IT’S as you were at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter league with Glebe Rangers leading the way after the first games of 2013.
The Ballymoney men saw off Dunaghy in a tight game at Landhead Road while Hillview kept up the chase with a comfortable win at home to Ballyrashane. Mountview took the points against Finn McCools while Berthas battled to a 1-1 draw with Balnamore.
Brook Street won a great three points against Hazelbank while the FC’s, Windyhall and Macosquin shared the points in their game. In the remaining fixtures West Bann cruised home against Coleraine Olympic while The Villagers beat The Taverners.
Dunaghy Old Boys 1 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 2
The two local rivals locked horns as they resumed league duties after the festive season. Dunaghy lined up along familiar lines whilst late withdrawals for the Glebe were Lee Kyle and Aaron Stewart. DJ McBride was also unavailable due to a prior engagement. Playing against a strong head wind Glebe enjoyed the better of the first half. Bellingham’s header was diverted over whilst Wilmont went close with a fierce drive before player-boss Bellingham nodded home a cross from the impressive Reilly.
Danny Allen was forced into a fine save from Gary Dunlop as Dunaghy sought a foothold in the game, however the half ended with the visitors on top. In a complete reversal of the first period, Dunaghy took control of the game in the second half. Despite their dominaton, however, clear-cut chances were at a premium with Blair having the best but failing to score. Dunlop miraculously cleared Bellingham’s header off the line in a rare Glebe sortie but it was the home side who scored when Robinson seized on a spill by Allen before slotting home.
This seemed to shake Glebe out of their lethargy and they at last tried to exert some pressure on a Dunaghy defence bolstered by the introduction of aging warrior Richard McNabb. Wilmont seized on a Reilly through ball but was impeded by Doherty who was red-carded for the offence. From the spot-kick Alan McBride converted past stand-in keeper Clinton to give Glebe a hard-earned three points. Man of the Match: Ian Bellingham (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
Mountview FC 2 Finn McCools 0
There appeared to be of a festive hangover over both teams as this game got off to a sluggish start. There was little fluency or creativity as neither goalkeeper was truly tested until almost the half hour mark. It was the home team who were pressing the game eventually, when an interchange of passes led to Doherty hitting the post from a well struck effort from 20 yards. Darryl Wills was causing problems down the left side but couldn’t manage to hit the target.
Several minutes before the half time whistle, Finn Mc Cools almost snatched the lead when an attack on the left side caused some confusion in the home defence. Simpson in goals was relieved to see the effort rebound off the outside of the post. From this Mountview went straight up the other end, where Doherty sent Scott Fraser through on goal and he slotted home comfortably.
Mountview continued the match in the same vein as they controlled the game and were always liable to score at some stage. But McCools were proving resilient and despite several attempts, the result remained unchanged. The home side made several changes in an attempt to freshen their impetus. But the front men of Mountview were continually frustrated until Fraser delivered an excellent corner after 75 minutes and Doherty was on hand to touch home the second goal of the game.
The game’s conclusion was inevitable at this stage as the home team saw out the final minutes without adding further to the score. The game was a sporting contest and Mountview will be happy to get the new year started with a hard earned three points. Man of the Match: Aidy Calvin (Mountview FC)
Berthas FC 1 Balnamore FC 1
This was a tight encounter on paper and thats how it turned out. As a whole, Balnamore played the nicer football while Berthas created more chances, though failed to capitalise on all but one of them. Berthas had a great start when from the center, Drake played in Pollock on the right but Elder was out quick to knock the ball out for a corner kick. The next 20 minutes were fairly even until Berthas took the lead when Caldwell rose above everybody to head home Patterson’s long throw.
Balnamore had the chance to gain a quick equaliser but McIlreavy made a great last ditch tackle to thwart McDowell. Half chances came and went with Elder saving a decent strike from McLaughlin the best of them. Into the second half and it was more of the same with Balnamore playing nice football without mustering much on goal. The home team had a couple more decent chances with route one proving successful but neither McLaughlin nor Pollock could give their team further advantage.
Balnamore sent on Nicky Tweed to push for an equalier and they drew level after good individual play from Andy Hegarty. Following a short corner, he beat two men and crossed into the box, Tweed’s shot was saved by Elder, the rebound was then cleared off the line by Pollock only to bounce off someone and into the net for a very scrappy equaliser. Elder then made a good stop from Hegarty following another
Balnamore corner. Both teams battled on with Elder saving twice from Caldwell but the final whistle came with a draw probably a fair result. Man of the Match: Andy Hegarty (Balnamore)
The Taverners 0 The Villagers 3
The Villagers ended 2012 on their worst runs of form for four years and came into this match with a point to prove. The match started with few chances as both teams seemed to be sussing each other out, eventually the villagers settled and started passing the ball and pressing the Taverners which led to the ball coming to Stuart Parke who delivered a superb cross for Lee Wilson to put the villagers 1-0 up with a back post header on 25 minutes.
The Taverners didn’t respond and it was again the Villagers creating chances and 2-0 followed when Steele crossed, Friel flicked on and Wilson finished well into the roof of the net in the 39th minute. In the second half the Taverners came at the Villagers with onslaught after onslaught but the Villagers defence and Jason Best coped superbly with the constant attacks.
On 75 minutes Taverners were reduced to ten men when McMullan was sent off for violent conduct. The Villagers seized the initiative and Wilson hit a post. On 90 minutes Wilson completed his hat-trick when MacFarlane played a through ball and he rounded the keeper to make it 3-0. That’s how it ended and all in all a great day for the Villagers was made better with the late run out of Ryan Pollock, returning from a broken ankle. Man of the Match: Davy Pollock (The Villagers)
Fixtures Saturday 12 January - Balnamore FC v Hazelbank Fulton Park, FC Macosquin v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Rugby Avenue 2, FC Windyhall v Villagers FC Rugby Avenue 4, Finn McCool’s v Brook Street Bushmills, Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Ballyrashane Megaw Park, Hillview FC v Coleraine Olympic Crescent 3, Mountview FC v Taverners FC Rugby Avenue 3, West Bann Athletic v Bertha’s FC Rugby Avenue 1.