Only two games were played on Saturday as the other six failed to beat the heavy rain and were called off.
Indeed there was a shock in one of them and very nearly a shock in the other. The shock came in Ballymoney were The Taverners bounced back from last week’s defeat to Hillview by coming from behind to beat the same side and turn the form book upside down.
In the other game it took a last minute winner from Lee Biggart to give Berthas the points away to Brook Street.
Next week see’s the re-arranged Coleraine Social Club Shield Semi Final with Hillview meeting West Bann Athletic at Castlerock. Hillview will start off as favourites but West Bann are capable of beating any side on their day and will be up for this one.
Keep up to date with all the league goings on at www.htwl.leaguerepublic.com.
The Taverners 3 Hillview FC 3
With the Taverners welcoming the return of some players this was always going to prove a tougher encounter than the previous week. It was proving to be a tough battle with the away team having the better of the early encounters but the Taverners back row were proving hard
to break down.
It finally took a nicely taken free kick from Hutton to break the deadlock and put the away team in front on 20 minutes. The Taverners fought back and not to be outdone, Mooney struck a sweet free kick from 30 yards to bring the match level. The away team came straight back and within a few minutes a fiercely struck drive was well saved by Kinnaird, but the ball fell straight to McDonald who tapped in for Hillview to put them ahead 2-1 before the end of the half.
After the restart the Taverners, determined to get back in the game, pressed forward and finally got their reward when Kearns volleyed home from outside the box giving the keeper no chance. Both teams pressed for the winner and it was the Taverners who got the break though, when Man of the Match Mooney broke through the away defence and after a brilliant save from the keeper it was squared back to Mooney for a tap in.
Hillview came fighting back in the last 10 minutes and thought they had scored an equaliser only for it to be ruled out for a foul on the home keeper. Hillview then had Hutton sent off for a second yellow within the last few minutes as the Taverners held on for a well-deserved home win. Man of the Match: Cathal Mooney The (Taverners)
Brook Street 2 Berthas FC 3
The home team were looking for a big response after last week’s disappointment while the away side were looking to continue their long unbeaten run in the league. It was an even enough first half possession wise though Berthas had the clearer cut chances. Michael McLaughlin hit the post with a long distance free kick then moments later watched as his strike from distance grazed the outside of the post.
Morton then saved another strike from McLaughlin while Davidson nearly scored an own goal when he headed Patterson’s long throw onto the bar. Brook Street came back into it more and Curtis Boreland forced Elder into a save from a free kick and Lee McDonald tested the keeper from distance. Brook Street were forcing Berthas onto the back foot and took the lead when the away side failed to clear from a corner properly, Cully picked up the loose ball and swung in the cross which picked out Boreland, he controlled before coolly finishing past Elder. Berthas kept at it and Biggart forced another good save from Morton after being played in by Drake. Morton was proving hard to beat but Berthas finally drew level right at the end of the half when Drake picked out Caldwell in the box and the big man glanced a header into the back of the net. The second half was like the first with Berthas creating the better chances while Brook Street worked hard all round the pitch, with Tosh and McDonald always looking dangerous. Biggart then cracked a shot against the bar as the away side turned on the pressure.
It was Berthas who finally grabbed the third of the game when Caldwell headed McIlreavy’s free kick towards goal, Morton made the save but Biggart was on hand to do enough to head the ball into the back of the net. If Berthas though they had done enough to get the win, Brook Street had other ideas when moments later Tosh twisted and turned before surprising Berthas with a speculative shot from distance which beat Elder and nestled into the back of the net.
Indeed Brook Street had a great chance to take the lead when Tosh raced through on goal but McIlreavy made a fantastic effort to close down the space and make the block. Berthas were shocked but kept at in and grabbed the winner right at the death when Caldwell flicked on a long ball for Biggart to run onto and slide past Morton.
It was a tough one to swallow for Brook Street as they bounced back from last week with an excellent performance but it was the away side who took the points in the end up. Man of the Match: Lee Biggart (Berthas FC).