FINN McCOOLS AND GLEBE LEAD THE WAY

Finn McCools and Glebe Rangers Old Boys lead the way at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League table after the latest round of games.

Finn McCools took a comfortable victory on Wednesday night against Ballyrashane coupled with another victory on Friday night against Dunaghy giving them a 100% record so far this season.

Glebe matched that with victories over Macosquin Village and Balnamore to sit behind Finns on goal difference.

Mountview took the spoils in Castlerock in a close fought affair with Berthas FC, a controversial last minute winner giving Paul Simpson’s men the points. Ballyrashane conceded 5 against The Taverners but scored seven in reply to record victory as Hillview FC took a good win against last years runners up Hazelbank FC.

Brook Street and West Bann Athletic shared the points in 6-goal thriller at the Crescent. Macosquin sides FC and The Village were the big scorers of the day against Somerset and Coleraine Olympic especially. FC just failed to reach double figures in a 9-1 dubbing but Davy McNeills Village team blew away Olympic with 14 unanswered goals, Donald ‘Dubby’ Newton with a double hat-trick.

Dunaghy Old Boys 0 Finn McCools 3

Both teams started this game at a high tempo.

Finns started the score making it one nil.

Both teams went at it again with end to end football tackles flying in.

In the second half it was more of the same with the battle commencing. Finns scored again with good work through midfield to make it two nil. From then on Finns made it three to secure the points for the visitors.

This was a hard match from a few bruises from players in a really hard fought game. Man of the Match: G kane and P McQueston (Finn McCools)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 3 Balnamore FC 1

The Old Boys sought to maintain their winning start to the season when they entertained local rivals Balnamore at the Joey Dunlop Centre on Friday evening. 

With mid-week goal hero Paul Gaston missing due to work commitments and Paul Surgenor also unavailable, player-boss Bellingham rang the changes as Jimmy “bites yer legs” Coulter returned to the starting line-up along with Lee Kyle. 

Another new signing, Gareth Moody, was also drafted with DJ McBride unable to manage the heavy schedule of three games in six days.

Both teams kicked off at a high tempo and McCurdy drew a good save from Elder as the homesters pressed for the opening goal. 

Balnamore were dangerous on the break with Bellingham, superbly supported by man of the match Holmes, having to keep tabs on Madison. 

After a period of sustained pressure Glebe took the lead when Bellingham powered home a header from a Nicholl corner. 

Shortly afterwards Elder conceded a penalty when he pulled down Steele inside the box but the goal-keeper redeemed himself with a superb full-length diving save. 

Bellingham did increase the lead shortly afterwards as he and Nicholl repeated the earlier formula with the big man providing an even more emphatic finish this time round. 

Despite being two down Balnamore began to come more into the game with their three man midfield of Dunlop, Kelly and Mooney probing constantly at the Old Boy’s rearguard, however the interval arrived with Glebe two goals to the good.

Balnamore moved to a 4-4-2 at the start of the second half as they attempted to retrieve the situation. 

Despite this Glebe continued to carve out the better chances with front duo Steele and Nicholl a constant threat well backed up by Greer in the middle of the park. 

With Moody having given his all in his first game in two years the stage was set for veteran hit-man Colin McBride to take his bow and he sealed the points when latching on to a clever Nicholl flick to make no mistake from just inside the box. 

To their credit Balnamore continued to press and they had the last word when Simon Armstrong scored a cracker which rocketed past Allen and went in off the post to provide a fitting end to a hard-fought encounter. Man of the Match: Paul Holmes (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Coleraine Olympic 0 Macosquin Village 14

Manager Big Davy McNeill read the riot act after midweek defeat to Glebe Rangers and as a result this game was as one sided as the score line suggests. It took Macosquin three minutes to take the lead with Aaron Laverty the scorer.

The same player scored five minutes later to double his team’s advantage. Donald Newton then took centre stage with five goals in a row, the first three coming in the space of nine minutes. After Newton had scored his third and his team’s fifth, Coleraine Olympic had their best spell of the game, keeping out Macosquin for almost 30 minutes before the floodgates opened again three minutes into the second half with Newton scoring his fourth and fifth. Ronald Riley made it eight, Darren Stewart made is nine before Newton got his sixth, this team’s 10th on the hour. John Docherty scored his team’s 11th before Ian Clanachan got the goal of the game, running from his own 18 yard box, beating numerous men before chipping the advancing keeper from 30 yards. Aaron Laverty got his hat-trick before Darren Henry completed the scoring in the 86th minute, giving his team 14 for the day. Man of the Match: Ian Clanachan (Macosquin Village)

FC Macosquin 9 Somerset 1

Both teams didn’t have much luck this past week and were both looking to get off the points mark. Somebody’s ‘nil’ had got to go.

Macosquin took the game to Somerset from the offset and within five minutes McClelland broke free to find himself free to score the first try of the match.

Soon after McGahon coolly slotted over the conversion to make the score two nil. Somerset fought back and soon after Jason Neill scored a hole in one to make the score 2-1. This seemed to spur Macosquin into life and they lay siege to the Somerset goal. Chances and goals came thick and fast. McGuinness finding himself in the end zone to score a touchdown, Blackwood hitting a truly amazing six, Mearns potting the cue ball in the bottom pocket and a real home run struck by Thomas Cambell from thirty yards. With the score 6-1 at half time it needed a massive comeback to change the outcome of the game and to be fair to Somerset they battled hard to get a goal back. The game was however over as a contest and after McGahon slam dunked number seven, McGuinness hit a real smash of the side of his racquet for eight and McGahon again found the bull’s-eye the game was over at 9-1. Man of the Match: Declan McGahon (FC Macosquin)

Berthas FC 2 Mountview FC 3

On paper this looked like it would be a good game, the youthful Berthas against the more experienced Mountview side, and that’s exactly how it turned out.

It was the away team that took the lead when McClelland done well to cut back Taggart’s free kick for Wills to hammer into the net from eight yards. Berthas hit back immediately through Andrew Minihan. Willie Parsons done well in midfield and watched as Simpson made a good stop from his long range effort but Minihan was on hand to smash home the rebound.

Mountview took the lead moments into the second half when Gareth Kerr’s long range strike got the better of McCrory, a goal the big keeper would have been disappointed to concede.

Berthas continued to play the good football they showed all game with Graham and Parsons prominent while Taggart and Irwin were in good form at the back for Mountview. Berthas nearly drew level when Daniel Edgar plucked MacAulays long ball out of the air, turned Irwin but just dragged his shot the wrong side of the post. Berthas made a couple of subs and it was through one of these, Chris Patterson, they drew level. Berthas had a concession of long throws and corners that were causing bother in the Mountview defence and it was from a corner that they scored, Patterson arriving unmarked to power home from four yards.

With the game entering injury time and a draw looking a fair result, Mountview stole the points after a debatable decision by the referee. Harte’s cross looked a routine catch for McCrory but Doherty was using the keeper as a climbing frame, forcing McCrory to spill the ball into the net. With both sides turning for an expected free-kick, the referee awarded the goal much to the despair of the Berthas players. Man of the Match: Bo Taggart (Mountview)

Hillview FC 3 Hazelbank FC 1

Hillview took the lead in the first minute, McNeill picked up the ball on the right flank. His well flighted cross towards the back post beat everyone and found its way into the top corner of the Hazelbank goal.

Hillview extended their lead in the 77th minute.  Black found Close down the right. The winger had time to turn and played a superb one - two with Hutchinson. Close picked up the return ball, stepped inside and fired his shot into the bottom right hand corner of the Hazelbank goal. Hazelbank pulled one back in the 83rd minute. Wilson picked up the ball just inside the Hillview half and headed straight for the Hillview goal. After evading at least three challenges, he fired his low drive into the bottom left hand corner of the Hillview goal from at least 25 yards. With the game drawing to a close, Frazer picked up a well deserved goal. The striker who had earlier seen a powerful drive rebound of the post, found himself one on one with Crawford and coolly slid the ball past the advancing Hazelbank keeper. Man of the Match: Nathan Black (Hillview)

Brook Street 3 West Bann Athletic 3

Both teams were coming into this game with good spirits after midweek wins, and it was Brook St that started the better with Joel McDonald finding himself one on one with the goalkeeper with no less than four minutes on the clock. 

The game settled down and both teams battled hard to keep possession, then a slick ball played through to Martin Fleming and with only the keeper to beat from ten yards, slotted it into the back of the net. 

Just before half time you could feel the tension and frustration rising between the Brook St players and Martin Fleming was happy to take advantage of this, and popped up with his second goal and to give a half time lead of 2-1. 

The start of the second half saw a determined Brook St side knuckle down and when Boyd collected the ball in his own half and ran the length of the pitch breezing past the West Bann players, only to be stopped by a hand ball inside the box, giving Joel McDonald the chance to bring the teams level from 12 yards. 

The keeper guessed the right way, but thankfully for Joel, the ball squeezed under the keeper and into the net.  Both teams were going for the win, and the Brook St boys fought for every ball and with 20 minutes remaining Lee McDonald received the ball just inside the box, controlled with his first touch, and blasted the ball in with his second, a fine goal that surely would win any game?  But the West Bann squad weren’t laying down and within five minutes drew level when a deep free kick found Lee West rising highest nodding past a flapping keeper and into an open net. Man of the Match Jackie McVicker (Brook Street)

Ballyrashane FC 7 The Taverners 5

With Ballyrashane missing Barnes, McIntyre, McCandless and Simpson. Things were not going to be easy against the visitors who were looking to get thier first points of the season.

The visitors opened the scoring on the from a superb strike to beat Doherty in nets to make it 0-1 Taverners.

Late on in the first half D.Freeman broke through and was going for goal and was clearly fouled in the box in which Ballyrashane were awarded a penalty. D.Freeman then stepped up to take the spot kick and the keeper saved the shot but freeman scored the rebound to equalise 1-1.

Come the second half Ballyrashane made changes brought McLelland on for Dallas, moving Gray out to the wing and letting McClelland go into a striking roll.

And immediately McClelland put his mark on the game by scoring to put Ballyrashane in front 2-1. Ballyrashane middle men Hemphill and Watt started to link well pushing balls all over the place confusing the Tavern men and proving this to be a success when McGrotty got on the score sheet with a wonderful strike making it 3-1.

McClelland then got his second of the game when he gave the keeper no chance at all making thing comfortable at 4-1.

The visitors had a great chance to score from a corner kick but Doherty taking the ball and with a long punt to gray on the wing, this leaving him to set up D.Freeman to knock the ball home for his second of the game. 5-1 Ballyrashane. Taverners then came back hard and it paid of when they scored but Ballyrashane took thier foot of the gas. 5-2. With McLelland and D.Freeman both looking hatricks they both pushed hard but Taverners did not give up and put everything they had into the last 20 mins. But Leighton and Morrow both held strong.

Taverners then got their third of the game when Ballyrashane failed to clear a corner kick. 5-3. McLelland eventually got his hatrick given the well deserved name of super sub and leading 6-3. Taverners then came back again to score which was very frustrated and worse was yet to come when they scored again. 6-4. Freeman was not going to give in and he got his hatrick moments later when broke free once again and slotted the ball home nicely. 7-4. Taverners got the final goal when Doherty made a save but then the defenders failed to clear the ball and it was slotted into the net to end the game 7-5 to Ballyrashane FC. Another hard earned three points for Ballyrashane who were clearly under power on this occasion. Man of the Match: Mark McLelland (Ballyrashane)

Fixtures for Saturday - 11:00 AM

Balnamore F.C v Coleraine Olympic Fulton Park

Finn McCool’s v F.C Macosquin Bushmills

Hillview F.C v Villagers F.C Crescent 3

Macosquin Village v Hazelbank Ballysally 2

Mountview FC v Brook Street Rugby Avenue 3

Somerset v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Rugby Avenue 2

Taverners F.C v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Riada 2

West Bann Athletic v Ballyrashane Rugby Avenue 1