Harryville Homers took a massive step towards a third successive firmus energy Ballymena Saturday Morning League title at the weekend.
Robert Duddy’s men ended the unbeaten league record of one of their main challengers as Homers triumphed 2-0 at Ahoghill Thistle.
The result will give Homers a significant lift as they continue their defence of the Irish Junior Cup against Ardoyne WMC this Saturday.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
Ahoghill Thistle 0 Harryville Homers 2: With the game being played out on a heavy pitch in which fast, flowing football was near impossible to attain it was the visitors who struck first.
Man of the moment, Jasin Magill, raced onto a Gary Baird through ball before clipping the ball over the head of the advancing Thistle keeper Sean Ward to put his side in front after just seven minutes.
Thistle worked their way into the game and went close to drawing level when Alan Moore hit the post and then Ryan Sands had an effort saved by Alex McCosh.
Thistle again tried hard to get back into the game in the second half but were finding the well drilled Homers defence hard to break down, while the visitors created a host of chances on the break and but for a superb, last ditch challenge from Ahoghill right-back David Drummond, Paul McNeill looked certain to double Homers’ advantage.
With eight minutes left Darren Campbell slipped live wire Jason Logan in and he was hauled down in the box to win his side a penalty.
Campbell stepped up to the spot only to see his kick crash off the bar but new boy Jordan Craig spared his blushes as he reacted quickest to dive and head the ball home.
All Saints OB 0, Clough Rangers 1: Both these sides are well in the hunt for a Top Four place and it was Clough who came out on top in this hard fought game as they keep up their impressive recent form over Saints.
The decisive goal came on 21 minutes when a ball out of defence from Jonathan Rice found Robbie Sutherland on the left and he drove the ball across the box for Jordan Leighton to score from close range.
Saints created a number of chances to equalise but they were dealt a blow in the hour mark when they were reduced to 10 men and although both sides had openings in the second half, the single goal was enough to win it.
Abbeyview 3, FC Antrim 2: Abbeyview started on the back foot and got caught cold early on when Sean Redmond controlled well and scored from close range.
Abbeyview then found their feet and missed a number of chances before neat build up play was coolly finished by Luis Cadenza.
After a scrappy start to the second half FC Antrim regained the lead through a Steven Holden thunderbolt from the edge of the box but this seemed to spur Abbeyview on and they hit back quickly when skipper Davy McWilliams finished off another lovely team goal.
Both teams had good chances to snatch it at 2-2 but it was Luis Cadenza who was to have the final say with another tidy finish.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO
Glenravel 5, Carnlough Swifts 1: The game sprung into life on 26 minutes when Glenravel took the lead. Darren Burgoyne drove a free kick goal ward and the ball was parried out to Declan Higgins who bundled the ball home from close range.
This settled Glenravel and they doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when a free kick from deep by Caolan McCamridge evaded everyone and Brian Paul Donnelly poked the ball home from close range.
Six minutes into the second half the home side made it 3-0 when Burgoyne scored from the penalty spot after Higgins was fouled in the box.
Glenravel were then reduced to 10 men but despite their numerical disadvantage, they made it 4-0 as they hit Swifts on the counter attack. Paul Devlin skipped past two men down the right and set the ball for Burgoyne whose shot was deflected into the corner of the net.
Swifts got a goal back when Andy Bird scored to make it 4-1 but late on, Glenravel made it 5-1 when Cormac Gordon raced onto a long ball from Caolan McCambridge to seal the victory.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE
Rectory Rovers 4, Atletico Antrim 1: The promotion-chasing home side got the perfect start when they found the net after only three minutes.
Paul Orr played a one two with Alex Telford before getting to the by line and squaring for Gerard Sloan to fire home from close range.
Six minutes later Rovers doubled their lead when Paul Donegan and Aaron Kerr combined down the left for the latter to centre the ball for Diarmuid McNally to score from close range.
Just before half time Rovers all but sealed the win when a shot by Dean Cully was saved but fell to Ryan Quinn who made no mistake with the rebound.
The second half again saw Rovers in complete control and on the hour mark they made it 4-0 when substitute Chris Brady split the defence for Aaron Kerr to race on to and slot home before Atletico pulled a consoltaion goal back in the dying minutes.
firmus energy Division One: Abbeyview 3, FC Antrim 2; Carniny Rangers 6, Ballykeel 4; FC Moylena 3, Connor 0; Raceview 11, FC Penarol 0.
firmus energy Division Two: Cloughmills 2, Ahoghill Rovers 2; Cullybackey Olympic 3, Seven Towers 5; Galgorm Blues 4, Braid United 2; Holywell 2, Riverdale 3; St Comgalls 3, Newpark Olympic 5.
firmus energy Division Three: Randalstown 3, Steadfast 0; Sporting Ballymoney 4, Cushendall 2; Wakehurst Star 3, Woodside 5.
Saturday, February 28 - Irish Junior Cup, round 6 (1.30pm): Ardoyne WMC v Harryville Homers (Mallusk).
Rainey Cup round two (10.15am): Ahoghill Rovers v Randalstown (Ahoghill).
George McAuley Cup, round two: Glenravel v Riverdale (Showgrounds 4).
firmus energy Division One: Ballykeel v All Saints OB (Ballykeel); Clough Rangers v Carniny Rangers (Clough); Connor v Ahoghill Thistle (Connor); FC Penarol v FC Antrim (Showgrounds 5); Michelin v Abbeyview; Raceview v FC Moylena (Broughshane).
firmus energy Division Two: Carnlough Swifts v Holywell; Cullybackey Olympic v Newpark Olympic (Tober Park); Galgorm Blues v Waveney Swifts (Galgorm); Lisnafillan Swifts v Cloughmills; St Comgalls v Seven Towers.
firmus energy Division Three: Atletico Antrim v Sporting Ballymoney (Forum); Templepatrick v Rectory Rovers (Forum); Wakehurst Star v Steadfast (Dunfane 1); Woodside v Cushendall (Wakehurst 6).