to slot home. James made it 3-0 on 55 minutes finishing off another good Hazelbank move. The visitors were struggling to get a foothold but Stephen Donnell was still a threat. It took a great save from Steven Crawford to deny Donnell and keep the home side’s three goal advantage intact.

Hazelbank weren’t finished the scoring though. McClarty completed his hat-trick on 75 minutes before Ciaran Wilson grabbed his first of the game with a smart finish. Wayne Davidson and Johnny McIlreavy also got in on the act before Wilson completed the scoring with the eighth right on full time, as he crashed a pile driver in off the cross bar. Man of the Match: Ciaran Wilson (Hazelbank)

Finn McCools 6 Brook Street 0

Both teams started the game well with Brook Street pushing Finns onto the back foot early on due to playing a very high line in defence. The first half seemed very even until 10 minutes before half time when a back pass by Brook Street resulted in a goalkeeping error which allowed J Parke to slot home Finns first.

Into the second half and again Finns were on the back foot early on due to intense pressure by Brook Street, but Finns played on the break and a long ball played over the top by Ian Parke resulted in a hand ball by Brook Street’s centre half who received his second yellow of the day.

With Brook Street now down to ten men Finns put the pressure on and scored their second when Chris Boyd went through one on one and calmly slotted home. Brook Street were now throwing caution to the wind and pushing men forward but Finns scored their third with a neat finish from P McAfee.

The fourth goal soon followed with again good build up play from Finns resulting in McAfee getting his second of the day. With Ten minutes remaining A Taylor made an appearance and had an instant impact going through one on one and side footing home from eight yards. With time nearly up R McCook came up from left back and shot low and hard to get Finns sixth of the day. Man of the Match: Peter McAfee (Finn McCools)