Goals galore in league but leaders keep up their perfect record so far

Action from Hazelbank's 14-0 win over Ballyrashane on Saturday.
Action from Hazelbank's 14-0 win over Ballyrashane on Saturday.

Glebe Rangers Old Boys kept up their 100% start to the season with a late come from behind victory at home to local rivals Dunaghy Old Boys.'

West Bann Athletic kept up their pursuit at the top with a rout of Coleraine Olympic while there was also a rout for Hazelbank in their game against Ballyrashane. Berthas got back to winning ways away to Finn McCools while The Taverners and FC Crusaders battled to a draw. The Villagers and Balnamore shared the points in their game while Brook caused the shock of the weekend when they took the spoils against Portrush Old Boys.

The league management extend their sympathy to the family of Andrew McAfee who has sadly passed away. Andrew played for Finn McCool’s last season, and all teams observed a minutes silence prior to Saturdays fixtures.

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 3 Dunaghy Old Boys 2

Glebe Rangers Old Boys met Dunaghy Old Boys in what turned out to be a thrilling encounter at Megaw Park on Saturday morning. In an explosive start Ricky” Chin” Blair scored against his ex-teammates with one minute on the clock when he controlled a high ball before giving Allen no chance with a superb volley. This seemed to inspire the big centre forward as he went on to produce his best display in years. Glebe huffed and puffed but, despite having plenty of possession, were unable to create any clear openings against a Dunaghy defence in which man of the match Ricky Murphy and Nathan Blair were outstanding.

Glebe upped the tempo at the start of the second half but still failed to find an equaliser even from the penalty spot with Patterson’s effort being saved by the in-form Kinnaird. Dunaghy continued to threaten with Warren Blair proving an able foil for namesake Ricky and it was Warren who seized on a through ball to put his side two goals to the good with a confident finish. Glebe were looking down and out but with less than ten minutes on the clock James Steele pulled one back for the hosts with a typical predatory strike. Glebe poured forward and Patterson produced a lovely finish to haul his side level. With time running out Patterson was felled inside the box and this time it was Paul Gaston, impressive since his second half introduction, who stepped up to slot past Kinnaird and give Glebe the three points. Man of the Match: Ricky Murphy Dunaghy Old Boys

Coleraine Olympic 0

West Bann Athletic 11

A rampant West Bann Athletic recorded a club record high score and win all three points into the bargain in a one sided game at a wind and rain swept Rugby Avenue.

Hat-tricks from both Martin Fleming and Lee Nevin, a brace and first goals for the club from Kurt Wilson, a debut goal by Nathan Black and further goals from new club vice captain Aaron McLelland and Chris Loughrey saw Athletic run out easy winners. Credit to Coleraine Olympic for battling to the end and to be fair definitely missed there regular goalkeeper. Man of the Match: Martin Fleming (WBA FC)

Hazelbank FC 14

Ballyrashane FC 0

On paper this looked like an even contest, Ballyrashane and Hazelbank both fielding strong teams. Hazelbank opened the scoring after three minutes, which set the tone for the game as Colin McClarty heading in from Johnny McIlreavey’s. Colin made it two on 11 minutes, again Johnny was the provider. Colin should have had his hat-trick five minutes later as he broke free, but his effort was palmed away.

Ballyrashane forced a couple of corners but it was the hosts who scored again as James Tosh grabbed the first of his treble on 24 minutes. McIlreavy made it four two minutes later before Tosh added a fifth before the half hour.

Ciaran Wilson made it sixth on 35 minutes before Jimmy Smyth picked up two in two minutes with a brace of spectacular efforts from outside the box.

Tosh grabbed his treble just before the break to make it 9-0.

To their credit Ballyrashane kept going after the restart, but they couldn’t keep out a rampant Hazelbank side as

David Mcalister turned the ball past his own keeper from Boyd’s cross. McIlreavey got his second on 76 minutes, before Mark Hemphill scored the 12th and goal of the game with a long range effort on 82 minutes.

McIlreavy completed his hat-trick on 86 minutes, tapping home from Hutchinson’s pass after the manager robbed the keeper of possession and Steffan Boyd completed the scoring on 88 minutes, collecting Colin McGrotty’s cross and hammering home. Man of the Match: Johnny McIlreavey (Hazelbank)

The Taverners 2

FC Crusaders 2

The Taverners started strongly taking the lead with a header from Shane McKee in the opening minutes. They were playing some good football and number two duly arrived thanks to a great chip from Joseph Dunlop.

The visitors finally came alive and by half time they were level thanks to a terrific brace by Steven McCrory. FC had the better of things after the break but neither side managed a goal.

Man of the Match: Rodney Doherty (The Taverners)

Finn McCools 0 Berthas FC 2

Berthas started well and took the lead when Ciaran Gaile rose above everyone to powerfully head home McLaughlin’s inswinging free kick. Finn’s came into it more and pushed forward on a number of occasions but the final ball proved problematic and thus never really tested Doherty in the Berthas goal.

Berthas grabbed their second just after the half hour when Willie Stewart beat his man down the right before crossing for Biggart to flick home at the near post.

Biggart should have grabbed his team’s third when picked out by Stewart but with just the keeper to beat he scuffed his shot wide.

The second half was a fairly even affair with chances at a premium, Berthas looking comfortable at the back with Minihan in particular in good form while Ali Dobbin was showing up well in the Finn’s midfield.

The last 20 minutes was fairly open, Berthas created a few half chances but Coyle and Hanna both failed to hit the target.

At the other end, Callaghan shot wide while Dobbin forced a good save from substitute keeper McCracken who replaced Doherty after he left the field of play with a head injury. Man of the Match: Ciaran Gaile (Berthas FC)

The Villagers 3

Balnamore FC 3

The hosts were looking to maintain their unbeaten home record in wet and windy conditions at Castlerock. But they fell behind on nine minutes as Nicky Tweed headed home a corner.

The hosts levelled on the half hour as Lee Peden fired in from 25 yards. The Villagers went into the second half in front as Ryan Shirlow fired in after Ryan Maddison had spilled the initial effort.

The visitors equalised on 52 minutes as David McDowell beat Best. Back came the home side as Stuart Parke restored their lead on 68 minutes after good play from Jack Danton.

They suffered a blow as David Pollock picked up his second yellow card. It looked as though the 10 men had held on for the win however in stoppage time Steven McDowell fired in an equaliser.

Man of the Match: Glen Watt (The Villagers)

Brook Street 3

Portrush Old Boys 2

Brook Street started this match as big underdogs against a very strong looking Portrush team.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock with 12 minutes gone as Dave Parsons fired in at the back post.

This was a wake up call that Brook Street needed. Most of the battles were in the middle of the park with Nigel Bacon and Lee Harkin winning plenty of balls for the home side.

The hosts levelled things up on 23 minutes as Roy Mailey won the ball before firing home after a mix up in the Old Boys’ defence.

The visitors restored their lead eight minutes before the break as ‘DD’ McClelland slotted home despite appeals from the hosts for offside.

Brook Street weren’t about to lie down though and tied the game before the break as Joel McDonald rounded the keeper and slotted home.

Portrush upped the pressure after the break but Brook Street were holding firm at the back. They were unlucky to see an effort crash off the upright as they went for the win.

Joel McDonald had a few chances at the other end but didn’t really trouble the Portrush keeper.

Paul Duffy decided that he would make a few subs and this paid off when substitute James Nesbitt put pressure on the keeper and defence when a high ball was pumped towards goal which lead to a mistimed jump and the ball bouncing off the back of a Portrush player into his own net with just two minutes left on the clock.

Brook Street battled hard knowing there was injury time to be added and a super double save from Willy McDonnell kept them on track for their first win of the season against one of the league’s big guns. Man of the Match: Nigel ‘kangaroo’ Bacon (Brook Street)