West Bann Athletic, Glebe Rangers Old Boys, Portrush Old Boys and FC Crusaders all made the semi-final of the Coleraine Social Club Knockout Shield after Saturday’s quarter finals.
West Bann Athletic had a good win over Dunaghy Old Boys, Glebe Rangers OB routed Coleraine Olympic, Portrush OB took the spoils over Hazelbank while FC Crusaders saw off the challenge of The Taverners. In the league, Berthas FC moved joint top with victory over Brook Street while Balnamore and The Villagers both had good wins over Ballyrashane and Finn McCools respectively.
West Bann Athletic 6 Dunaghy Old Boys 1
Holders West Bann Athletic progressed to the semi final of the Coleraine Social Club Challenge Shield defeating Dunaghy Old Boys FC 6-1. Athletic made a dream start with Lee Nevin scoring a hat trick in the first three minutes of the game! Athletic made it 4-0 in the 24th minute of the game through Phil Stevenson.
Dunaghy scored in the first minute of the second half and took heart from this, as for the next 15 minutes they started to push for a second goal and give them hope of a comeback. Dunaghy won a penalty on the hour however ‘Chin’ Blair blasted wildly over the bar to keep the score 4-1 to the hosts. This seemed to be a wake up call for Athletic as they pushed on in the final part of the game scoring another two goals through Martin Fleming and Martin Pancott to leave it 6-1 at the final whistle to set up a semi final with Portrush Old Boys in the new year. Man of the Match: Lee Nevin (WBA FC)
Coleraine Olympic 0 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 14
These two sides locked horns again in the Cup quarter-final having met in a league encounter the previous week. Both teams lined up along familiar lines with the Old Boys retaining the same starting line-up for the first time this season. Glebe started strongly and Les Nicholl scored early on to settle any nerves. James Steele had the chance to make it two but was denied from the penalty spot by a fine Doherty save, one of many the stopper produced on the day.
However, Steele did not let this miss deter him as he made it two shortly after from a fine cross by McCurdy. As the half progressed further strikes from Holmes, Nicholl and Steele made the interval score 5-0 to the visitors. The Old Boys kept up the pressure in the second period as Elder went close with a series of increasingly desperate efforts. Fulton and Holmes added to the score-line and Steele, in a return to the old days, took his personal tally to eight as Glebe ran out convincing winners. Credit should be given to Olympic who battled throughout and with a bit of good fortune could have notched on a number of occasions. Man of the Match: James Steele Glebe Rangers Old Boys
FC Crusaders 4 The Taverners 1
An intense opening quarter began with a spell of Crusaders pressure and a succession of corners, which resulted in the opening goal courtesy of Johnny McLaughlin’s powerful header. Crusaders controlled the remainder of the half despite the hard work from a tough Taverners team. Taverners however, came back in to the game with a goal following a mix up in the so far exemplary Crusaders defence, marshalled by the imperious Ali Newton.
Taverners initiated the second half battle and attacked Crusaders, who temporarily struggled with their organisation and shape and were showing signs of nerves. After 60 minutes Crusaders’ high intensity passing game finally took hold of the fixture and two fine moves were both finished superbly by Ian ‘Sparky’ McClelland, who before the game was by his own admission feeling ‘worse for wear’. Crusaders continued to attack and found another goal from midfield when Stephen McCrory stole the ball from his opposite number and ran through unchallenged to finish well and score his third goal in two fixtures against the Taverners. Man of the Match: Ian McClelland (FC Crusaders)
Portrush Old Boys 3 Hazelbank FC 1
The game started with both sides seeing their fair share of the ball. However, it was Portrush who took the lead in the 14th minute when good work by Martin on the right crossed for Shirlow to strike only to see his effort blocked and Daryll Wills follow up to curl the ball in off the post for the opener. McClarty had a great opportunity to level the game but blasted over with only the keeper to beat.
Portrush started the second half well and were rewarded when Keith Wills scored their second with a superb individual goal ghosting past the Hazelbank defence before smashing an unstoppable shot high into the net. Portrush effectively ended the contest in the 63rd minute when Wallace rose to meet a corner from Doherty and head into the net, but to their credit Hazelbank pushed on and McIlreavy scored an outstanding individual goal, skipping past a defender to launch an effort from thirty yards which sailed past the Portrush keeper and into the back of the net. Man of the Match: Gareth Kerr (Portrush OB)
Brook Street FC 3 Berthas FC 4
These two teams met a couple of weeks ago with Berthas winning by the odd goal despite dominating for most of the game and this game proved a carbon copy of the first. The away team were on the front foot from the off and created a number of chances with Kane in excellent form in the Brook Street goal, making saves from Biggart, Stewart, Pollock and one particular noteable save from MacAulay. Berthas finally took the lead when Hanna found McLaughlin in space, he rounded his man before firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Kane made another outstanding save from Stewart’s header. When Kane was beaten, Campbell was on hand to clear the danger. Brook Street kept plugging away and got on level terms when McDowell turned well and watched his shot loop over Elder and into the net. Berthas regained the lead in the second half when neat play from Biggart and Stewart put the latter in the clear and he slipped the ball into the back of the net. Berthas got their third when Stewart repaid the favour to his strike partner, slipping in Biggart and he made no mistake in scoring.
Their fourth came from the spot when McLaughlin was brought down, MacAulay it was who sent Kane the wrong way. Berthas nearly got a fifth but McVey cleared off the line. Berthas emptied the bench thinking it was job done and their nearly paid for this in the last 10 minutes. Nigel Bacon headed home from a corner on 85 and a couple of minutes later, Boreland tapped home after Elder pushed McDowell’s clever shot onto the bar. Brook Street pushed forward for an equaliser but Berthas held out for the three points. Man of the Match: Nigel Bacon (Brook Street)
Balnamore FC 4 Ballyrashane FC 1
Balnamore made hard work of this win on Saturday against a rejuvenated Ballyrashane side. The home side had much of the possession early on but as time went on their opponents came more into the game. The deadlock was broken however by Balnamore’s Brian McLaughlin on the half hour mark, his effort looked to be tame enough for keeper Lee Gray to collect, but the ball some how found a way under his body and into the net for advantage Balnamore.
The remainder of the half was pretty scrappy with Balnamore just coming out on top. The second half commenced with the home side injecting a bit more vigour in their play but Ballyrashane frustrated them with their high line. An injury to Balnamore keeper James Elder forced a change with Joe Connor standing in. Let’s hope the big man is back in action soon. Willy Corr came on and immediately made an impact, the wee man finding the net with a quality strike to put daylight between the teams.
Soon after Sean Hogg went on a excellent run only to be hauled to the ground inside the area as he was ready to strike. Simon Armstrong converted the resulting penalty. Within minutes Dylan Neill had pulled one back for Ballyrashane and could have had another but for excellent goalkeeping by Joe Connor. Nicky Tweed made the points safe for Balnamore with a well taken goal late on giving the out stretched Gray no chance. Man of the Match: Davy Campbell (Ballyrashane)
The Villagers 5 Finn McCools 1
This was a match the Villagers had to win on the back off two bad defeat’s and they started off all gun’s blazing with Shirlow coming close in the opening minutes and the same player played in ‘Pokie’ Pollock to put the Villagers 1-0 up with a net buster of a finish after only two minutes. Both teams had chances after that, but it was the hosts who scored again after 23 minutes when Lee Wilson turned well in the box to put the home team two up.
Shirlow made it 3-0 on 27 minutes with another good finish before Finns pulled a goal back after a rare mix up in the Villagers defence allowed Steven Callaghan in to score. They were looking dangerous but they were to fall further behind on 40 minutes after Shirlow was caught by the visiting keeper in the box Cutmore stepped up to fire home the penalty.
Both sides had chances after the break but the keepers did well. The scoring was wrapped up in the 71st minute as Glen Watt and Gary Friel combined to tee up Man of the Match Ryan Pollock who grabbed his second with a fine strike. Man of the Match: Ryan Pollock (The Villagers)