A FULL fixture list was finally able to be played on a Saturday morning in the Hutchinson Tiles League after all the bad weather over the Christmas period and before.
Glebe Rangers made it six points in four days after a midweek win was followed by a narrow victory at the weekend, putting the Ballymoney men three points clear of second place Bertha's who picked up a good win at home to Brook Street. Hillview moved into third with a tight victory over The Villagers while Dunaghy kept up their pre Christmas form to hammer Somerset. West Bann also picked up the points at home to Finn McCools as did FC Macosquin at home to Ballyrashane.
In the Shield, Hazelbank moved into the quarter finals with victory over The Taverners and in the Cup prelims there were victories for Balnamore and Riverside Athletic taking both teams into the first round proper.
The league would like to pass on its best wishes to West Bann Athletic player Paul Fleming who suffered a bad leg break at the weekend.
Mountview FC 0
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 1
Chances were hard to come by as both teams cancelled each other out in a cagey opening spell.
Steele headed wide from a Surgenor cross early on but this one of few openings created as both goalkeepers failed to be tested and half-time arrived with honours even. After the break Glebe upped the pace straight from the kick-off. However it was the home side that almost opened the scoring when Harte shot over.
Adam Clarke, making a comeback after a lengthy absence, was introduced to try to open up the home defence but it was from a penalty that Glebe finally took the lead. Bellingham notched his second penalty of the week to put the Old Boys one up.
As the game opened up, Glebe continued to press but despite plenty of possession failed to really test McLaughlin and Mountview threatened with a number of dangerous breaks. Darren Boyd made his debut for the Old Boys and the big man impressed despite the brevity of his appearance.
In a final change manager McBride came on and his presence in midfield helped the Old Boys see the game out as they recorded their second victory of the week.
Man of the Match: Billy McCurdy (Glebe Rangers Old Boys).
Bertha's FC 3 Brook Street 2
This proved to be an entertaining game for the neutral with both team attacking from the start.
Bertha's took the lead after only a minute of play when McAllister sprung the offside trap before squaring to Adrian Drake, making his first appearance since returning to the club, and he easily placed the ball into the back of the net.
McAllister had the chance to further increase his teams lead when he again beat the offside trap but McKissock made a smart stop to deny the winger. Brook Street levelled moments after this when Lee McDonald slipped in Dinsmore and he fired hard and low into the back of the net.
They nearly took the lead five minutes after this but Joel McDonald's long-range effort went the wrong side of the post. Bertha's had plenty of chances to regain the lead but Greene, Drake, Caldwell and Graham all missed, while McDonald had a couple free kicks saved by McCrory.
Bertha's did take the lead and it was through Drake as he fired home a belter from the edge of the area.
It didn't take long for Brook Street to draw back on level terms when Joel McDonald's best impression of Tom Daley was enough to fool the referee who pointed to the spot and the same player sent McCrory the wrong way for his first of the season.
Bertha's quickly took control of the game when McAllister and D Patterson combined to find Graham in space and his shot proved to hot to handle for McKissock.
With time running out, Dinsmore had a great chance to grab his team a point but he dragged his shot wide with just the keeper to beat. Man of the Match: Adrian Drake (Bertha's FC).
Hillview FC 2 The Villagers 1
Decent football in the opening 20 minutes of this game was at a premium with the wind causing havoc for both teams.
Hillview suffered the loss of new signing Gary Knight during this period with suspected knee ligament damage. They picked themselves up from this and took the lead when Close ran on to a long ball over the top to fire home.
They doubled their lead soon after when McVey's cross was missed by the defender and found Frazer who dispatched side footed into the net.
Into The second half and the away team pulled one back when McVey inadvertently headed into his own net under pressure. The Villagers pushed for the leveller but Hillview defence held firm to help their side pick up the points. Man of the Match: Johny Millar (Hillview).
Dunaghy Old Boys 6 Somerset FC 2
Both teams had half chances before McGonigle put Somerset one up with a well hit free kick from 20 yards out on 18 minutes. Dunaghy were level four minutes later after a good move resulting in Fulton clipping it over the keeper.
On 26 minutes Dunaghy took the lead thanks to Christie with an unstoppable shot into top corner from edge of the 18. The second half began with Dunaghy on top and on 57 minutes Christie scored with another superb strike into the top corner from 30 yards.
Five minutes later Somerset were back in it Loughery's strike deflected past Docherty in Dunaghy goal but it was short lived as Christie got his hat trick with best goal of match.
The Somerset's goalkeeper with a goal kick which was met on the volley from all of 40yards and sailed back over him into roof of net.
Two minutes later Dunlop made game safe after some neat footwork resulting with a low drive into bottom corner.
After the best hat trick manager Arnie Blair had ever seen, Christie got his 4th after rounding the keeper and tapping into an empty net. Man of the Match: Ian Christie (Dunaghy Old Boys).
FC Macosquin 3 Ballyrashane FC 1
Despite the terrible weather Macosquin got off to a hectic start and lay siege to the Ballyrashane goal but kept finding keeper Doherty in excellent form.
Even with Doherty's heroics the pressure eventually paid off when after a clever ball from David Andrews landed on the head of Liam McGuinness who looped it over the advancing keeper to give Macosquin the lead.
Ballyrashane struck back within minutes and despite a bit of luck with deflections and the wind, Simpson was in the right place at the right time to level. Just before half time an excellent clearance from Watkinson lay right at the feet of Declan McGahon who ran past the Ballyrashane defence and coolly finished to give his Macosquin the lead once more.
In the second half Ballyrashane woke up and had some good possession but could not find a way past Moffat and Creswell in the Macosquin defence. Macosquin were always looking to score again and some great work by Thomas Campbell and Mark Mearns almost led to more goals.
In the end the third goal did arrive when once again another pinpoint pass from Watkinson found McGahon who scored a very similar goal to his first. Man of the Match: Thomas Campbell (FC Macosquin).
West Bann Athletic 3 Finn McCools 0
West Bann Athletic ran out comfortable winners against Finn McCools in this one.
Three-second half goals were enough to take the points with two coming from man of the match Michael Olphert and the other from Lee West. A good result added to a great team performance from West Bann Athletic and a welcome return to football on a Saturday was some what ruined however when Athletic's Paul Fleming sustained a double leg break.
Players and management of West Bann Athletic wish Paul a speedy recovery. Man of the Match: Michael Olphert (West Bann Athletic).
Riverside Athletic 7
Coleraine Olympic 1 (Cup Prelim.)
A resounding victory for a much-changed Riverside team that has lost and gained several players since they last played back at the start of December.
Richard Moore got them off the mark as early as the twelfth minute and the inspirational Ricky Hanna made it two a few minutes later. Olympic gained a stroke of luck on twenty seven minutes when the ball deflected off one of the home defenders on twenty seven minutes, but a stunning strike from Ryan Boyd on the half hour restored the two goal cushion.
Another well taken goal by Moore five minutes before the break made manager Stephen McCloskey's first half time team talk of the year pretty relaxed. The second half began with the hosts making all the running and five minutes after the restart Moore completed his hat trick, and two minutes later he collected his fourth.
Almost total domination was certainly the order of the day with the Riverside manager having the luxury of substituting four goal Moore for Alex Workman who promptly helped himself to a well taken goal to complete the rout. Man of the Match: Ricky Hanna (Riverside Athletic).
Balnamore FC 4 Macosquin Village 3
Both teams started wellwith much of the battle in the midfield area, Balnamore looked dangerous on the break an their early pressure paid off as Ryan Mooney played a neat through ballfor Simon Armstrong to run onto, an he made no mistake as he slotted past the stretched Macosquin keeper.
One soon became two for Balnamore, this time Nicky Tweed collected the ball on the right an after atwisting runhit ashot which was deflected off adefender and intothe net. Balnamore had chances to put the result beyond reach before half time but failed to take them.
After the break Macosquin Village pressed more into the game and it wasn't long until it paid off with a couple ofgoals coming from Moffatt and Stewart, the latter a dubious penaltywhich stand in Balnamore keeper Madison almost saved.
At 2-2 the game was wide open, Balnamore were hungry for a win an pushed on. They got a corner on the left, Sean Hogg delivered a curling in swinging cross which decevied the keeper and home defenceand crept in to the net.
As Balnamore attacked againthey wona corner, another good delivery from the left meant that Ricky 'Chin' Blair had the easiest of tasks smashing the ball home from six yards.
Macosquin never gave up an gottheir third late on through Stewart. Man of theMatch: Joe Connor (Balnamore).
The Taverners 2 Hazelbank FC 8
Taverner's started this game the stronger, with their narrow midweek defeat still fresh in there minds.
From the first whistle Baird was taking control in midfield as hazelbank struggled to get any foothold on the game.
Steven Crawford was tested from O'Kane who drilled in from the edge of the box, Crawford pushing it away for a corner. Baird tried his luck from a set piece, again Crawford saved well.
The deadlock was broken on 13 minutes, Baird's free kick was saved by Crawford, but slippery conditions proved vital as the Taverner's forwards reacted quicker, Bradley nipping in on lose ball to tap home.
This was the wake up call Hazelbank needed. Diver and King began to work well, Sheppard and Reid on the flanks where also shaking off the long lay off and beginning to find form. Reid's cross from the right found McClarty whose loose ball was somehow turned away by Adams.
Ciaran Wilson got Hazelbank's equaliser on 25 minutes, running at the Taverner's defence changing from his right to his left foot he scooped up over the outstretched keeper. a well deserved goal.
On 30 minutes Taverners got and unexpected lead some slack defending allowed O'Kane to poke home from the edge off the box with crawford well off his line the ball took a fortunate bobble off the pitch and rolled in.
Hazelbank started the second half really well Adams saved well from mclartys close range shot.
O'Brien went close with his head from the resulting corner. Finally the pressure paid off as McClarty turned well in the box and shot home on 55 minutes.
An injury to adams saw a change of keeper for Taverners and this was certainly the turning point in the game. Sub Stephen McCartney made it 3-2 with the help of a deflection before McClarty's cross was turned in to the net by the stand-in keeper.
McClarty wrapped up his hat-trick with two neat finishes and sub Dave McClean grabbed a brace as Hazelbank romped home. Sean Smith came on late on to make his comeback after a lengthy injury.
Man of the Match: Colin McClarty (Hazelbank).
Fixtures for Saturday 22 January
Ballyrashane v West Bann Ballysally Balnamore F.C v Brook Street Fulton Park Bertha's F.C v Somerset Castlerock Coleraine Olympic v Macosquin Village Rugby Avenue 1
F.C Macosquin v Villagers F.C Rugby Avenue 2
Finn McCool's v Hazelbank Bushmills Hillview F.C v Riverside Athletic Crescent 3 Mountview F.C v Dunaghy Old Boy's Rugby Avenue 3
Taverners F.C v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Riada 2