Millburn close the gap at the top as they are in seventh heaven

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With Glebe Rangers Old Boys and Berthas FC inactive at the weekend, Millburn FC closed the gap at the top of the League table.

They recorded a big win away to Dunaghy Old Boys to keep their excellent form on their debut season going.

West Bann Athletic were held to a draw against The Villagers while Balnamore ended Portrush Old Boys recent good run with victory in a high scoring game. Ballyrashane were also winners in a goal fest against Hazelbank while Finn McCools took the expected victory in their fixture against Coleraine Olympic.

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Dunaghy Old Boys 1

Millburn FC 7

On a cold winter’s morning Millburn travelled to take on Dunaghy Old Boys.

It was the visitors who started well and they opened the scoring as Cahoon crossing for Nesbit to finish well.

It was soon 2-0 as Boreland played in McDonald, the keeper saved his initial effort but Nesbitt was on hand to fire in the rebound.

The hosts grabbed a goal backthrough Blair, who finished at the third attempt after McDowell had saved his earlier efforts.

Millburn weren’t to be stopped though and grabbed a third as Nesbitt crossed for McDonald to volley home.

They made it 4-1 at the start of the second half as Cahoon played a one-two with McDonald before finishing well.

Cahoon then teed up Nesbitt to complete his hat-trick.

Five soon became six as Honeyford’s header crossed the line via a deflection off Blair.

Just before the end Cahoon set up Carton who fired a cracking shot into the corner.

Man of the Match: Alan Cahoon (Millburn FC)

West Bann Athletic 2

The Villagers 2

West Bann Athletic entertained Villagers at Rugby Avenue looking to put a nightmare month behind them on the results front.

First half goals from Damian Gaile and Ryan Shirlow within minutes of each other stunned the home team who went into the break 2-0 down.

Athletic rather than hit the panic button responded and dominated the second half scoring two goals of their own through Aaron McLelland and Jamie Allen.

Both sides had chances to take all three points however the game ended honours even West Bann Athletic 2-2 Villagers. Men of the Match: Cain Cutmore and Damian Gaile (Villagers FC)

Portrush Old Boys 4

Balnamore FC 6

Balnamore stunned last season’s champions with a blistering first half at Rugby Avenue on Saturday.

Portrush started the brighter as they enjoyed the better possession, however the visiting Balnamore worked their way into the game as the hosts couldn’t break them down.

Lee Kelly’s sharpness gave Balnamore the perfect lead on the half hour, poking the ball into the net after keeper McCullough dropped a cross. Three minutes later Alan Buick made it 2-0, volleying from an acute angle into the bottom corner after

DD McDowell’s flick on. Balnamore kept the pressure on up to the break as Kelly and Mc Dowell gave the old boys defence a headache.

It was business as usual on the restart, right back Darren Adair made it three on the hour for Balnamore, he thundered his shot through a crowded defence into the net. David Mc Dowell got in on the act when Lee Kelly and Brent Watton combined from a corner to give McDowell an easy tap in.

Portrush being the quality team they are never gave up and threw players up to salvage something.

An own goal gave them a chance then Jonny Martin fired in a second. David Mc Dowell eased the visitors nerves with an excellent run and goal when he rounded the home team keeper McCullough to slot ball over for number five.

The young striker grabbed his hat-trick minutes later with another quality goal, catching the defence out to slide in at near post. Portrush made it an uncomfortable last few minutes for Balnamore, James Elder was super in goal making numerous saves,

In injury time saw Kieran Doherty hammer home after a goal line scramble and Nicky Tweed notched a fourth for the Ports with a powerful header from a corner. Man of the Match: David Mc Dowell ( Balnamore)

Coleraine Olympic 0

Finn McCools 5

Olympic started the better of the two teams playing some good football through the midfield.

But it was Finns who took the lead midway through the first half when the Finns attacker was brought down. Up stepped Paul Moore, to calmly slot home from the spot.

Into the second half and Finns began to show their quality on the ball with Davy Millar making it 2-0 on the hour.

Scott Hill then made it three with a fine left foot strike from outside the area. Millar grabbed his second after good play from the Finns midfield. Towards the end of the game with the game stretched Finns made it five with Peter McAfee latching onto a delightful ball to drive home past the Olympic keeper. Man of the Match: Peter McAfee (Finn McCools)

Ballyrashane FC 5

Hazelbank FC 3

The hosts edged in front early on when a through ball found McPartland who finished in style with a cheeky lob.

Hazelbank hit back as Stefan Boyd rattled one home off the upright.

But it was Ballyrashane who scored again as Jack Gray found himself in space and he finished well.

And before half time the young striker gave his side a two-goal cushion firing home another powerful effort.

Hazelbank piled the presure on at the start of the second half and they reduced the arrears as Colin McClarty finished off from close range after the keepr had spilled Campbell’s cross.

But Ballyrashane were handed a golden opportunity to restore their two goal lead again soon after as Davidson brought Neill down in the box. Up stepped Gray to complete his hat-trick sending Crawford the wrong way.

Hazelbank kept pushing on though and they made it 4-3 as Smyth whipped a great ball into the box for McClarty to finish from close range.

It was anyone’s game at this stage, but it was the hosts who made sure of the win in somewhat fortunate circumstances.

Neill Was brought down on the edge of the box and up he stepped to fire home via the help of a big deflection which left Crawford completely helpless.

Man of the Match: Jack Gray (Ballyrashane FC)