BALLYMONEY UNITED 1
JORDAN Owens - one of the tallest strikers in the Irish League - performed a one man demoliton job to bring Ballymoney United’s Irish Cup run to an abrupt end at Seaview on Saturday.
Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter labelled striker Owens as a “class act” following his performance against Ballymoney United in this Irish Cup sixth round clash.
The big 24-year-old bagged a sensational hat-trick to send his team into a last eight meeting with Ballyclare Comrades on March 1.
Teenager Curtis Dempster also marked his Crusaders debut with an injury time goal, which also pleased his boss.
“This lad is a goal machine,” purred Baxter. “Curtis scored a hat-trick for Northern Ireland’s Under-18 side earlier this week. He has natural talent – and he’s also a big Crusaders fan as his goal celebration would suggest.”
Baxter lauded Owens, who has now bagged an impressive 20 goals this season, adding: “It’s always good for a striker to get among the goals.
“But he needs to be doing it more consistently. Ballymoney just couldn’t handle him. He scored three and may have even had a few more.
“However, his finishing was superb.
“We had some big performers out there. Gary McCutcheon was fantastic – Richard Clarke was excellent on his debut and Aidan Watson never gave them a moment in midfield.”
With Ballyclare next up, Baxter insisted they will be treated like any other opponents.
“You always hope for a home draw and we got that,” he said.
“They took the scalp of Championship One leaders Carrick Rangers, so there is now question about any complacency creeping into our game.”
Owens was thrilled when informed afterwards that he has now netted 20 times this season.
“I didn’t know why it was my 19th or 20th of the season, but I know there are more goals to come,” he stated.
“We are just delighted to be in the last eight. Fair play to Ballymoney, they came here and tried to play an open game.
“They looked good for the first 10 or 15 minutes, but once the first goal went in, they began to wilt.”
Ballymoney boss John Fall was full of praise for his Championship Two side.
No fewer than 28 places separate the teams in their respective leagues, but he admitted that Owens was the difference.
“Yes, we just couldn’t handle the big man –he’s a class act,” said Fall.
“And, we had a few little chances over the 90 minutes. Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O’Neill had to make a few telling saves to keep us out.”
* Ballymoney United defeated Tobermore 1-0 in a home league match last Tuesday night.
* This weekend Ballymoney are away to Queen’s University in the Intermediate Cup and Glebe Rangers are on the road to Wakehurst in the league.
* Glebe Ran gers FC lotto numbers are 1,7,17. No winners , next week’s jackpot £525.
* Ballymena Intermediate League McReynolds League Cup
RATHCOOLE FC 0 DUNLOY FC 1
This was a very close game throughout the ninety minutes of play with both teams playing it tight in midfield and as a result no goals were scored when half-time was reached.
The second half followed a similar pattern of play at the start until on the 62nd minute when Dunloy broke the deadlock after Benny McGarry set up the chance for John John McFerran to score.
After this Rathcoole had to take chances and attack but found Dunloy to be well organised and go on to defend their lead until the final whistle.
* BALLYBOGEY WIN 3-0
Ballybogey went clear at the top of the Coleraine & District Morning League with a 3-0 victory over Glebe Res at the Joey Dunlop Centre on Saturday.
Ballybogey started well and Andy Mooney had the ball in the net but the referee adjudged it to be offside .
Ballybogey got the lead when Ian Parkhill slotted the ball past Lewis McIlveen after good work by William Beckett and Mervyn Nicholl .
In the second half it was Mooney who put Ballybogey two up when he rose above the defence to head the ball into the net from a Beckett free kick.
Ballybogey should have increased their lead on a number of occasions but for good saves from Glebe keeper.
The Glebe had their chances when both Clyde brothers had shots saved by keeper Christopher Mooney and again good defensive work by Johnny Nicholl kept gourney the score 2-0 .
Ballybogey got the third when Parkhill latched on to a loose ball and put the ball into the goal to secure the three points to keep them top and still unbeaten in the league this season.
It was a decent game of football on a terrible wintry morning with Ballybogey happy to get all three points.
The Glebe, full of youth, played really well and the score line should have been a lot closer.
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