Only four games took place in the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League at the weekend with no real change at the top folowing their completion.
Berthas FC and West Bann Athletic could only draw their games while Glebe Rangers Old Boys comfortably saw off Coleraine Olympic.
In the other game played, The Villagers won by the off goal in 5 against FC Windyhall.
This Saturday hosts the semi finals of the Knockout Cup with holders Glebe Rangers Old Boys, Berthas FC, West Bann Athletic and Dunaghy Old Boys all vying for places in the end of season finale. Keep an eye on fixture details at www.htwl.leaguerepublic.com. All teams should note that fixtures are subject to change.
Berthas FC 1
Balnamore FC 1
Both teams came into this game far from full strength, only naming 23 players between them on the match card.
It was the home side who started off the best with Stewart dragging wide when slipped in by Ridgell. They took the lead when a corner fell to Hoey at the back stick and he controlled before curling a delightful strike into the top corner.
Stewart should have increased his team’s lead but McLaughlin made a good stop from the striker with Pollock firing over the rebound.
Berthas continued to press and Connor made a great block when Hanna looked well placed to score.
Balnamore rarely threatened in the first half but drew level when the Berthas backline let McLaughlin’s long punt forward bounce, Lee Kelly was quickest to react and he fired the ball past Elder.
In the second half it was the away team most likely to score with David McDowell heading over and Lee Kelly testing Elder on a couple of occasions. Near the end Balnamore had two good penalty shouts waved away inbetween Kelly forcing another good save out of Elder. Man of the Match: Joe Connor (Balnamore FC)
West Bann Athletic 3
Hazelbank FC 3
West Bann Athletic and Hazelbank produced a game which finished 3-3 but could have quiet easily been 10 apiece.
Hazelbank led 3-1 at half time with goals from Gavin Kelly from the spot just before half time and a double from James Tosh.
Athletic’s Greg McAfee gave West Bann some semblance of hope going into the second half. Athletic rung the changes and formation but had to wait until the 70 minute to get a goal back through Martin Pancott.
Athletic equalised in the last minute of normal time through Aaron McLelland and should maybe of stole it at the end however Phil Stevenson’s shot went just the wrong side of the post.
Honours even at the end in a game Athletic needed to win in the fight for runners up and a game Hazelbank maybe could have had three points if only. Man of the Match: Jimmy Smyth (Hazelbank)
Coleraine Olympic 0
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 4
Olympic entertained Glebe Old Boys at The Crescent playing fields on Saturday morning with the Old Boys down to 11 fit players.
Returning to the line-up after recent indiscretions was Colin McFetridge who slotted in at left back with Alan Walls given a more advanced role on the left side of midfield. In an even opening spell neither keeper was tested until Steele found himself in space and found the target with a well-judged effort over Doherty. The same player then made it two when his low effort from Bellingham’s pass found the net just before half-time.
The Old Boys had the majority of possession in the second period but were unable to add to their tally until Les Nicholl scored with a fine header from a Walls cross.
DJ McBride, making a welcome return to the fray alongside fellow veteran Mervyn Greer, scored his first for a couple of seasons with a close-range header in the 67th minute.
Nicholl then hit a post but, with Doherty and Paul Carry in resolute mood for Olympic and man of the match Stephen Elder in impressive form for the Old Boys, there was to be no further soring. Man of the Match: Stephen Elder (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
Glebe Rangers Old Boys would like to thank all who supported their recent Night at the Races from race sponsors, those who bought horses and those who attended on the night with special thanks once again to main sponsor the Manor Hotel.
FC Windyhall 2
The Villagers 3
Windyhall had to play this match with ten men, due to a shortage of players, The Villagers themselves could only field one sub for the same reason.
The match started as expected with the Villagers dominating and playing a very nice passing game and were unlucky not to score on a few occasions. It was 1-0 to the Villagers after about 15 mins when Cutmore played a pass to Maguire who put in a tremendous cross for Shirlow to finish brilliantly.
It was 1-1 from nowhere however, Windyhall had a throw in and the ref awarded them a highly debatable penalty, which Ferguson just managed to squeeze it past Best.
In the second half Windyhall upped their game but the Villagers made it 2-1, thanks to a great header from the gaffer Rab Friel. It was 3-1 when Danton squared to Shirlow who finished well.
With five minutes to go Windyhall got back into the game when MacFarlane made a mess of a clearance and while Best saved well the first effort he was powerless to stop Tennant scoring.
It finished 3-2 to the Villagers, although Windyhall deserve credit for their performance. The Villagers didn’t play great, won, could and should have scored more. Man of the Match: Alan Grills (FC Windyhall)