JUNIOR FOOTBALL: UP FOR THE CUP

Mountview will play Hazelbank in the final of this years Hutchinson Tiles Knockout Cup after Saturdays semi finals.

Paul Simpson’s men reached their second final of the season with a tough victory against The Villagers. It now means that the ‘Coleraine’ men are on for the League, Cup and Shield treble as they are currently sitting second in the league, a point behind Glebe Rangers but with a game in hand.

Hazelbank progressed with a good win at home to West Bann Athletic and will be hoping for a better outcome in the final this year having lost out in last years final.

In the league, Glebe Rangers returned to the top with a good win at home to Macosquin Village, which all but ends the hopes of a title for the Macosquin Village players. Elsewhere, there was wins for FC Macosquin, Balnamore and Berthas.

This Saturday plays host to the final of the Shield Competition, which will be contested by the leagues top two, Mountview and Glebe Rangers Old Boys. Mountview have narrowly had the edge with their head to head visits this year but only just.

Glebe’s big match experience may prove vital here but Mountview continue to do the business week in week out so this one is a real 50/50 call.

In the race for the N&N Trophies Golden Boot, Macosquin Village player Donald Newton leads the way with a whooping 48 goals. His nearest rival, James Steele has 36 so it looks like ‘Dooby’ will be picking up boot this year.

The games are still coming thick and fast in the league so keep up to date with the latest news at www.htwl.leaguerepublic.com

Mountview FC 4 The Villagers 1

What a season its turning out to be for the home side. With a place in the Shield final already in the bag and results during the week going in their favour regarding their league campaign, Mountview came to this match in buoyant mood.

However, with several key players missing, the home side knew this was not going to be an easy affair. The visitors went on the offensive straight from the kick off. Their positive opening was rewarded after only 10 minutes, when McFarlane took full advantage of Friel’s long clearance. The home defence allowed the ball to bounce and the striker nipped in to place the ball past McLaughlin and give his side the lead.

The visitors continued to dominate as the home continued to struggle to gain a foothold in the match. With 25 minutes played the sides were level, after Pollock brought Parsons down in the box. The striker picked himself up before dispatching the resulting penalty in the bottom corner.

This gave the home side a much needed lift and gradually they started to impose themselves more. However, neither keeper was to be tested again before the interval.

The second half saw the game continue in the same vein as the first had ended, with both sides trying to gain an advantage. However, both defences were dominant and neither side created any clear chances. Midway through the half the introduction of Crawford was to change the game in favour of the home side.

Five minutes after coming on, Walkers’ cross field pass found Crawford at the back post. The midfielder controlled the ball brilliantly before passing inside to Martin who slotted home.

The visitors now threw men forward, as they went in search of an equaliser. Unfortunately, this was to leave gaps at the back which were to be exposed by the pace of Wills and Martin.

It was from an attack from the visitors that Mountview extended their lead. With the move breaking down on the edge of the box, Johnston thumped the ball forward in the direction of Martin. Friel raced off his line in an attempt to beat the winger to the ball. However, Martin got their first and lifted the ball over the keeper and into the empty net.

This took the wind out of the visitors and the home side finally put the result beyond doubt, when Wills cut in from the right before firing low into the corner giving Friel no chance. Man of the Match: Johnny Martin (Mountview)

Hazelbank FC 3 West Bann Athletic 0

Hazelbank were determined to make amends after losing last week’s shield semi final and make it through to their third cup final in as many years. But they were always going to be up against it with West Bann in great form of late. The visitors took the early impetus with Pancott and McClelland getting the upper hand, and McClelland came close to breaking the deadlock with a shot from outside the area.

The Hazelbank defence soaked it up well though and they began to get a foothold on the game. McClarty should have opened the scoring but he shot just wide on 15 minutes. The breakthrough arrived on the half hour mark as Ciaran Wilson split the defence with a great pass for James Diver who coolly slotted past Jones.

West Bann went for it at the start of the second half but they were leaving gaps at the back. From one break away Hazelbank picked up a free kick which Diver expertly curled into the far corner. The visitors almost reduced the deficit immediately when McClelland fired a shot off the post, but Crawford reacted well to grab the rebound with Holmes closing in.

As West Bann pressed they were caught on the break again as Wilson and McClarty teed up Diver to complete his hat-trick.

Man of the Match: James Diver (Hazelbank)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 6 Macosquin Village 3

These two rivals locked horns in their final meeting of the season at a sunny Joey Dunlop Stadium on Saturday morning. After three games in five days the Old Boys were showing signs of wear and tear and, with a glut of injuries in the camp, a number of players were forced to take to the field despite not being at 100% fitness.

Mervyn Greer replaced party animal DJ McBride with Ivan Elder coming in for Colin McBride in the two enforced changes from Wednesday night. A very youthful Macosquin Village started with the two exceptions of old stagers Stewart and McDowell. The visitors set out their stall from the off as, straight from kick-off Stewart played in Biggart who tested home custodian Rab McCombe. This pattern continued and it was no surprise when John Doherty put Macosquin one up after four minutes.

Back came the Old Boys and after Steele had been impeded McCurdy drew the scores level from the penalty spot. The visitors retained the upper hand and the lively Biggart made it 2-1 with a neat finish after Kyle fell over. Just before half-time big Chinny Blair drew the scores level again with a powerful header from a Holmes corner. The second half saw the Old Boys repeat their opponents start to the first with Steele scoring within two minutes after the Village failed to deal with a Davy Walker corner.

A similar malaise saw Darren Stewart make it three apiece after McCombe failed to collect a free-kick from latecomer ‘Midget’ Patterson who had joined the fray at half-time. The scoring continued with Steele nodding home after good work by Jason Wilmont although controversy surrounded this goal as the ball appeared to have gone out of play in the build-up. However the decision was not given and Steele made no mistake. Further strikes by Davy Walker, the first from long range, and the second when he ran on to a Wilmont through ball before slotting past Tosh, sealed the game for the Old Boys. Man of the Match: Mervyn Greer (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Brook Street 3 FC Macosquin 9

The Crescent on Saturday was like the lodge roundabout traffic lights, with so many red and amber colours flashing every ten minutes. Although Brook street scored 3, Macosquin scored 9 the referee was definitely the winner with 10 cards.

After all the cards and sending off’s were complete in between three goals for Brook street and a peach of a free kick from Joel McDonald, McGuinness scored a hat-trick for Macosquin, McGahon had to copy his big mate and did the same, Downs lost count after scoring two and Watson went for quality and not quantity and scored one. Man of the Match: Noel Downs (FC Macosquin)

Ballyrashane FC 1 Balnamore FC 2

Balnamore made heavy work of this game, although dominating for most of the ninety minutes. Chances came and went for the visitors early in the first half but credit to Newman in the Ballyrashane goal who pulled off numerous saves. However it was the home side who took the lead midway through the half from a set piece, a free kick whipped in by Glass from just out side the box caused confusion and some how found its way through a sea of players and into the net.

Balnamore came forward at will but were always thwarted by the excellent Newman. After the break Balnamore stepped up the tempo and started to control the game and soon leveled. Noel Halliday’s in swinging corner was met by a powerful header from Nicky Tweed who made no mistake from six yards to score. Balnamore kept the pressure on as they looked for a winner and it eventually came late on, Charlie Blair’s free kick from just out side the area out foxed the Ballyrashane defence and beat the keeper to score and secure the points for Balnamore. Man of the Match: Ernie Freeman (Ballyrashane)

Berthas FC 4 Finn McCools 1

The home team started this one the brighter and found themselves two goals to the good after the first 20 minutes. They got their first in the fifth minute when Chris Patterson’s long throw was headed straight back out to the player who controlled before drilling the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot from a tight angle.

The same player then nearly grabbed a second but Henderson pushed his long range strike over the bar. They got their second on the 18th minute when MacAulay’s in swinging corner found the back of the net. This seemed to kick start the away side and they quickly pulled one back when McCook slipped in Ali Dobbin and the big man fired low past Elder.

Both sides had half chances with Dobbin and Watton shooting over with Parsons and Caldwell missing the target for Berthas. There was also strong defending at the back from Berthas’ Hoey and Finn McCools’ McCook. The big turning point of the game came 15 minutes into the second half when Finns broke quickly from a corner and Dobbin found himself one-on-one with Cochrane who had replaced Elder in nets. As the big striker reached the box he was brought down by Wallace with the away team screaming for a penalty and a sending off. The ref adjudged the tackle to have been outside the box and only opted to give a yellow card having felt Berthas had cover.

From the resulting free kick, Dobbin’s excellent strike rattled the bar and was cleared to safety. Berthas breathed a sigh of relief and increased their lead when Parsons powered into the box, his shot was saved but Caldwell was on hand to tap home the rebound. Berthas pushed on for more with Pollock and Edgar going close while at the other end Cochrane saved well from McAfee.

Nearing the end of the game and the home team grabbed their fourth with the best goal of the game. Parsons won the ball in the midfield, exchanged passes with Pollock before finding the advancing Wallace. He slipped in Caldwell who fired low across the goal and into the net for his 23rd of the season. Man of the Match: Willie Parsons (Berthas)

Saturday 5 May

Brook Street v Somerset Crescent 3

Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Macosquin Village Dunaghy

FC Macosquin v Hillview FC Rugby Avenue 2

West Bann Athletic v Hazelbank Rugby Avenue 1

C Mountview FC v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Anderson Park Knockout Shield Final 2pm