Mountview, Hazelbank, West Bann Athletic and The Villagers will contest the semi final of the Hutchinson Tiles Knockout Cup after Saturday’s round of games.
Mountview needed penalties to see off league leaders Glebe Rangers while Hazelbank took the scalp of the last season’s winners Dunaghy Old Boys. West Bann Athletic came from behind to beat Balnamore while The Villagers caused the shock of the round, winning by the odd goal in 13 in a ding dong game against Macosquin Village.
In the league, there were wins for Berthas FC, Brook Street and a first win of the season for Coleraine Olympic.
The league now seems a two horse race between Glebe Rangers Old Boys and Mountview FC after Macosquin Village’s midweek defeat leaves them off the pace at the top.
This week sees teams having to play games on Monday and Wednesday night along with the coming Saturday and feast of games could prove definitive as to where the Hutchinson Tiles League table will be heading this season.
This Saturday also sees the semi final of the Knockout Shield take place with the top two, Mountview and Glebe expected to progress to the final but they won’t get it easy against strong opposition in holders Balnamore and Hazelbank respectively.
Mountview FC 2 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 2
With only a point separating these teams in the league, both sides knew this was going to be a tight affair. The home side settled well early on, but it was Glebe midfielder Greer who was to have the first shot on target. His effort though from outside the box was straight at McLaughlin in the home goal.
Chances were to be few and far between in the first half as both sides worked tirelessly to stop the other from getting into any sort of rhythm. Mountview though were presented with a great opportunity to take the lead just before the interval. A poor clearance from Allen was picked up by Martin who took the ball in his stride, before crossing to Doherty at the back post. The striker though failed to connect with the ball with the net at his mercy.
The second half saw both teams start in determined fashion. The deadlock was broken on 52 minutes when Doherty had the ball taken from him by McCurdy. The midfielder then released Steele who fired past McLaughlin.
Four minutes later and the sides were all square again. Parsons hitting the ball to Fraser who tapped inside for Doherty to fire home giving Allen no chance. Both sides pushed to gain the upper hand but good defending or poor final ball like the first half chances were at a minimum.
With the game heading towards extra time, Steele almost gave his the side the victory. This time a poor clearance from Mountview was seized upon by Greer who fed the ball through to Steele. The striker though was denied as McLaughlin pulled off a great save to keep his side in the game.
At the start of extra time it was obvious neither side wanted the result to go to penalties as once again both pushed for a winner. Mountview got themselves in front just before the end of the first period. Doherty getting in front of Allen to head the ball to the back post where Parsons was waiting. The veteran having time to control the ball before tapping in. The second period saw Glebe Old Boys throw everything into attack in search of an equaliser. The visitors thought they had equalised with five minutes left. A corner from the left found its way to Steele who headed back across goal into the path of Bellingham. The defender’s powerful header from point blank range though, was brilliantly turned away by McLaughlin.
From the resulting corner, the visitors drew level. A goalmouth scramble saw the ball break to Surgenor, who smashed home from the edge of the box.
The outcome was now going to be decided on penalties. The Glebe must have thought it was their day when Allen got down well to save from Wallace. McLaughlin, however had other ideas as he saved first from Bellingham and then Holmes to take his side into the semi-final. Man of the Match: Paul Wallace (Mountview)
Macosquin Village 6 The Villagers 7
The Villagers pulled off a major shock as the saw off high flying Macosquin Village. It all started according to the script though as Stewart gave a weakened Macosquin side the lead. But Ryan Shirlow levelled things up when he chipped the keeper from 20 yards.
And the visitors edged in front as MacFarlane scored from Calvin’s pass. The striker was on form and completed his hat-trick before the hosts pulled a goal back before the break to make it 4-2. The Villagers scored first in the second half as Parke released MacFarlane, who unselfishly teed up Shirlow to score. But again Macosquin hit back. But shortly after Villagers made it 6-3 as MacFarlane picked up the loose ball and lobbed the keeper. To their credit though Davy McNeill’s side never gave up and the remarkably drew themselves level at 6-6 as it looked like the Villagers had thrown it away.
But with just two minutes to go MacFarlane teed up Shirlow and he kept his cool to score the 13th and final goal and seal a semi final spot for his side.
The whole team were excellent especially big Trevor Hutchinson who got the man of the match for his efforts. Macosquin were missing a few players but their commitment and battling was excellent on a roller-coaster cup quarter-final. The Villagers can now look forward to their first semi-final in this tournament. Man of the Match: Trevor Hutchinson (The Villagers) Dunaghy Old Boys 0 Hazelbank FC 3
This was the second meeting between the sides in three days and buoyed by their victory in midweek Hazelbank started brightly. James Diver and Colin McClarty both went close in the opening stages.
The break through arrived on 20 minutes for the visitors as Kinnaird failed to hold Sheppard’s long range free kick and McClarty poked in the rebound. The hosts responded with Paul Robinson going close from Fulton’s cross. It was the visitors though who almost scored again before the break as Brian Alcorn crashed a header off the bar.
Dunaghy started the second half in determined fashion and Laverty had Crawford at full stretch to palm his volley around the post. The big stopper also palmed over a poweful drive from the same palyer to keep his side in the ascendancy.
Hazelbank though took a giant step towards the semi finals as Stephen McCartney grabbed the second goal after some great football, with the midfielder smashing the ball home from the edge of the box.
Dave McClean came on and his endless running pressurised Dunaghy and he almost grabbed a couple of goals. First Smith sent him clear but his shot came off the post and away to safety, before he fired just wide from Sheppard’s lay off. He returned the favour for Sheppard moments later as he robbed the ball off Kinnaird before teeing up the winger, but Nigel somehow fired over from six yards with the ball landing close to the Ballymoney line! A third goal did arrive soon after though as Diver rounded the keeper to slot home and send Hazelbank into their third semi final in as many years. Man of the Match: Stephen McCartney (Hazelbank)
West Bann Athletic 2 Balnamore FC 1
West Bann Athletic faced Balnamore for the second time in the space of a week this time in the quarter final of the Hutchinson Tiles Cup. Balnamore started the brighter of the two teams and looked the more likely but were unable to breach Athletic’s backline for much of the first half.
Athletic were punished in the 33rd minute when Simon Armstrong gave Balnamore the lead when presented with the opportunity to leave the score 1-0 at half-time. West Bann Athletic started the second half with more urgency looking to get themselves back into the game. Athletic deservedly got there equaliser in the 82nd minute when Michael Olphert’s corner was helped over the line by a Balnamore defender. Athletic got the winner in the 86th minute via the penalty spot which was coolly converted by Michael Olphert to leave the score 2-1 to West Bann Athletic at full-time and take them into the semi-final of the HT Cup for the first time where they will play the in form Hazelbank. All involved with West Bann Athletic would like to pass on their condolences to current player Tommy McColgan and former player Lee West whose grandfather sadly passed away at the beginning of the week. Man of the Match: Peter O’Kane (West Bann Athletic)
The Taverners 1 Berthas FC 2
The away side were coming off the back of a fantastic midweek performance against Macosquin Village while the home team were having a poor run of results. Script being that, Berthas were expected to see this one home comfortably but that turned out to be far from the truth.
Berthas created the first decent chance but Willie Parsons could only shoot straight at Robert Cage from close range. The same player had a shot from distance saved by Cage and Daniel Edgar also had a claim for handball turned down. The pacy Neal Thompson was proving a tricky customer for the Ballymoney men and it was his initial run that created the opener. He advanced forward before finding Elder in space who slipped in Raymond O’Boyle with a lovely pass and he placed the ball well across Elder in the Berthas net.
The away side huffed and puffed again in the second half with Edgar, David Patterson and Ricky Pollock all going close but it looked like it was going to be one of those days for the away team with a mixture of good defending and luck heavily on the home team’s side. The Taverners nearly doubled the advantage twice with Stephen Elder shooting just wide from distance with some last minute scrambling from Parsons and Cochrane kept out another attack.
Enter Berthas sub David Laverty and he proved to be the man to change the game. He brought his side level with a mazy run forward, beating three men before firing low into the bottom corner. With five minutes to go, his excellent cross was handled in the box and gave his team the chance to take the lead. Up stepped Andy MacAulay and he hammered the ball into the top corner.
Berthas then nearly grabbed a third but Laverty miscued when well placed. Man of the Match: Peter Cochrane (Berthas FC)
Finn McCools 2 Brook Street 3
Both sides made a bright start to this encounter with McAllister in the visitors’ goal forced into a good save on 10 minutes. It was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 27 minutes though as Watton picked up the loose ball and slotted home. One soon became two as Parke latched on to a long ball before rounding the keeper and slotting home.
Brook Street reduced the deficit almost immediately as the Finns keeper failed to deal with a shot and the alert Morton poked home the rebound. Their manager Paul Duffy gave an inspirational half time talk and the visitors felt they could grab something from the second half.
And so it proved as they piled on the pressure as they had a number of efforts scrambled away before Nark Dinsmore fired in the equaliser on 68 minutes.
With only minutes remaining neither team wanted a draw and with the sun zapping the energy from the players a moments lack of concentration from the Finn McCools defence saw Steven Morton pick up the ball, glide past the defender, round the keeper and roll the ball into the net from a tight angle. Man of the Match: Andrew Campbell (Brook Street)
Somerset FC 1 Coleraine Olympic 3
With both teams struggling for points all season it was always going to be a battle and a matter of pride. Olympic were still looking for their first win of the season and they deservedly came out top in this game. Olympic started the brightest having most of the possession but the Somerset defence held their own until a close range header by defender Andy Rollins from a Davy Cavan corner put Olympic ahead.
Olympic pushed for a second but it was Somerset who got themselves back in the match. A long ball from a free kick found their striker who hit a superb shot from just inside the box into the top corner to level the match. With the first half coming to an end, Olympic hit the bar from a Ryan McCrudden chip with the Somerset keeper getting back in time to save the follow up from James Penny.
The second half started again with Olympic pushing for their second goal and it came early in courtesy of Craig Calvin breaking the Somerset offside trap and calmly slotting the ball past the Somerset keeper. Olympic kept pressing for their third goal but the Somerset keeper made some important saves. Somerset had a few chances to draw level but couldn’t take them and Olympic made them pay as Davy Cavan ran through to deftly chip the on rushing keeper to put the game out of sight and give Coleraine Olympic a much deserved first win of the season. Man of the Match: Niall Harrigan (Coleraine Olympic)
Saturday 21 April
Bertha’s F.C v West Bann Athletic Castlerock
Coleraine Olympic v Finn McCool’s Rugby Avenue 2
Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Brook Street Dunaghy
Hillview FC v Macosquin Village Crescent 3
Somerset v Villagers FC Rugby Avenue 3
C Balnamore FC v Mountview FC Fulton Park
C Hazelbank v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Rugby Avenue 1