West Bann Athletic went to the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League after they saw off the tough challenge of FC Windyhall and now remain the only unbeaten team in the league.
That’s because Glebe Rangers Old Boys suffered their first defeat in two seasons, and what a defeat it was going down 7-0 to Berthas FC. FC Crusaders continued their good form with victory over Ballyrashane while The Taverners took a comfortable three points away to Coleraine Olympic. The Portrush Old Boys and Hazelbank game, along with the Dunaghy Old Boys and The Villagers games ended in 1-1 draws.
West Bann Athletic 4 FC Windyhall 0
Goals from Luke Bacon, a double from Phil Stevenson and a last minute strike from lee Nevin were enough to win all three points against third placed FC Windyhall. Athletic’s inform striker Phil Stevenson almost got his hat-trick when picked out by strike partner Lee Nevin however his diving header came back off the bar to safety. The game finished 4-0 to Athletic to maintain their unbeaten run and claim top spot into the bargain. Man of the Match: Nathan Black (WBA FC)
Berthas FC 7 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 0
The champions went into this one short on a few first team players but still fielded a strong side against last year’s runners up, who were missing the services of a few players themselves. It was the home side who were quicker out of the blocks and they took the lead not long in with an excellent opportunist free kick from Michael McLaughlin. They won a free kick about 40 yards out just off centre and with everyone expecting a cross, including the Glebe keeper Danny Allen, McLaughlin picked out the massive gap and put the ball low into the corner of the net.
They should have grabbed their second moments later when MacAulay went rampaging through but Allen made a good stop. Willie Stewart then hit the bar for Berthas after a good cross from Pollock. Berthas did get number two and then number three in quick succession. First MacAulay scored from the spot after Stewart had been brought down before Lee Biggart smashed home from 20 yards out.
Number four came when Pollock tapped home MacAulay’s low corner. Biggart should have made it five but fired wide when clean through. Glebe took a while to get going and Diamond made two good blocks for Berthas, one to deny Midget Patterson and the other to block ‘Sticky’ Steele when well placed. With the half nearly at a close, McLaughlin grabbed his second and Berthas fifth when he sailed through the Glebe back line, rounded Allen and tapped home.
An expected Glebe fight back in the second half didn’t really materialise and it was the home side who looked likely to add to their tally. Indeed they did when McLaughlin picked up a clearance 25 yards out, side stepped McKendry before bending a beautiful strike into the top corner for his hat-trick. Number seven arrived soon after when Hanna picked out Pollock who lobbed the advancing Allen for his second. Berthas pressed for more and hit the post through Biggart while Caldwell also had a short blocked, while Elder had a comfortable save to make near the end from a Bellingham header. Man of the Match: David Hoey (Berthas FC)
Ballyrashane FC 1 FC Crusaders 3
Coming off the back of a heavy defeat the previous week Ballyrashane went in to the game with a point to prove and faced a FC Crusaders side integrating a few new signings. An attritional game in which Ballyrashane started brighter saw them take the lead after 20 minutes through a converted penalty by Dylan Neill who showed great control to bring down a high ball, going to ground after rounding the advancing Tosh in the FC Crusaders goal.
An immediate response from Crusaders ensured the game would be tied at half time, with McClelland scoring at the back post with a header after good work on the right flank. In the second period with Ballyrashane creating little in the way of chances Crusaders pushed on and deservedly got in front, albeit from a mix-up at the back for Ballyrashane. With Crusaders chances at a premium without converting, it took marauding right back Tommy Campbell to put the game to bed with a great strike from the edge of the box beyond the impressive Newman in the Ballyrashane goal. Man of the Match: Mark Blackwood (FC Macosquin)
Coleraine Olympic 1 The Taverners 9
Olympic started the match strong winning a corner in the opening minutes and the near post ball put away well by Sean McCaugharn. The Taverners finally found their rhythm and drew level thanks to Brent Dobbin. Gareth Grimes, Brian Blair and Dobbin again put the visitors well in control at half time.
The Taverners dominated the second half adding a further five goals thanks to Shane McKee, Joseph Dunlop, Ryan McKee, Robert Gage and Dobbin, who completed his hat-trick. Man of the Match: Gareth Grimes (The Taverners)
Dunaghy Old Boys 1 The Villagers 1
Dunaghy Old Boys and The Villagers played out a hard fought game. It was end to end but the Villagers forced a succession of corners and got their reward on 20 minutes with a close range header. Another corner five minutes later resulted in Dunaghy’s equaliser after a low shot was blocked but Robinson was on hand to smash it in from six yards.
The second half continued like the first but with 15 minutes left Bartlett’s superb low cross was met by Robinson but he somehow managed to miss an open net from six yards. Two minutes later N Blair blazed over the bar from eight yards with the goal at his mercy. These were the last chances for either side to claim all three points.
Portrush Old Boys 1 Hazelbank FC 1
Portrush Old Boys entertained Hazelbank at Rugby Avenue on a fine September morning. Hazelbank had the better of the early exchanges and were very busy in the middle of the park. However as the half developed, Portrush found their feet and took the lead in the 32nd minute, McClelland finishing after some good work by Wills.
They continued to press and were unlucky not to increase their lead before half time. The second half started with Hazelbank on the front foot and their efforts were rewarded in the 58th minute when Davidson equalised. Both teams had chances to win the game but found the goalkeepers in good form. A draw on the day was a fair result. Man of the Match: Johny Martin (Portrush OB)