Stewart pulls another treble out of the hat to keep Bertha’s on top

Action from West Bann Athletic's win over Ballyrashane on Saturday.
Action from West Bann Athletic's win over Ballyrashane on Saturday.

Berthas FC and Glebe Rangers Old Boys kept up the early season pace at the top of the league with comfortable wins at the weekend.

Berthas took the points away to Dunaghy Old Boys while Glebe won their local derby with Ballymoney Olympic Old Boys.

Berthas have a one point advantage at the top but Glebe have a game hand on their rivals. West Bann Athletic got back to winning ways in a high scoring game with Ballyrashane. Champions Portrush Old Boys lost more ground at the top after they could only take a point from their visit with The Villagers.

Millburn took a big win over Hazelbank FC as FC Windyhall took the spoils in a tight encounter with Finn McCools. Bottom club Coleraine Olympic are still looked their first win after they lost their game with Balnamore.

Dunaghy Old Boys 0

Berthas FC 6

The Old Boys should have grabbed an early lead in this one when Blair’s cross from the right found Robinson at the back post but the wee man couldn’t direct his header on target.

Berthas got their game together after a slow start and took the lead when Stewart was slipped in, he controlled before finding Biggart in space and he made no mistake scoring. Number two wasn’t long after and it was the same combination combining with Stewart again crossing for Biggart to score.

Right before the half time whistle, Biggart grabbed his second hat-trick in as many weeks, beating the home keeper at the second attempt after Stewart found him in space. Berthas came out for the second half with a healthy advantage and extended their lead with Stewart hitting the back of the net from close in.

Dunaghy looked deflated but kept at it but Berthas worked hard defensively to keep out the danger. They got their fifth when Stewart robbed the centre half before slipping the ball into the back of the net.

Right at the death, Stewart got this hat-trick goal, incredibly his sixth in six games, when he fired home from Stockman’s cut back. Man of the Match: Willie Stewart (Berthas FC)

Glebe Rangers Old Boys 3 Ballymoney Oly Old Boys 0

The home team grabbed the early advantage in this game when Les Nicholl tapped home following Ian Bellingham’s knock back from a cross.

The next half hour was fairly even with both teams working hard but Glebe extended their advantage just before the half time whistle when Davy Campbell slotted home with a fine strike from the edge of the area.

The second half was a typical derby affair with no quarter given until Les Nicholl sealed the win when he headed home Campbell’s cross. Man of the Match: Davy Campbell (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)

West Bann Athletic 5

Ballyrashane FC 3

Both teams started brightly and it was Ballyrashane who nearly took the lead when Athletic switched off in their own third of the pitch however Jack Gray saw his shot rebound off the post and thankfully for Athletic to safety.

Athletic took the lead shortly after with Mark McLelland scoring on the quarter hour mark against his former club. Athletic doubled their advantage within minutes after good work from Athletic new boy Jonny Smyth ended with his cross come shot proving too hot to handle for the Ballyrashane keeper who spilled the ball into his own net.

Ballyrashane got themselves back into the game when Dessie McCaws free kick from 20 yards beat Athletic goalie Paul Jones to make it 2-1 with 30 minutes gone. Athletic picked themselves up and responded almost immediately making it 3-1 with Mark McLelland finishing well. 3-1 became 4-1 just before the half time whistle as Big Dome McLelland again finished well when the chance fell to him to complete his first hat trick for Athletic.

Athletic won a penalty early in the second half when Phil Stevenson was upended when put through by Nathan Black, penalty taker Lee Nevin made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way pirlo style to make it 5-1.

Athletic for the remainder of the game were a bit cavalier going in search of even more goals and in doing so lost there shape which Ballyrashane punished late on with goals from Chris Kearny and Dylan Neill making the final score more respectable as it finished West Bann Athletic 5-3 Ballyrashane. Man of the Match: Mark McLelland (WBAFC)

The Villagers 1

Portrush Old Boys 1

The Villagers started the match like they finished their last, and soon found themselves 1-0 up, Wilson laid off to Pollock whose shot deflected and young Danton was very alert and composed to neatly finish on the volley.

Moments later and it was almost 2-0 villagers when a flowing passing move ended with a superb lob from Maguire hitting the post.

Portrush eventually got going and although they struggled to get through a solid Villagers defence, they created a one on one opportunity for themselves but David Finley saved brilliantly. In the second half portrush shuffled the pack but still couldn’t break through the Villagers defence and when did Finley was on hand to deny them with another two one on one saves.

Wilson almost added to the Villagers lead but his curling effort was just off target. Late in the game however, Portrush got a deserved equaliser when Doherty cut back there was a goal mouth scramble and Taggart kept his composure to finish past a despairing Finley.

In the closing minutes both sides had half chances but it finished all square. The Villagers can take alot out of this display and recent form, after a tough start they seem to be improving each week and should be targeting a cup this season as on this evidence they can hold their own against anyone. Man of the Match: Colin McFarlane (The Villagers)

Balnamore FC 6

Coleraine Olympic 1

Olympic came to Fulton park looking for their first points of the season but they found Balnamore not in a very generous mood.

Right from the off the home sides intentions were clear as they kept possession and attacked at will, but couldn’t get that illusive first goal. This gave the visitors belief and Olympic played with determination and resolve.

After much pressure Balnamore took the lead, Simon Armstrong finding space at the edge of the area to slot home. Olympic equalised through Crawford, from a long ball over the top who controlled and volleyed home.

Lee Kelly gained the advantage for Balnamore almost immediately confusing Doherty in the Coleraine goal as he passed the ball into the net. Balnamore must have been disappointed as the half ended not to be well out of sight with so much possession.

The second half commenced with both sides in scrappy mode but as the game went on the hosts dominated again, Willie Corr’s determination paid off as he grabbed Balnamore’s third, this killed the game off, as Corr weighed in soon softer with his second .

David Mc Dowell got in on the act making no mistake with his strike, Brent Watton completed the scoring for Balnamore with his well taken effort giving the home side the win and Olympic still looking for first points of the season. Man of the Match: Lee Kelly (Balnamore)

Millburn FC 7

Hazelbank FC 4

Millburn started game well with Curtis Boreland scoring after great wing play.

The second came as a corner came in Tosh causing problems the ball fell to DD Law to smash home. Millburn’s third came from Boreland again with another fine strike.

Hazelbank got one back then Millburn got three more with a fine run and strike from J McDonald then a bad back pass and McDonald again scoring, the half wasn’t over with captain Stephen Tosh scoring with a fine header.

The second half started with few chances for both teams with Hazelbank scoring two as Millburn were caught out. As changes were made Millburn got there 7th with Nesbit scoring with a fine midfield display and to end the game J Tosh scoring for Hazelbank. Man of the Match: Stephen Tosh (Millburn)

FC Windyhall 2

Finn McCools 1

Windyhall entertained a high flying Finns side at Rugby Avenue on Saturday morning looking to pick up their first win of the season.

Both teams came out looking to get the ball down and play football but it was maybe just Windyhall who shaded the opening exchanges.

Finns came back at Windyhall but the home defence marshalled by Nifty McVey caught their visitors offside on numerous occasions.

The home side broke the deadlock on 32 minutes when Noel Downs placed the ball into the corner of the goal from distance.

The second half started in the same manner as the first with both keepers pulling off good saves although Newman’s for Windyhall was the pick of the bunch getting up to the top corner to tip one over the bar.

Finns kept coming and Windyhall had Newman to thank again saving from Moore when faced with two Finns strikers. Finns eventually pulled a goal back on 82 minutes when Moore broke free and managed get around Newman to place the ball into an empty net.

Windyhall weren’t to be denied though. Good work from Freeman won a freekick on the corner of the 18 yard box. Rab Sweeney stood up to curl the ball around the wall and perfectly into the top corner giving McKendry in the away goal no chance. Man of the Match: Nigel McVey (FC Windyhall)