West Bann Athletic will start 2014 at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League as they continued their fine form of late with another victory.
With previous leaders Berthas FC inactive, West Bann won their game in hand with a good win away to Dunaghy Old Boys. Glebe Rangers moved level on points with Berthas as they picked up all three points without having to kick a ball with the opposition unable to field a team. The Villagers took the spoils by the odd goal in seven away to Hazelbank while Balnamore scored five in their win against Coleraine Olympic. In the remaining game, Finn McCools defeated Ballyrashane FC.
The League now has a two week Christmas break and resumes action on Saturday 4th January with a mouth watering clash between first and second in the table, West Bann Athletic and Berthas FC. Glebe Rangers Old Boys will host Ballyrashane on the same day and will hope to take advantage of a slip up from the top two.
The next delegates meeting will be Monday 6th January, 7.30 at the usual venue. New registrations and transfers will be accepted this meeting.
Dunaghy Old Boys 2
West Bann Athletic 5
Athletic won the toss and captain Peter O’Kane wisely choose to play against the wind in the first half. From the first whistle both sides were under no illusion that the wind would play a big part in the outcome. WBA took the lead with only five minutes on the clock through Martin Fleming. Dunaghy pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded within 10 minutes of going behind with Joe Patton poking home after a goal mouth scramble.
Since they went in front WBA were finding it hard to get out of there own half as the wind was playing absolute havoc, they did however take the lead again after being awarded a free kick 20 yards out in the 22nd minute, up stepped Aaron McLelland who made no mistake in spite of the headwind.
WBA scored within two minutes of the restart with McLelland finishing well. Athletic at this point looked like they were going to run riot with the wind almost being like a 12th man. Martin Fleming made it 4-1 in the 53rd minute.
Dunaghy made it 4-2 in the 77th minute through Paul Robinson who found himself in the right place at the right time when the ball came off the crossbar leaving the Dunaghy striker a simple tap in. WBA scored the final goal of the game when Matthew McCandless’ fierce shot wind assisted was initially unorthodoxly saved by the Dunaghy keeper however the wind as strong as it was caught the ball and literally blew it into the net.
West Bann Athletic FC wish all there sponsors and fellow HTWL clubs a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! Man of the Match: Derek Hickinson (Dunaghly OB)
Hazelbank FC 3
The Villagers 4
The match started with the Villagers playing with the wind and laying siege to the Hazelbank goal.
MacFarlane opened the scoring for the Villagers with a strike into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Lee Wilson made it two when he rounded the keeper and slotted home,
Alcorn was sent off for kicking an opponent off the ball so with Hazelabank already struggling they had to continue with ten men.
They actually played better with ten men but could do nothing to stop Wilson scoring a screamer from around 25 yards into the top corner for 3-0.
Wilson was playing excellent, as were the whole Villagers side and it was no surprise when he dinked the unlucky Hazelbank keeper for 4-0 just before the break.
In the second half the Villagers should have extended their lead but MacFarlane and Wilson were unlucky when they had good chances in the second half.
the Villagers can feel aggrieved that when Danton made a great run, controlled the ball and slotted home, the ref wrongly blew for offside. The Villagers were comfortable until the last five minutes when Hazelbank pulled a couple of consolation goals back through McGrotty and Kelly, The Villagers then started to panic and Hutchinson made it 4-3 but there was not enough time and the scoreline flattered Hazelbank.
This was a good end to 2013 for the Villagers and they will look to build on this for 2014. Man of the Match: Lee Wilson (The Villagers)
Balnamore FC 5
Ballyrashane FC 2
Balnamore got back to winning ways on Saturday banking a much needed three points at a blustery and wet Fulton Park. The home side began strong and were camped for long spells in the Olympic half, they created numerous chances but failed to make them count.
Olympic were having decent spells of play and were awarded a free kick mid way through the half. Johnathon Hegam’s effort caught a deflection and trundled over the line. Sweeney also hit the bar with a powerful header as the half ended.
After the break a different Balnamore emerged, full of sharpness and urgency they took control of the game.
A move down the right found young David McDowell, the young striker cut in and fired into the net for a terrific goal. Balnamore made it two immediately , a carbon copy of the first, DD McDowell scoring again after sharp play involving Buick Kelly and Tweed. Nicky Tweed himself got on the score sheet soon after for the eighth consecutive game, the big man giving the keeper no chance with his strike.
Olympic pulled another back from a corner, the wind playing a part as the ball swirled in and clipped Tweed and into goal. Balnamore came straight back with a fourth, Brent Watton nipping in with a touch to score at the near post from Armstrongs corner.
David McDowell completed his Birthday hat trick ten minutes from the end, he bravely lost his marker and fired beyond the Olympic keeper after an excellent through ball from Nicky Tweed.
Balnamore pleased to acquire some points on what was testing conditions. Man of the Match: David McDowell (Balnamore)
Ballyrashane FC 2
Finn McCools 5
This game was played in very blustery conditions but it was Finns who made the best start playing with the advantage in the first half with Dobbin flicking on a set piece for Davy Cochrane to send home neatly between the keepers legs. Shortly afterwards it was 2-0 as the Finns keeper struck the ball out of his hands and the wind took the ball to the edge of Ballyrashanes area and bounced over the opposing keeper.
Towards the end of the half Finns midfield dwelled on the ball and were punished as a long range effort from Ballyrashane was nicely converted into the bottom corner. Into the second half and Finns started to dominate the midfield with Peter McAfee hitting a long range effort which swerved into the bottom corner of the Ballyrashane net.
Ballyrashane came back at Finns again as a poorly misjudged ball from the Finns defence lead to the Ballyrashane attacker slotting home from eight yards.
Finns replied with two quick goals from distance from Richard Moore which left the keeper no chance and Finns ran out deserved winners. Man of the Match: Adam Deighan (Finn McCools)