Glebe Rangers Old Boys are the new holders of the Challenge Shield after Saturday’s final.
Ian Bellingham’s men took victory over fellow title challengers Mountview in a tight contest at Anderson’s Park. Both teams are still in the hunt for league honours with the Glebe having one more game to play while Mountview have two. If both teams win their games then a playoff between the sides will take place to decide where the league trophy will go. Mountview will also contest the final of the Knockout Cup later on in the month.
In the weekend’s league action there was big wins for West Bann Athletic and FC Macosquin against Hazelbank and Mountview respectively. Dunaghy Old Boys took the points in a tougher than expected game against nine-men Macosquin Village.
The final of the Hutchinson Tiles Knockout Cup will be played at The Rope Walk on Saturday 26 May. With an 11am Kickoff. The Annual Presentation of Awards will also be held later that day, further details will appear later.
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 2 Mountview FC 0
The two teams who are currently battling it out at the top of the table met in the final of the Shield at Anderson Park on Saturday afternoon. In what turned out to be a hard-fought encounter it was Mountview who had the best of the opening 15 minutes with Scott Frazer having their best chance when he lobbed Allen but the Glebe keeper was able to recover and prevent the goal. Gradually the Old Boys came more into the game and Blair blazed over when well-placed in the box.
In particular the Old Boys were dangerous from set-pieces and Bellingham had a number of efforts, the closest when his header from a Nicholl corner grazed the crossbar. Mountview were dangerous on the break and the Glebe defence, including man of the match Bellingham, had to be on their guard throughout. McCurdy drew a fine save from McLaughlin as the Old Boys finished the half on the front foot.
This pattern continued at the start of the second half although clear-cut chances were at a premium. Both teams were showing the effects of their recent hectic schedules as they made a number of substitutions. And it was one of Glebe’s subs, Davy Walker, who was instrumental in the opening goal when he was brought down as he broke through the Mountview defence. Ref Willie McConaghie pointed to the spot and McCurdy slotted home.
Mountview responded and had an opportunity when Mitchell found himself free inside the box but the ball just wouldn’t come down for him and Allen gathered his header. The Old Boys then scored the decisive goal when Elder’s fierce drive found the net after a Walker corner. Mountview pressed hard but the Glebe defence, with Surgenor outstanding, held firm and so it was the Old Boys who lifted the first silverware of the season to the delight of their travelling support. Man of the Match: Ian Bellingham (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
FC Macosquin 6 Hillview FC 3
With other results going their way FC Macosquin knew that three points in this game would give them fourth spot in the league. And as this was the last game of the season for Hillview both teams decided to give it a go. It was Macosquin who struck first when Watson ran onto a ball from McClelland to strike first blood. Macosquin struck again soon after when Noel Downs who has been so deadly in front of goal for most of the season struck from inside the box to double the lead.
Hillview had chances but were failing to find the net until McVey went on a solo run from midfield, beat six players then calmly stroked the ball past the keeper. After half time Macosquin went for the throat and widened their lead with another fine strike from Watson, a great strike from McClelland and the customary goal from McGuinness. Number six was a joy to watch when centre back Craig Caldwell went on a run from his own box and finished in the other box to blast past the keeper. The goal was great, the celebration was dreadful.
Hillview continued to fight until the end, and after their manager came off the bench to pull the strings up front they scored two in the last five minutes to make the score a respectable 6-3. Three valuable points for Macosquin and a top four finish all but secured in what has been a great season for the whole team. Man of the Match: Craig Caldwell (FC Macosquin)
West Bann Athletic 6 Hazelbank FC 3
West Bann Athletic met Hazelbank at Rugby Avenue only a week after their semi final encounter which saw Hazelbank run out comfortable winners. The home side were hoping to get some kind of result to stop a three game winless streak after suffering defeat in midweek to Berthas. Hazelbank took the lead through John Farrell early on and the same player should have made it 2-0 shortly after when one on one with the Athletic keeper however his shot went the wrong side of the crossbar.
With 20 minutes on the clock Mark Crawford made it 2-0 when he found himself in space 12 yards out and his shot found the net through a ruck of players. Athletic got themselves back into the game in the 26 minute through Martin Fleming who finished well at the back post. Athletic made it 2-2 in the 41st minute when Michael Olphert unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards out.
Hazelbank had the last say of the half however when Davey McLean nipped in at the back post to give Hazelbank a 3-2 lead at half time. Athletic started the second half in positive fashion and went close on a couple of occasions. Athletic however had to wait until the 55 minute for there equaliser with Jody Woods finishing well, chipping the Hazelbank keeper to make it 3-3.
Martin Robinson put the home team 4-3 up two minutes later when he scored a fine individual goal. Athletic were awarded a penalty in the 63 minute when Martin Fleming was upended, up stepped Michael Olphert who made no mistake from 12 yards. Aaron McLelland capped off a good individual and team performance when he made it 6-3 in the 88th minute with a great strike from 25 yards which gave Crawford no chance.
West Bann Athletic wish Hazelbank player James Diver a speedy recovery from his injury sustained in midweek and good luck to Hazelbank FC in the final of the Hutchinson Tiles Cup. Man of the Match: Martin Fleming (West Bann Athletic FC)
Dunaghy Old Boys 3 Macosquin Village 1
Macosquin village played this game against Dunaghy with only nine men. The Old Boys created chances from the start but a combination of good keeping and wasteful finishing kept the first 20 minutes scoreless. Stewart’s work rate up front was rewarded when his shot was well saved and his rebound was lobbed into the net for 1-0. Dunaghy were stunned but got on level terms when M Blair’s lob found the net from all of 40 yards.
Hickinson then put old boys in front when he evaded a couple of tackles on edge of eighteen and shot low into bottom corner. The second half was much of the same Macosquin battling hard but W Blair put it beyond them with a cool finish for a 3-1 lead. This was how it finished, three points for Dunaghy but Macosquin with all the credit. Man of the Match: Darren Stewart (Macosquin Village)
Wednesday 9 May 7pm
Coleraine Olympic v Hazelbank Rugby Avenue 1
Macosquin Village v Villagers FC Crescent 3
Mountview FC v Ballyrashane Rugby Avenue 3
West Bann Athletic v Dunaghy Old Boys Rugby Avenue 2
Saturday 12 May
Ballyrashane v Bertha’s FC Crescent 3
Hazelbank v Villagers FC Rugby Avenue 3
Macosquin Village v FC Macosquin Ballysally 2
West Bann Athletic v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Rugby Avenue 2