No shocks in Knockout Shield

It was a case of ‘as expected’ on Saturday in the first round of the Knockout Shield with all fancied teams progressing to the quarterfinals, albeit with different margins of difficulty.

In the big game of the day, it took a penalty shoot out for Mountview to beat FC Macosquin while in the other big tie, extra time was needed for Hillview to see off The Taverners. Dunaghy Old Boys took a good win at home to West Bann Athletic while Balnamore comfortably seen off Finn McCools as did Berthas against Coleraine Olympic.

The Villagers would have been expected to have dealt with Somerset with a lot more efficiently than they did but a in the end they were made to battle for a 2-1 victory. In the remaining game, Glebe Rangers Old Boys progressed to the next round with a good win against an improving Ballyrashane team.

In the league and in the chase for the N&N Trophies sponsored Golden Boot, Macosquin Village player Donald Newton currently leads the way on 31 goals with Glebe Rangers player James Steele his nearest challenger on 26 goals.

PLEASE NOTE: The March monthly meeting will now take place on Monday 12th at 7.30pm at the Railway Arms.

Mountview FC 2 FC Macosquin 2

This match was to live up to its tag as “game of the round”. The visitors were quickly into their stride and made the most of a sluggish start by the home side. The away side eventually took a deserved lead with 30 mins played. The goal however, owed alot to the surface of the pitch. The ball looked to be making its way safely back to McLaughlin in the home goal. Unfortunately, for the keeper, it bounced up just in front of him and he could only manage to slice the ball high in the air and into the path of FC’s striker, who calmly slotted home.

Their lead however was short lived, as the home side levelled two minutes later. Johnston heading home from Wills corner. This seemed to spark the home side into life and they more than matched the visitors for the remainder of the half but neither side added to their tally before the break.

The second half started as the first had ended with the game now flowing quickly from end to end. However, both defences were having the better of their opposing strikers, and so chances were kept to a minimum. Mountview then took the lead 10 minutes into the first half of extra time. Doherty firing home after good work by McLelland.

The visitors pushed in search of an equaliser with McLaughlin having to be on his toes on a number of occasions. Their efforts though looked to be in vain, until a rare mistake, involving Taggart and Watton for the home side, allowed the visitors to level with two minutes remaining through McGahon.

The outcome of the game was now going to be decided on penalties. However, like the match, there was to be little between the two teams. With 5 penalties each taken there was still no winner. Watton blasted his spot kick home before McLaughlin pulled off a great save from Watson to take the home side through to the next round. Man of the Match: Hugh McLaughlin (Mountview)

Dunaghy Old Boys 3 West Bann Athletic 0

From the start Dunaghy took the game to West Bann. Dunlop’s low drive was well saved followed shortly by a great save from Robinson whose shot looked destined for the top corner. On 18 minutes the Old boys went one up with N Blair beating the full back to the by line before pulling it back for Laverty whose shot was well saved by the keeper’s legs but Robinson followed up and smashed the rebound into the top corner.

West Bann were being overrun in midfield with Dunlop and Patton at the centre of it all. It was a Patton free kick on 35 minutes which resulted in Dunlop getting between two defenders and powering his header beyond the keeper’s outstretched arm and into the bottom corner. The second half was hard fought both teams defending well but on 70 minutes Dunaghy were awarded a penalty but for the second week running Robo’s spot kick was saved. This gave West Bann hope and on 78 minutes Dunaghy’s keeper Kinnaird pulled off a superb save to his bottom left hand corner from a header.

On 85 minutes the game was sealed when Bartlett rolled his pass invitingly across for W Blair who hit it first time low into the far corner. Man of the Match: Gary Dunlop (Dunaghy Old Boys)

Balnamore FC 4 Finn McCools 1

Balnamore rolled out what was probably their best performance of the season to overcome a hard working Finns side. From the start the home team had a sense of urgency and within a few minutes found themselves one up. A Joe Connor header thundered off the cross bar from Noel Hallidays corner but there was Simon Armstrong to slide the ball home from six yards.

Finns were finding it tough getting the ball from a well organised Balnamore side and were punished soon after, Armstrong scoring his second. The home team played good sharp passing football and were rewarded with a well worked goal, and again it was that man Simon Armstrong polishing off his hat-trick. After the break the Bushmills men came into the game more and for spells showed the kind of football they can play, but any chance of a comeback was thwarted on the hour mark when big ‘Toby’ Ryan McLaughlin collected a well timed pass from Andy Heggarty, evaded a couple of challenges and scored Balnamore’s fourth. Ali Dobbin headed a consolation goal late on for the Finns men but all too late as Balnamore march on to the next round. Man of the Match: Simon Armstrong (Balnamore)

The Villagers 2 Somerset FC 1

The Villagers and they took the lead on 25 minutes as Wilson teed up MacFarlane. Somerset have improved a lot since the start of the season and put pressure on the Villagers, who to be honest were dreadful. The second half started with Somerset again attacking but with no cutting edge, then on 65 mins a debatable penalty was awarded to Somerset and despatched brilliantly by Cochrane.

The villagers woke up and Best was unlucky to have his effort cleared off the line. On 75 minutes a very debatable goal was scored by the Villagers when McFarlane was thought to have taken the ball out of play, he carried on and squared to Keith Gallagher who finished well. Summing up this match the better team on the day lost, but credit to the villagers for grinding out a win. Man of the Match: Davy Pollock (The Villagers)

Hillview FC 5 The Taverners 3 (aet) Taverners took the lead with a spectacular goal with thirty minutes on the clock. A clearance from a corner fell to Thompson on the edge of the box. The winger with his back to goal fired an over head kick giving McDowell no chance.

The away side extended their lead five minutes later. A deflected shot fell to Doherty six yards out and the striker just had to place the ball to the side of McDowell.

Hillview pulled one back just before half time. Close’s drive from the left hand corner of box flew straight into the top corner. The home side leveled the scoring five minutes into the second half. Frazer kept a cool head to turn and slide the ball past the keeper. Taverners’ continued to hunt in packs and took the lead again with 20 minutes to go as Thompson slotted home.

With the game in injury time Hillview equalised again. Close broke down the left and his cross beat everyone and found Fillis at the back post to score. The away side had substituted both their strikers in normal time and this provided Hillview with the advantage in extra time.

They took the lead for the first time in the game in the first half of injury time. A long throw from McCrellis was flicked on by Frazer and fell to Close who slid the ball past the keeper. Hillview sealed the win in the second period of extra time. Doherty’s through ball found Black, who turned his marker and fired home. Man of the Match: Nigel McVey (Hillview)

Ballyrashane FC 1 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 3

After last week’s heroics Ivan Elder replaced the unavailable Colin McBride in the only change to the Old Boy’s starting line-up. With a strong wind blowing Glebe kicked off and immediately went on the offensive. Steele and Elder both wasted gilt-edged chances, Steele when well-placed inside the box and Elder with only Doherty to beat.

Surgenor, voted man of the match by whistler Frankie Hiles, was providing an outlet on the Glebe left wing along with the wily Wilmont and it was from this source that the visitors were to open the scoring. Surgenor whipped in a cross and there was man of the moment Elder to provide the decisive touch although the unfortunate Ian Glass was credited with an own goal.

As the half wore on Ballyrashane came more and more into the game and with Freeman to the fore in attack they began to cause the Old Boy’s rearguard a few problems without really testing Allen. A whirlwind start to the second half saw Ballyrashane maintain their momentum and they were to dominate the first twenty five minutes of the half. McGrotty and McLelland were proving a handful as the home team created a number of well-worked chances and it was no surprise when McGrotty walloped home from inside the box with Allen helpless.

However the Old Boys regained their lead when Surgenor’s well-weighted pass was controlled by Steele and, despite claims for offside, the ace marksman shot home. The home team were in no mood to lie down and continued to push forward but they were caught on the break when McCurdy found Elder and despite being surrounded by three defenders, he managed to wrangle free and make the game safe with a long range strike.

A welcome sight for player-boss Bellingham was the return of Jimmy Coulter after a six week hiatus and the experienced warrior slotted in well at right back as the visitors saw the game to a close with no further scoring and whilst it was the Old Boys who progressed, Ballyrashane must be pleased with their performance. Man of the Match: Paul Surgenor: (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Coleraine Olympic 3 Berthas FC 11

The away side have surprisingly struggled in the league this season but Saturday brought them relief from the league with a Knockout Shield game against bottom on the table Olympic. The visitors went in front when Drake fired home at the back post from Caldwell’s cross following good work by Hoey. Drake grabbed his second when he scored directly from a corner and they then got their third soon after when Hanna found Caldwell in space and the big man fired home with his left foot.

Olympic got themselves back into it when Sweeney’s corner found its way into the back of the net. Berthas suffered a blow when winger Laverty had to go off injured, but sub Daniel Edgar, returning after nearly 3 months out, wasted little time taking his opportunity with a great finish after Doherty had saved Caldwell’s header. Hanna made it five from Drake’s cross just after the restart. Number six was the goal of the game as that man Edgar volleyed home from 30 yards out. Number seven came when Drake went through on goal following an excellent pass from Parsons to lift the ball over the keeper and into the net for his hat-trick.

Drake then got his fourth when he smashed home the loose ball after Doherty saved Patterson’s free kick. Olympic hit back with their second of the game when Calvin capitalised on some poor defending to slot past Elder. Berthas ninth came with a excellent passing move involving MacAulay, Hanna and Parsons with the latter strolling through to slide past Doherty.

The away side should have grabbed their 10th from the spot but Doherty pulled off a top save to deny Edgar his hat-trick. Number ten did come when Patterson headed from a MacAulay corner. Olympic grabbed their third when Harrington took advantage of poor Berthas defending to fire past Elder. The last goal of the game, and number eleven for the away side came when Doherty saved from Caldwell but Parsons lashed home emphatically on the follow up. Man of the Match: Daniel Edgar (Berthas FC)

Fixtures

Saturday, March 3

Balnamore FC v Somerset Fulton Park; Coleraine Olympic v Bertha’s FC Rugby Avenue 2; FC Macosquin v Ballyrashane Rugby Avenue 2; Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Brook Street Riada 2; Hazelbank v Mountview FC Rugby Avenue 1; Hillview FC v Taverners FC Crescent 3; Macosquin Village v Finn McCool’s Ballysally 2; Villagers FC v West Bann Athletic Castlerock