West Bann Athletic to the ‘four’ as they regain top spot with easy win

Action from Hazelbank's clash with Bertha's on Saturday.
Action from Hazelbank's clash with Bertha's on Saturday.

West Bann Athletic regained top spot in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League following Saturday’s latest round of fixtures.

Their comfortable win coupled with a loss for Portrush Old Boys moved them to the front of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League. Glebe Rangers Old Boys moved second courtesy of a trouncing against Coleraine Olympic while Berthas moved joint third with a high scoring victory against Hazelbank. FC Crusaders won by the odd goal in seven against Dunaghy Old Boys. Balnamore scored seven in their win over Ballyrashane while Finn McCools took the spoils in their win over FC Windyhall.

Could all team managers please ensure that payment for pitch hire is made in advance of the date the pitch is booked for. For Saturday games this should be done no later than 9:30pm on the preceding Thursday. Failure to do so could result in the offending team being denied use of the pitch.

The Villagers 1

West Bann Athletic 4

Athletic came out on top 4-1 winners over Villagers in a game were both teams gave a good account of themselves. Phil Stevenson opened the scoring for the visitors with a stunning shot from 30 yards which gave the keeper no chance. Luke Bacon made it 2-0 on the half hour getting on the end of a Martin Robinson cross with a cheeky back heel into the bottom corner. 

Villagers made it 2-1 just before the break. Athletic scored the all important next goal within minutes of the restart with in form striker Phil Stevenson breaking clear and chipping the keeper to make it 3-1. Athletic made it 4-1 and sealed the points on the hour with Luke Bacon again finding the net to round off a good day at the office for himself and the team. Men of the Match: Jamie Allen & Kurt Wilson (West Bann Athletic)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 12

Coleraine Olympic 0

Glebe Rangers Old Boys hosted Olympic in the first of a double header in this league encounter at Megaw Park on Saturday morning. In one change from last week Gary Fulton replaced the suspended ‘Midget’ Patterson with Les Nicholl moving into a forward berth in what proved to be a tactical master-stroke by Bellingham as Nicholl responded with a four goal salvo and a man of the match performance.

The Old Boys started strongly and Stephen Elder made amends for last week’s misses as he opened his account for the season after only two minutes. This set the scene for some fine attacking play from Glebe and James Steele made it two after nine minutes. Steele added his second before Nicholl got in on the act with a brace. A strike from the inspirational Paul Holmes preceded both Nicholl and Steele completing their hat-tricks to leave the hosts eight goals to the good at the interval. Olympic produced a better display in the second half with McCaughern and goal-keeper Doherty catching the eye.

Despite their efforts the visitors were unable to breach the Glebe defence with McFetridge reproducing his fine displays at right back. Aaron Stewart, fresh from his goal-scoring performance last week, came off the bench to score a double before setting Nicholl up for his fourth of the day. he scoring was completed when Stewart’s effort turned in by the unlucky Stirling. Man of the Match: Les Nicholl Glebe Rangers Old Boys

The Taverners 2

Portrush Old Boys 1

With both teams in good form the match started fast with Portrush getting the more play and opening the scoring through Willie Shirlow with a tap in due to a Taverners mistake at the back. The match evened out more in the second half and on the hour mark R Doherty headed home. With five minutes to go Brent Dobbin passed his man and fired his team into the lead. Portrush pushed in the last few minutes but the home side kept calm to win. Man of the Match: Richard Mooney (The Taverners)

Hazelbank FC 2

Berthas FC 8

This is usually a tight game between two of the league’s older guard who usually challenge at the right end of the table. The opening 20 minutes proved this with Hazelbank slightly the better team with Penny hitting the bar from distance. The home team eventually took the lead when James Tosh crossed for Colin McClarty, who nipped infront of Dysart and Elder to tap into an empty net. Berthas finally got going and created a few chances before finally drawing level on 39 minutes, their first of five goals in 10 minutes of play either side of the break.

The first came when Andrew Minihan pounced from close range after Alan McClarty had saved from Lee Biggart. Their second came from the spot with Andy MacAulay slamming home. Number three came just before the break with Minihan grabbing his second, powerfully heading home MacAulay’s corner. Just after the restart Berthas further increased their lead when Biggart received a short corner, before smashing a pile driver which proved too hot too handle for McClarty.

On 50 minutes Berthas gained a second penalty with Alcorn getting his marching orders for a last man foul on Nevin with MacAulay again scoring from the spot. Hazelbank pulled one back when Ciaran Wilson pounced. It didn’t take Berthas long to regain their four goal lead when Stewart flicked on for Biggart who ran clean through to slip the ball past McClarty. Number seven was similar with Stewart again putting in his strike partner Biggart to fire home for his hat-trick. Minihan then grabbed his hat trick, a perfect one, with the best goal of the game, latching onto Caldwell’s fine pass to half volley home from 25 yards out. Man of the Match: Andrew Minihan (Berthas FC)

FC Crusaders 4

Dunaghy Old Boys 3

Always plenty of goals in this fixture so Saturday was always going to be an exciting match. And from the outset this was the case with both teams playing attacking football with Downs and Archibald proving a handful on one end and Richard ‘Chin’ Blair and Robinson in outstanding form on the other.

FC struck first when Downs rounded a few defenders to square to Watson who struck well from close range. Dunaghy went up the pitch again and after big Chin dribbled past three defenders he found Tosh in unbeatable form.

These missed chances proved costly as Big Bobby archibald releasing an unstoppable drive into the corner of the net. The next half was more of the same with both teams playing the match in the goalmouth. It was however FC who struck first when Downs finished well after a goalmouth scramble.

Even at three down Dunaghy fancied their chanced and were eventually rewarded when a long throw in was headed in by big Chin.

This goal gave the away side some momentum and soon afterwards Robinson scored a delightful chip past Tosh. At 3-2 Dunaghy knew they were back in the game and were pushing forward and were caught on the break and had to concede a free kick well outside their own box.

Up stepped David Andrews to hit a mesmerising strike from long distance to restore FC’s two-goal lead. This was required as soon afterwards Robinson again scored after producing more magic. This was to be the last goal in the game as FC held out for another valuable three points. Man of the Match: David Andrews (FC Macosquin)

Ballyrashane FC 1

Balnamore FC 7

Balnamore have scored more goals on the road this season than at home and added to their tally with a solid team performance by everyone against a determined Ballyrashane. Brent Watton opened the scoring for the visitors in the second minute with a excellent strike from just inside the area without the home side getting a touch. Balnamore’s second goal came five minutes later, a free kick taken by Nicky Tweed was met by the powerful head of Simon Armstrong who steered the ball past Newman.

Armstrong soon got his second, a move starting from the back made its way up the right, Sean Hogg crossing delightfully for Armstong to score from close range.

After the break the home side had a sense of urgency in their play and it paid off when Collins rose to head home and reduce the deficit.

Balnamore never lost composure and passed the ball well. David McDowell struck their fourth when he drilled his shot low and hard past Newman into the bottom corner.

Nicky Tweed got his first of three when he scored after a good solo run, his next was an excellent strike from outside the box, Josie Kelly laying the ball onto the path of Tweed who curled the ball round the keeper. He completed his hat-trick with a quality strike from an acute angle to seal the win for Balnamore. Man of the Match: Nicky Tweed (Balnamore)

Finn McCools 3

FC Windyhall 1

Finn’s started this game brightly, Adair stepped up to put a fantastic ball into the box and Parke opened the scoring with a glancing header through the crowded penalty area. Keeping the pressure on Finn’s attacked again and when Callaghan ended up through on goal, he slotted home calmly into the bottom right corner.

With the first half drawing to a close Windyhall pulled one back when Finn’s keeper McKendry misjudged a cross which ended up in the back of the net.  

This gave Windyhall the lift they needed and started they second half putting the Finn’s defence under pressure striking the woodwork on more than one occasion. However the centre back partnership of Moore and Dobbin stood firm.

After absorbing pressure throughout the second half Finn’s finally got the third. They hit Windyhall on the break with Moore finding Cochrane in the box who fired home. Man of the Match: Ian Parke (Finn McCools)