West Bann and Bertha’s record wins to keep it tight at the top of the table

West Bann Athletic and Berthas FC kept up the pace at the top of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League with wins at the weekend against Brook Street and FC Crusaders respectively.

Glebe Rangers OB remain a point behind, albeit with games in hand after they picked up the points away to FC Windyhall. Portrush Old Boys and The Taverners both continued their good form with victories in their games.

Brook Street 2 West Bann Athletic 5

West Bann Athletic travelled to the Crescent to play Brook Street in search of 3 points and their first ever win at the Crescent into the bargain. First half goals from Athletic’s Martin Robinson and Phil Stevenson with Willy McDowell replying for the home team gave Athletic a 2-1 lead at the break. Athletic added to their lead through Luke Bacon and Nathan Black early in the second half to put WBA 4-1 up.

Brook Street pulled a goal back through a Curtis Boreland free kick to make it 4-2. The same player was then denied from the penalty spot by WBA number one Paul Jones.

Aaron Mclelland sealed the game and the 3 points late on scoring a fine solo goal to make it 5-2 at the final whistle.

Man of the Match: Aaron McClelland (WBAFC)

Berthas FC 3 FC Crusaders 1

These two teams met a few weeks ago in the Knockout Shield with FC Crusaders coming out the victors, so the home side certainly had a good incentive going into this one. It was a scrappy first half with decent chances at a premium. Berthas best chance fell to Willie Stewart when he found space, beat his man, but watched as Tosh made a great save to keep out his low drive. FC Crusaders best chance fell when Thomas Campbell latched onto a good

through ball but poked his shot wide when well placed. It was 15 minutes into the second when the home side took the lead, MacAulay picked out Stewart who held the ball up before sliding in the advancing Michael McLaughlin who smashed into the net with his right foot.

FC Crusaders drew level 10 minutes later from a controversial free kick. With Berthas sorting out their wall, Campbell seemingly had permission to take it quickly and bent the ball into the net with Drake in the Berthas goal out of position. Berthas regrouped and regained their lead when McLaughlin rose above everyone to head home Patterson’s long throw.

The home team then further increased their lead when Campbell slipped in Stewart down the right, he advanced on goal, sauntered past McLaughlin before hammering the ball home with his left foot. FC Crusaders then mounted the pressure on Berthas but the strong cross wind was making it difficult for both teams. Berthas suffered a blow with 5 minutes left when keeper Drake suffered a badly broken nose in a collision in the box and had to be replaced. Stand in keeper Dysart then made a top save to stop Newton’s effort from the edge of the area. Berthas held on to the final whistle to pick up a very good 3 points.

Man of the Match: Michael McLaughlin (Berthas FC)

FC Windyhall 1 Glebe Rangers Old Boys 4

A youthful Windyhall hosted Glebe at Lodge Road on Saturday morning in what turned out to be an entertaining game. With Gary Fulton on vacation Aaron Martin stepped in against his former club with long-term absentee Ivan Elder making a return on the bench. The Old Boys attacked from the kick-off and Steele headed over in the first minute. Buoyed by their strong start, Glebe continued to press and Alan Walls put them ahead in the 14th minute. Further pressure ensued, and the lead was doubled with a Laverty og after half an hour. After O’Neilll shot wide, Donnell pulled one back just on half-time with a neat finish over Allen. The second half was a much more open affair as both teams chased the three points. Steele and Nicholl both headed over for the Old Boys whilst Allen pulled off a vital save from Donnell. Clifton in particular was a source of danger for Windyhall as he foraged forward from left back. However it was the Old Boys who grabbed the vital next goal. Patton was pushed over inside the penalty box and Lee Kyle made no mistake from the spot with his first of the season. The resurgent Kyle then turned provider as his corner found Bellingham who powered in a header past Newman to make the final score 4-1 to the visitors.

Man of the Match: Ian Bellingham (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys players, officials and supporters would like to extend their deepest sympathies to Stephen Elder and his partner Nicola on their recent bereavement.

Balnamore FC 2 Portrush Old Boys 3

One of the games of the season was served up by both teams in a blustery Balnamore where there were five goals, many goalmouth incidents, and a nail biting conclusion to an excellent contest, where both teams certainly played their part.

From a goal kick, Nicky Tweed accepted a flick on, to stride through and slot the ball home to put the home side 1-0 ahead. Portrush struggled to maintain possession for much of the half, but still had chances to equalise. On two occasions, a one on one against McLaughlin in the Balnamore goal, resulted in the big keeper standing strong and keeping his team ahead. Portrush continued to struggle to get any real momentum and from an attack on the left side,

Balnamore worked the ball into the Portrush penalty area, and again Pele Tweed showed great composure to fire his, and Balnamore’s second goal to take a commanding lead. Portrush did up their game and again pushed forward but efforts on goal were wayward, or McLaughlin was equal to it.

Changes were made to the Portrush line up at half time, and right from the off, the visitors showed their clear intentions with more positive attacking moves. The changes made were proving worthy replacements as they were causing all sorts of problems for the home team. The pressure was starting to mount as Portrush Old Boys used the wings creating more chances, but it was a set piece that started a remarkable comeback. With little over 20 mins remaining, a corner on the right was met by Wallace and found its way into the net. From the resulting kick off, Portrush regained possession, and Daryl Wills, pushed forward and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner, which took all by surprise, but certainly gave the away team the mental edge. Two goals in as many minutes stunned the home team. It was a superb effort and by now Balnamore were struggling to contain the steady flow of Portrush attacks. However, it was Portrush who pushed on and again chances went begging. With seconds remaining, one last surge forward resulted in

several shots being blocked by Balnamore but Willie Shirlow rifled home the winner as the ball crashed in off the underside of the bar.

Man of the Match: Nicky Tweed (Balnamore)

Finn McCools 1 The Taverners 4

The Taverners got a few players back into the side but Finns started the better with no less than three good chances in the opening ten mins but all were put wide the taverners then got going and with a loose ball falling to Connor gribben. He made no mistake to put his side in the lead the away side then bossing the game with same great football got the second when Brent Dobbin put away well after the half it was all Taverners. Shane McKee made it three when he rounded the keeper to tap in, then Garth Grimnes step up with a contender for goal of the season from thirty five yards into top corner like a rocket to make it four.

Finns got one back through R Moore to finish it off.

Man of the Match: Gareth Grimnes and Connor Gribben

Coleraine Olympic 0 The Villagers 1

The Villagers came into this match on the back of a great team performance last week. The Villagers as you would expect then started creating a few half chances with Shirlow, Wilson and Hutchinson coming close. A combination of good goalkeeping and defending kept the visitors at bay.

In the second half it was more of the same as the villagers pressed with the olympic keeper making a great save to deny Wilson following Pollock’s pass. It took until the 83rd minute for the Villagers to score, man of the match Jack Danton played a great through ball to MacFarlane his effort could only be parried by the keeper and Wilson followed in to tap home the winner. This was a great team performance from Olympic who will surely win

matches soon if they continue to play in this manner.

Man of the Match: Jack Danton (The Villagers)

Dunaghy Old Boys 6 Ballyrashane FC 2

Dunaghy old boys entertained Ballyrashane at Megaw Park and it was the latter who took the lead on 18mins when Neill headed past the Old Boys stand in keeper Blair.

Within four mins it was all square when W Blair cut in from the right and curled an unstoppable shot into the far corner. Chances went begging for both teams but just before half time Robinson put Dunaghy into the lead when he scored from the spot after Blair had been fowled.

With the second half just started Robinson got his second when he stroked home from 8yds after some good work by W Blair.

Ballyrashane kept fighting and got there reward on 73mins when Neill poked it past the Old Boys keeper after a mix up in the home defence.

Young Warren Blair then took over with a hat trick in the final ten minutes, showing some great pace and finishing to rightly justify his man of match award, and earn the Old Boys a hard three points.

Man of the Match: Warren Blair (Dunaghy OB)

Fixtures for Saturday November 2: (11am kick offs)

Ballyrashane v Bertha’s F.C Rugby Avenue 4; Brook Street v Coleraine Olympic Crescent 3; Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Finn McCool’s Megaw Park; Hazelbank v West Bann Athletic Rugby Avenue 1; Portrush Old Boys F.C v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Rugby Avenue 3; Taverners v Balnamore Riada 2; Villagers F.C v F.C Windyhall Castlerock.