Leaders still out in front

Glebe Rangers Old Boys made it 16 from 16 in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter league with victory away to Finn McCool’s on Saturday past.

Ian Bellingham’s men now go into the new year top of the table, even before next week’s fixtures. Hillview, Berthas and Mountview remain their nearest challengers with all three recording comfortable victories at the weekend, defeating West Bann Athletic, Coleraine Olympic and Brook Street respectively. Dunaghy Old Boys took a good victory against Balnamore while Hazelbank won by the odd goal in five at home to The Villagers. In the remaining game, The Taverners and FC Windyhall fought out a 1-1 draw.

The league would like to wish Coleraine Olympic player Chris Garvin a speedy recovery after the player suffered a broken arm during his team’s game at the weekend. Hopefully Chris will be back in action sooner rather than later.

Finn McCool’s 1 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 4

Glebe Old Boys travelled to Bushmills for this league fixture on Saturday morning. With Ronnie Reilly a late call off due to a mystery bug Paul Holmes returned at right back in the one change to the Old Boy’s line-up. The Old Boys started strongly displaying some of their best football of the season in the first fifteen minutes without creating any clear-cut chances.

Gradually however Finn’s came into the game, however they were also unable to fashion an opening. As the half drew to a close Wilmont forced a save from Henderson but the score-line remained blank at the interval. Glebe opened the second half with a three-goal blitz in the first nine minutes. Les Nicholl seized on a McBride knockdown to make it 1-0. Four minutes later the same player rose well to nod home Adam Clarke’s corner. A minute later a fine four man move also involving Bellingham and Wilmont saw Nicholl play in talisman Ivan Elder to score the third.

Finns never stopped running and Stephen Parke pulled one back with fifteen minutes remaining. However, it was Nicholl who had the last word as he completed his hat-trick by poking home a fourth for the Old Boys. Man of the Match: Billy McCurdy (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Hillview FC 4 West Bann Athletic 0

Hillview were in control from start to finish of this match. The first goal came with on seven minutes after good work from Ryan Frazer holding the ball up well, he back heeled the ball into Mark Hutchinson’s path who calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner. The second goal came in the 25th minute as Frazer one on one with the keeper slotted home.

The third came five minutes into the second half after good work from Close out wide on the left he crossed the ball over for Frazer to score his second of the game. Karl Dixon rang the changes in the second half bringing on five subs and it was Kevin McGowan that got the forth with a long range effort that sailed in the top corner. Hillview had a penalty with five minutes left. Jason Hutton, who is the usual taker, kindly let McGowan take it, but he scuffed it wide. Man of the Match: Paul Friel (Hillview)

Coleraine Olympic 1 Berthas FC 3

The away team dominated the first half of this game with chances coming thick and fast, but wasteful finishing again being Berthas case in question. McLaughlin missed on a couple of occasions with Doherty making some smart stops to keep his team in it. Chances for Pollock, McIlreavy and Drake all went begging while Hanna cracked the post with a fine effort.

Berthas did get a great chance to take the lead from the spot when McLaughlin was brought down after some excellent individual skill but the same player fired wide with the kick. They finally took the lead about 30 minutes in and it was their centre half, Chris Patterson, who showed his strikers how it was done, controlling Drake’s pass on his chest before lashing a left footed shot into the back of the net. They got their second moments later when Caldwell rose highest to head home from Drake’s corner kick.

Berthas continued to miss chances with Doherty in top form in the Olympic goal. At the other end, Olympic struggled to fashion a chance with a long range Garvin strike all they had to offer. In to the second half and more of the same for the opening 25 minutes with Berthas missing a host of chances though a magical 1-2 between Caldwell and McLaughlin saw the latter fire home from 10 yards to give the away team their third.

Olympic suffered a blow with 20 minutes remaining when Chris Garvin went down heavily, suffering a serious arm injury but his replacement, Simon Barr was the man to change his teams fortunes with the home side going on to more than match Berthas in the last 20 minutes. Indeed, through his industry in midfield, his team had a few chances with Elder on hand to make the saves in the Berthas goal.

Berthas had more chances to increase their lead with Caldwell heading against the bar and Jason Neill providing a contender for miss of the season, heading wide from a yard out. With the game entering injury time, Olympic grabbed a deserved consolation goal when Barr cut in from the left and watched as his strike from 25 yards found the back of the net. Man of the Match: Simon McIlreavy (Berthas FC)

Mountview FC 10 Brook Street 0

It was a calm, dull morning at Rugby Avenue but the same could not be said for Mountview’s start to this game. They started off much more positively than the previous week and were 4–0 up within the first 20 minutes. Dave Parsons opened the scoring after a fine move. Johnny Martin then followed up with two solid finishes as the home team put together a strong passing game which Brook Street struggled to contain. The forward line of Hugh McAllister and Ciaran Doherty created several chances between them before both got in on the scoring act before the interval.

The game continued to be mainly one way traffic in the second half. The family combination of Keith and Daryl Wills on the left flank caused problems for Brook Street as the chances continued to come. Doherty got his second after unselfish play from Keith Wills. Hugh McAllister scored 3 more in the second period to take his tally to four for the day. Scott Fraser got his reward for his endeavours when he finished off number 10 in the final minute. Man of the Match: Hugh McAllister (Mountview)

Balnamore FC 1 Dunaghy Old Boys 2

Balnamore and Dunaghy served up a good match. It was Balnamore who took the lead on 11 minutes when an attempted cross from young Kelly found the net right from the touch line. Old Boys responded well M Blair’s 20 yard drive being tipped onto the crossbar and away to safety. McNabb whipped in a cross and A Blair’s cushioned header put in Robinson only for his lob to go narrowly wide.

The Old Boys went close again Keers’ cross finding Robinson whose header crashed of the post. The second half saw Balnamore on the attack and on 55 minutes they were awarded a penalty when Armstrong was upended in the box. Kelly stepped up to add to his earlier effort but was denied by a superb save by Docherty at full stretch to his left. This spurred Dunaghy on and on 60 minutes Robinson tapped in the equaliser from six yards after some good work from Blair jr.

The Old Boys looked as if they would push on from here but with 25 minutes left McNabb was sent of after receiving his second yellow. The home team saw plenty of the ball but it was Old Boys who broke, Dunlop’s effort crashing off the post only for Moore’s follow up header to come off the crossbar and be cleared off the line.

Docherty then pulled of a cracking save when it looked as if his defender had put through his own net. Time was running out when Moore broke from the half way line slotted it past the onrushing keeper only for it to strike the post again, but this time the ball broke kindly and Moore put it into the roof of the net to seal a well deserved win. Man of the Match: Ricky Docherty (Dunaghy Old Boys)

Hazelbank FC 3 The Villagers 2

Jimmy Smith opened the scoring for the hosts on 22 minutes, Mark Crawford laying off the perfect ball for Jimmy breaking free from his marker and he ran through before he coolly slotted home beyound the advancing keeper. Hazelbank dominated the first half and were content on going in at the break one up.

The Villagers started the second half well, McFarlane starting to make his presence felt coming close from long range. But a two minute spell saw Hazelbank go three up. Jimmy Smith turned provider for Mark Crawford, his good close control and cross teed Mark up at the back post for the header on 61 minutes. Nigel Shepard made it 3-0 on 63 minutes. Again it was a well worked goal with Smith finding Crawford for the lay off to Nigel to drill home from the edge of the box.

Straight from the retsart villagers pulled one back, the Hazelbank defence failing to clear and Lee Wilson was at hand to finish. An onslaught from the visitors ensued as they pushed forward. But they couldn’t punish the hosts due to wasteful finishing. With a minute to go Jack Kennedy gave them a glimmer of hope as he fired in from close range, however Hazelbank held on to seal a good win.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Smith (Hazelbank)

The Taverners 1 FC Windyhall 1

With the Taverners at home and finding better form in the the last few outings and FC Windyhall also finding better results this was set to be an exciting match.

The match started with some good end to end football from both teams but when Windyhall’s player was brought down in the 19 minute just outside the Taverners penalty area and one of the Taverners men being sent off this was to change the game. The Taverners had to raise there game and were able to keep a scoreless draw at the end of the half. It wasn’t to long into the second before Aaron Caughey scored in the 48 minute putting the home side under a lot of pressure but the Taverners defence with team captain Stephen Elder and Gareth Grimes holding strong.

The Taverners were working tirelessly on and off the ball were to get there just reward with a goal from Rodney Doherty in the 64th minute to leave the final score 1-1. Man of the Match: Mark McQuillan (The Taverners)

Saturday 15 December

Bertha’s FC v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Castlerock

Brook Street v Taverners FC Rugby Avenue 3

Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Ballyrashane Dunaghy

FC Macosquin v Hazelbank Rugby Avenue 2

FC Windyhall v Mountview FC Rugby Avenue 4

Finn McCool’s v Coleraine Olympic Bushmills

Hillview FC v Villagers FC Crescent 3

West Bann Athletic v Balnamore FC Rugby Avenue 1