Carniny Rangers strengthened their grip at the top of the firmus energy Saturday Morning League as bad weather decimated the programe for the first time this season.
While a clutch of games fell victim to the wet conditions, Robert Young’s side stretched their lead to four points by beating Clough Rangers.
Carniny’s title credentials will be given a stiff examination this Saturday as they meet fierce rivals Harryville Homers at Wakehurst.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
Carniny Rangers 3, Clough Rangers 2: Both these teams were looking to get back on winning terns after a draw last week and it was Carniny who dominated the first half.
Tyler Caulfield and Dean Dunlop both had headers saved by Colin McCaughern and before Frazer Young smashed a shot off the bar.
Carniny’s pressure finally paid off on 28 minutes when Frazer Young brilliantly curled a free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
Ricky Dunlop flashed a shot just wide for Clough as the half finished with Carniny a goal ahead.
Three minutes onto the second half Clough drew level when Ricky Dunlop scored from the spot after a hand ball in the box.
Soon after Carniny regained the lead when a cross from Darren Kidd was swept home by Matthew Coulter. Clough didn’t lie down and got themselves level for the second time just after the hour mark when good work down the right from Jordan Leighton set up Ricky Dunlop who gave James Gracey no chance from 18 yards out.
The game flowed from end to end after this with Tyler Caulfield hitting the cross bar and David Houston wasting a great opportunity to win the game. As the game looked to be finishing 2-2 Carniny struck a late winner.
Johnny Spence cut in from the left and unleashed thunderbolt from 30 yards out which found the top corner of the net and make it 3-2 to Carniny.
Clough then had a half chance to draw level once again when a Ricky Dunlop long throw caused havoc in the Carniny box but James Gracey dealt with the danger as Carniny seen the game out to seal a crucial three points.
FC Antrim 5, Abbeyview 2: The bragging rights in Antrim belong to FC Antrim as they came out on top in this Antrim derby.
In the opening exchanges Antrim could have took the lead on several occasions but Abbeyview keeper Dee Thompson did well to save at the feet of both Shane Donnelly and Sean Redmond.
On 23 minutes Antrim got the breakthrough their play merited. Sean Redmond broke clear and had a shot which was saved by Dee Thompson but Sean Redmond followed up to fire home the rebound.
Soon after it was 2-0 when a corner kick from Niall McCoy caused havoc in the box and Ryan McFadden was on hand to bundle the ball home.
Antrim completed a superb first half when they made it 3-0 just before the break when Eoghan Gribben found himself unmarked in the box to head home another Niall McCoy corner kick.
Abbeyview gave themselves a lifeline eight minutes into the second half when they got a goal back when David Thompson followed up to score after Martin Campbell had saved a Roy Robinson shot.
Antrim soon regained their three goal cushion when a wicked cross Shane Donnelly was turned into his own net by an Abbeyview defender.
Abbeyview didn’t lie down though and cut the deficit to two once again when a free kick from Roy Robinson came off an Antrim defender and flew past Martin Campbell.
Antrim took control after this and with 15 minutes to go they rounded off the scoring to make it 5-2 when Odhran McAuley fired home from 22 yards out to seal the win for Antrim and secure a vital three points.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO
Ahoghill Rovers 3, Galgorm Blues 2: Rovers kept up their promotion push with this hard fought victory over fellow contenders Galgorm Blues in one of the few games to survive the wet weather.
Despite a strong start in which Alan Jones and Stuart Kinney went close for Rovers it was Galgorm who opened the scoring.
Dean Wright broke clear and crossed for Johnny Richmond to head past Andrew French in the Rovers goal.
Phil Aiken then started to take control of the game for Rovers as he started pulling the strings as Rovers went in search of an equaliser.
Three minutes before the break Rovers did get themselves level when Alan Jones rose highest to head home a Chris Duff cross.
Rovers went at Galgorm from the start of the second but were finding Galgorm a hard nut to crack and it took a brilliant piece of individual skill for them to get in front.
Phil Aiken fizzed a ball into Alan Jones and he brilliantly flicked the ball over his marker’s head before coolly slotting the ball home to make it 2-1.
Rovers kept pressing and made it 3-1 with 20 minutes to go when Robbie Sutherland scored his seventh goal in three games when he was on hand to fire home after good work from Alan Jones.
Galgorm were then reduced to 10 men but this did not deter them as they pulled a got back when Johnny Richmond got his second goal as he followed up after a Craig McCaughern shot was saved by Andrew French.
This goal set up a tense finish as despite having 10 men Galgorm pushed for an equaliser and Rovers had keeper Andrew French to thank for holding on as he magnificently saved from Scott Drummond in the dying minutes as Rovers claimed all three points.
firmus energy BSML Division One: All Saints OBs OFF Ahoghill Thistle; Ballykeel 2, Raceview 2;Connor FC OFF FC Moylena.
firmus energy BSML Division Two: Braid United 0, St Comgalls 1; Cullybackey Olympic OFF Newpark Olympic; Glenravel OFF Lisnafillan Swifts; Cloughmills OFF Holywell; Riverdale 3, Carnlough Swifts 1; Waveney Swifts OFF Seven Towers.
firmus energy BSML Division Three: Atletico Antrim OFF Cushendall; Rectory Rovers OFF Sporting Ballymoney; Steadfast 0, Wakehurst Star 0; Woodside OFF Randalstown
Saturday 22nd November 2014
Toals Co Antrim Junior Shield 3rd Round (1.30pm)
St.Patricks YM II v Ahoghill Thistle
Connor FC v Albert Foundry II (Connor).
firmus energy BSML Division One (10.15am):
Abbeyview v Raceview (Forum)
Clough Rangers v Ballykeel (Clough)
FC Antrim v FC Moylena (Forum)
FC Penarol v Michelin (Showgrounds 5)
Harryville Homers v Carniny Rangers (Wakehurst 2).
firmus energy BSML Division Two
Ahoghill Rovers v Riverdale (Ahoghill)
Braid United v Waveney Swifts (Broughshane)
Carnlough Swifts v Lisnafillan Swifts
Galgorm Blues v St Comgalls (Galgorm)
Holywell v Cullybackey Olympic (Forum)
Newpark Olympic v Glenravel
Seven Towers v Cloughmills (Showgrounds 4).
firmus energy BSML Division Three
Cushendall v Woodside
Rectory Rovers v Randalstown (Waveney 2)
Sporting Ballymoney v Templepatrick
Wakehurst Star v Atletico Antrim (Dunfane 1)