League leaders Glebe Rangers Old Boys dropped their first points of the season on Saturday past after they were held to a goalless draw, a somewhat rarity in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League, by third placed Berthas FC in a tight encounter at The Warren Portstewart.
Hillview closed the gap at the top with a comfortable win at home to The Villagers while Mountview FC eased past FC Windyhall in their game. Hazelbank took the points with a good win over FC Macosquin while Dunaghy saw off Ballyrashane at Fulton Park. In the remaining game, Brook Street and The Taverners fought out a 2-2 draw.
Berthas FC 0 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 0
It was first against third in this match moved to The Warren in Portstewart with both teams going into it in confident mood, both in great form in the league. It was fairly even start to the game with neither side creating much going forward with strikers finding chances at a premium.
Glebe were shading the possession but were restricted to shots from distance without much success although Adam Clarke went close after some neat skill in the box. What turned out to be the best chance of the game came to Berthas when Drake won a header in the middle which put McLaughlin clean through on goal but the normally deadly front man could only shoot straight at the keeper.
McLaughlin then tested Allen with a free kick and then fired over when well placed after good work from Pollock and Chris Patterson down the right hand side. Towards the end of the half Glebe piled on the pressure with Berthas having to deal with an aerial bombardment and then keeper Elder had to get down low to make a good save from an Ian Bellingham free kick.
The lead leaders came out in the second half and were on top for a good 15 minutes with Ivan Elder hitting the bar with a cross from out wide and Johny Elder having to be alert of stop a shot from ‘Chin’ Blair from just outside the box as the impressive Berthas back line limited the Glebe to shots from outside the box.
Berthas made a couple of changes and finished the game stronger but they just couldn’t find the cutting edge needed to get the all important goal needed. A good sporting game ended with a draw probably the fair result. Man of the Match: Chris Patterson (Berthas FC)
Hillview FC 6 The Villagers 0
Hillview started this game with five absentees from there usual squad. But it was all Hillview from the start and the Villagers never really tested McDowell in the home goal the whole day. Hillview took the lead on 15 minutes. A long throw from McCrellis, who was playing out of position was headed home by man of the match DD McClelland. Timmy Close, who was playing with a bad flu, got the second after brilliant work from him down the left he cut inside and drilled the ball home leaving best in the Villagers’ keeper with no chance.
Hillview started the brightest in the second half and yet again it was McClelland who was involved scoring into an empty net after the first effort rebounded off the keeper. Bobby Archibald, who was drafted in to play wide on the right, got Hillview’S fourth hitting a powerful shot from just inside the box with the outside of his foot giving the keeper no chance.
A minute later it was five as a goal mouth scramble ended up with Paul Friel taping in to an empty net. Jonny Millar came on and to be fair when he gets his chance he doesn’t disappoint and it was Millar who scored the sixth in the last minute with a great back post header.
It was a great performance and a great result from the lads especially with the Glebe dropping there first league points of the season, all to play for after Xmas. Man of the Match: DD McClelland (Hillview)
FC Windyhall 1 Mountview FC 5
Both sides observed a minute’s silence before this fixture, in remembrance of two recent bereavements associated with FC Windyhall. The game itself was a close encounter from the start but it was Dave Parsons who opened the scoring with an excellent piece of opportunism. From a clearance by the Windyhall keeper, Parsons returned the clearance with interest and found the net with a superb first time effort.
Windyhall pressed and deservedly equalised when a shot from the left side of the box was parried out by Wills and John Sweeney gratefully slotted home. Ciaran Doherty was introduced at the start of the second half and made an immediate impact. His runs at the Windyhall defence were causing problems.
But it was Aidy Calvin who showed great control and composure to cap off a fine move on the hour to put the home side 2-1 ahead. Again Windyhall battled and were desperately unlucky not to level again when a good effort rebounded off the bar and was cleared to safety. But Mountview applied more pressure and when Johnny Martin had his first real chance, he finished with ease.
Martin didn’t take long to repeat his tally from the previous week and scored again to make the score 4 -1. By now the contest was over and it finished with one final goal as Hugh McAllister added to his personal tally to make the final score 5-1. Man of the Match: Rab Sweeney (FC Windyhall)
FC Macosquin 2 Hazelbank FC 4
Hazelbank completed the league double over FC Macosquin at Rugby Avenue on Saturday. It was the home side who started the brightest though and they broke the deadlock inside 10 minutes as Noel Downes latched on to Thomas Campbell’s long ball before squeezing his shot under Steven Crawford.
The deadly Lee Biggart twice went close to extending FC Macosquin’s lead but Crawford produced two excellent saves to keep the score at 1-0.
Hazelbank finally started to find their feet as Mark Crawford, Dave McClean and Nigel Shepard all went close to levelling matters.
But right on half time they did find the equaliser as Ciaran Wilson latched on to Shepard’s through ball before firing past Tosh.
And within a minute of the start of the second half Wilson had put the visitors in front as Kelly’s long ball split the home defence and the striker dinked the ball past the advancing Tosh.
FC weren’t for lying down though and they pulled level on the hour mark in spectacular fashion as Downes curled in a delightful free kick.
Hazelbank weren’t to be denied though as they threw the kitchen sink at the hosts.
And they edged in front on 70 minutes as Wilson teed up Shepard at the back post.
Garth Hutchinson’s side wrapped up the points 10 minutes before the end and in some style. FC Macosquin thought they had cleared the danger but from fully 40 yards James Penny thumped home an unstoppable shot past the helpless Tosh.
Man of the Match: Mark Boorman (Hazelbank)
Dunaghy Old Boys 4 Ballyrashane FC 1
Dunaghy Old Boys got off to a slow start an were down one down in the first minute as David Freeman walked past the Dunaghy defence before firing past Ricky Docherty from 13 yards. Ballyrashane were the better side for the first half hour with shots wide and most of the play.
Dunaghy got back into the game when Gary Dunlop’s shot fell kindly to Paul Robinson who fired home from six yards on 31 minutes. Dunaghy were then awarded a penalty on 34 minutes when Mark Blair jnr was upended inside the box and Robinson stepped up to make it 2-1 with a well-hit penalty.
Ballyrashane started off the better side again but Docherty kept Dunaghy in front with four great saves. Dunaghy made subs bringing on W Blair and Trevor Bartlett and both players scored in the dying minutes to wrap up the points. Man of the Match: Joe Patton (Dunaghy)