Glebe Rangers Old Boys closed the gap at the top of theHitchinson Tiles Winter League on Saturday with a win away to Dunaghy Old Boys.
That coupled with Berthas draw with Millburn means Ian Bellingham’s men are now two points behind Berthas but with a game in hand.
Hazelbank picked up a good win over West Bann Athletic while Ballymoney Olympic Old Boys continued their strong form of late with victory against Finn McCools. Portrush rattled in 8 in their win at Ballyrashane while Balnamore and The Villagers both scored 6 in their victories.
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Berthas FC 2 Millburn FC 2
It was the home team who took the lead early on when MacAulay fired home from the spot after Stewart had been brought down.
They should have doubled their lead soon after when Hanna chose to pass rather than shoot when well placed in the box. Millburn were playing some good neat football and the pace of Cahoon up front was causing Berthas some concern and it was fro that they got level.
A long ball over the top found Cahoon who raced clear and he squared the ball to Scott Nesbitt who finish from close range. They continued to press at the Berthas backline with Kane saving from McFadden. Millburn grabbed the lead right at the end of the half when the ball dropped at the edge of the area for Glen McLaughlin to drill home.
Berthas were looking a shadow of their normal play but finally got going with Stewart firing wide and McLaughlin firing over from distance. They grabbed the equaliser when Stockman picked out Davy Campbell in the box and he showed a cool head to control the ball and prod home into the net.
Millburn nearly grabbed the lead moments later when Cahoon found Nesbitt in space but Kane made a good save to keep the score level. Right at the death Berthas should have scored a third when Cochrane blazed over from close range with the goal at his mercy. Man of the Match: Curtis Boreland (Millburn)
Dunaghy Old Boys 1
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 3
Dunaghy met Glebe in this clash of the old stagers at an extremely windy Dunaghy on Saturday morning and it was the visitors who emerged victorious after what can only be described as a battle.
Playing with the wind at their backs Glebe failed to trouble McIntyre in the early stages and it was Robinson and Ricky “Chin” Blair who had the best chances in the opening stages, however both failed to trouble Allen. It was left to new Glebe boss Jason Wilmont to open the scoring in the 24th minute with a fine angled shot into the bottom corner.
The goal settled Glebe who increased their lead when Ricky Blair glanced a free-kick into his own net and then the visitors made it three with another fine Wilmont finish. The second half saw Glebe defend their lead with Allen making a couple of great stops to deny big Chin Blair.
Coulter was introduced for his first appearance of the season and turned in his best appearance in five. Indeed JC could have made it four but his header went over when well placed. With Wilmont feeling the pressures of management he was withdrawn to give McFetridge a ten minute cameo as centre-forward and the veteran responded well with no obvious side-effects reported.
As time ran out Josie Small reduced the arears when his effort from long range slipped through the otherwise impressive Allen’s fingers. Man of the Match: Alan Walls (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
Hazelbank FC 4
West Bann Athletic 1
Hazelbank picked up and much needed and deserved win over West Bann Athletic on Saturday morning.
Stevie Friel’s side had to do it the hard way with several players missing and also fighting back from a goal down. The visitors took the lead midway through the first half when McClelland tried his luck from distance, Crawford got his hand to the ball but it ballooned up and into the net. The hosts didn’t let it affect them though and drew level soon after. A flowing move saw Smyth and the two McClarty’s combine to tee up Wilson, who expertly finished first time into the far corner.
Hazelbank went in front minutes later in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Paul Jones failed to deal with a high ball into the box, an attempted clearance cannoned off the elder McClarty and into the net.
West Bann almost hit back straight away as Greg McAfee broke clear, but Crawford stood up big and beat away the effort with his right hand.
Into the second half and Hazelbank picked up where they left off as another great footballing move saw Wilson played through again and again he produced an excellent finish.
West Bann had a lot of possession after the goal but they never really troubled the home defence. Stevie Friel’s side wrapped up the win with 15 minutes to go as Colin McClarty fired home from the spot after James Penny had been brought down. Man of the Match: Ciaran Wilson (Hazelbank)
Ballymoney Oly Old Boys 3 Finn McCools 2
It was the visitors who took a surprise lead with a goal from McAfee.
Olympic hit back in magnificent fashion with a thunder bolt from David Shirley In the second half the home team took control with goals from Shepherd and Warren Blair.
But with seven minutes to go Finns hit their second from Scott Craig, which left it a nervous ending for the home team with the away side putting a lot of pressure on the olympic defence.
Steven Nutt nearly put the game to bed for Olympic with a ferocious strke which hit the cross bar. Man of the Match: Warren Blair (Ballymoney Olympic Old Boys)
Ballyrashane FC 1
Portrush Old Boys 8
Portrush opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Wills played the ball out of defence into McAllister who held the ball up and passed to Parsons to shoot from outside the box low into the corner of the net.
Portrush exteneded their lead when Hamilton scored his first of the season cleverly finishing after a corner kick. He turned provider, crossing for Parsons to head into the net for his second and the Ports third.
Portrush’s fourth came from an exchange in the middle of the park which ended at McAllister’s feet and he crossed for the impressive Hamilton to head home.
Ballyrashane battled hard towards the end of the half and got their rewards with a fine individual goal when Neill unleashed a drive from 25 yards which whistled into the top corner giving McCullough in nets no chance.
Portrush continued in the same vein in the second half and Newton got himself on the score sheet. Portrush constantly looked a threat and both full backs got in one the act, Wills and Kerr scoring great individual goals. Newton completed the scoring when Mitchell put him through to give Portrush a deserved three points. Man of the Match: James Hamilton (Portrush Old Boys)
Balnamore FC 6
FC Windyhall 1
Lee Kelly opened the scoring for Balnamore with good movement and a placed ball beyond Newman in goal.
Manager Ryan Mooney made it two with an excellent run and shot. Number three came as Ryan Mooney pounced on a deflection to slot beyond the keeper.
Mooney then turned provider as he laid on for David Mc Dowell to score from close range. Windyhall emerged a different team for the second half, a more positive attacking side creating long spells of pressure.
The Balnamore defence were solid, but for a long punt up field as Hutchinson found the net with a delicate touch to beat Darren Mooney deputising in goal.
Balnamore finally killed the game off with another Lee Kelly goal, and at the end Brent Watton fired in number Six to give Balnamore the points. Man of the Match: David Mc Dowell (Balnamore) F.C. Windyhall are on the look out for players for next season, as the team intends to have a first and a second team next season. If you are aged 16yrs or over please contact Davy Cochrane either through the H.T.W.L website or by telephone on 07927171046
Coleraine Olympic 2
The Villagers 6
The Villagers took the lead after Gaile’s exquisite pass released Danton to score.
Calvin made it 2-0 on 23 minutes as he curled home, before the birthday boy Robinson released Maguire who finished well.
The visitors missed a penalty and other chances before Shirlow showed his predatory instict to grab the fourth.
It was more of the same after the break as Pollock scored the fifth and Shirlow got his second of the game to make it 6-0.
Olympic pulled back a couple of late consolations through McCrudden before Maguire was given his marching orders late on much to The Villagers dismay.
The Villagers will be pleased to get back to winning ways and Olympic can take pride from the way they finished. Man of the Match: Wesley Calvin (The Villagers)