Castlerock based teams Berthas FC and The Villagers were the highest scorers of the day after the opening games of the Hutchinson Tiles Winter League.
Both teams recorded resounding 7-1 victories against The Taverners and Coleraine Olympic respectively.
Ballyrashane were the only team to keep a clean sheet on the day when they took a comfortable victory against Somerset. Last years champions Glebe Rangers Old Boys started the season with a win, albeit by the tightest of margins by beating Hillview by the odd goal in nine! Mountview FC, regarded as one of the teams to watch this season started off with a win by beating West Bann in a tightly contested game while Finns McCools also took the spoils in a tough contest against Brook Street. Dunaghy Old Boys shared the points against Balnamore.
In the remaining game, Macosquin Village, who have built up a very strong squad this season, took the points in their village derby against FC Macosquin.
Coleraine Olympic 1 The Villagers 7
Berthas FC 7 The Taverners 1
The home team were looking for a good start to the season after a disappointing campaign by their standards last time out.
It started bad for them however when keeper McClarty caught his studs on the ground which allowed Robert Gage to tap the ball into an empty net. To make matters worse, McClarty had to go off injured to be replaced by right back Nigel White. The stand in keeper was called into action straight away and he was equal to the task pulling off a great save to deny Moore. Berthas finally kicked into action and dominated the rest of the game. Davy Caldwell got them on level terms when he stabbed home from a corner. Lee Biggart then got his first of the game when he converted a penalty after Graeme Hanna had been cleaned out in the box. Caldwell then got his second when he fired past Workman from a Biggart cross. Biggart then matched his strike partner Caldwell, grabbing his second of the game when he ran clean through on goal to finish emphatically. Berthas all but wrapped the game up by half time when Andrew Minihan grabbed his first of the game after running onto Davy Grahams through ball to fire home. Into the second half and it took Berthas only 10 minutes to grab their sixth and it was a hat trick from Lee Biggart when the wee man picked the ball up in midfield, beat two men to give himself a clean run on goal and he made sure of his first hat trick for Berthas by coolly slotting past Adams who replaced Workman in goal. Berthas got the final goal of the game when Minihan pounced on a rebound to score and round off a good days work for his team. Man of the Match: Lee Biggart (Berthas FC)
Glebe Rangers Old Boys 5 Hillview FC 4
Both teams opened their league campaign in this topsy-turvy encounter at the Joey Dunlop Centre. Manager Ian Bellingham paraded a number of new signings with Leslie Nicholl, Phillip Hanna, Jimmy Coulter and Paul Holmes all starting and Ivan Elder on the bench.
Ace marksman James Steele opened his account for the new season as he latched on to a long ball and slotted home in typical style. Before long Glebe were two up, Les Nicholl applying the final touch to a Holmes cross in probably the best passing move of the game.
The Old Boys continued to press and were rewarded when Steele made it three with a deft finish. Hillview were in no mood to lie down and almost immediately pulled a goal back when McNeill smartly turned a right wing cross past Allen. However the last word in the first half was left to Philip Hanna who notched a debut goal after Steele had found space and crossed from just outside the visitor’s penalty box. The second half saw a complete turnaround in fortunes with Hillview putting the Old Boys under pressure from the kick-off. McNeill bagged his second as the home defence failed to deal with a break down their left flank and, with the visitors sensing the game was not over, Allen was called into action on a number of occasions to deny them. Nicholl hit the bar in a rare Glebe attack before Hutchinson reduced the deficit further with a long range effort which appeared to deceive Allen in flight. Almost inevitably, the visitors then drew level when Timmy Close capitalised on an error by player-boss Bellingham and neatly scored off the post. At this point a draw seemed the likely outcome but that was before super-sub Ivan Elder popped up to take centre-stage. In the last minute Holmes launched one final cross into Hillview’s box and, after a Steele and Nicholl had efforts blocked, there was Elder to volley home the winner to finally end the scoring after a game which will have both managers showing a few more grey hairs than at kick-off. Man of the Match: Paul Holmes (Glebe Rangers Old Boys)
Dunaghy Old Boys 2 Balnamore FC 2
Both teams served up a cracking game of football and it was Dunaghy stand in keeper McDowell with a timely intervention to deny Madison early on.
Both teams kept attacking but it was Dunaghy who missed two great chances when firstly I Blair sliced his shot wide with the goal gaping then A Hardings shot went the wrong side of post for dun.
On 35 minutes dun did get the break through when a great ball by I Blair found R Laverty. About 30 yards out and he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the bottom right hand corner.
It stayed like this till half time.
Second half saw Balnamore take control early on when from a corner their forward scored with a good shot from edge of 18.
Shortly after this they made it two when Armstrong beat Dunaghy keeper with a low shot from 25 yards.
J kelly almost made it three when his shot struck the post. Balnamore looked as if they were going to take all three points but Dunaghy pressure finally paid off when Blair’s low cross was tucked away by a McCook at the back post with two minutes remaining. A good point each after a very entertaining match. Man of the Match: Ryan Laverty (Dunaghy Old Boys)
Brook Street 2 Finn McCools 3
Ballyrashane FC 3 Somerset 0
Macosquin Village 3 FC Macosquin 2
Mountview FC 2 West Bann Athletic 1
Tue 23 Aug 11 6:40 PM
Villagers F.C v Hazelbank Castlerock
Wed 24 Aug 11 6:40 PM
Balnamore F.C v F.C Macosquin
Finn McCool’s v Ballyrashane Bushmills
Hillview F.C v Coleraine Olympic Crescent 3
Macosquin Village v Glebe Rangers Old Boys Rugby Avenue 2
Somerset v Dunaghy Old Boy’s Rugby Avenue 3
Taverners F.C v Brook Street Riada 2
West Bann Athletic v Bertha’s F.C Rugby Avenue 1
Fri 26 Aug 11 6:40 PM
Dunaghy Old Boy’s v Finn McCool’s Dunaghy
Glebe Rangers Old Boys v Balnamore F.C Riada 2
Sat 27 Aug 11 11:00 AM
Ballyrashane v Taverners F.C To Be Advised
Bertha’s F.C v Mountview F.C Castlerock
Brook Street v West Bann Athletic Crescent 3
Coleraine Olympic v Macosquin Village Rugby Avenue 3
F.C Macosquin v Somerset Rugby Avenue 2
Hazelbank v Hillview F.C Rugby Avenue 1