A late goal from David Nicholl kept Harryville Homers on course for more firmus energy Saturday Morning League silverware at the weekend.
Nicholl’s strike edged Robert Duddy’s men into the final of the Ace Cup after a 3-2 win over All Saints Old Boys, who had led for much of the game.
Homers got the perfect start when they took the lead inside 90 seconds. A long ball out of defence from Jason McKay found Alan Rainey on the right, he drove the ball across the box and it was met by David Nicholl who hammered the ball home from 15 yards out.
As the half wore on Saints came more into the game coming close through Stephen Sexton before on 17 minutes they were awarded a penalty kick after a handball from a Homers defender. Stephen Sexton stepped up and rolled the spot kick past Alex McCosh to draw the game level.
Gordon Dillon almost gave Saints the lead on the half hour mark when a free kick from wide left deceived Alex McCosh but came back off the post.
Saints did get themselves in front 10 minutes before the break when Aaron Keenan beat two men before curling a brilliant shot into the corner of the net.
Homers started the second half on the front foot and they finally drew level halfway through the half when Saints half cleared a Ryan Stewart diagonal ball and the ball fell to Mark McKay who slipped in Gary Bonnes who gave Brian Martin no chance.
The crucial goal came with 11 minutes left on the clock. Ryan Stewart found David Nicholl with a throw on the left and he wriggled past his marker before poking the ball past the onrushing Brian Martin to regain the lead for his side.
GEORGE McAULEY CUP SEMI-FINALS
Newpark Olympic 1, Seven Towers 2: Towers made it into the final of the George McAuley with this narrow victory over Champions Newpark whose hopes of the double slipped away.
It was Towers who got the opener just after the hour mark against the run of play. Ross Hunter charged down Newpark keeper Rodney Crawford and his rushed clearance fell to Phil Comac who rolled the ball into the empty net to give his side the lead.
Twelve minutes later Newpark drew level. Stephen Brown and Jamie Nutter combined on the edge of the box to set up the latter who found the net with a brilliant one touch finish.
Five minutes later Towers struck what proved to be the winner. A neat team move down the right released Phil Comac who swung over a deep cross for Chrissy Graham who headed the ball home at the back post.
Newpark were given a brilliant opportunity to get themselves back in the game when they were awarded a penalty kick when Mark Wilson pulled down Jamie Nutter. Nutter stepped up to hit the spot kick but keeper Wilson made up for his error to save the spot kick.
Ahoghill Rovers 2, Glenravel 1: It was Glenravel who settled the better and they took a deserved lead on 32 minutes. Brian Paul Donnelly picked the ball up 30 yards out and brilliantly slipped the ball in behind for Conan Dunne who fired the ball past Andrew French in the Rovers goal.
Rovers hit back right on the stroke of half time when a free kick from David Chesney caused havoc in the Glenravel box and Trevor Holmes was on hand to poke the ball home.
The second half saw an open game of football and it was Rovers who struck with 14 minutes to go. Maurice Spence clipped a free kick into the box and the ball fell to Aaron Fulton 15 yards out and he found the corner of the net with a magnificent volley.
David Chesney then had a brilliant chance to put the game beyond doubt when he was awarded a penalty kick, but his effort was well saved by Jonathan Reid in the Glenravel goal.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO
Newpark Olympic 3, Waveney Swifts 1: The home side took control from the start but on 25 minutes Waveney hit Newpark with a sucker punch goal against the run of play when Aaron Murray scored from close range.
Newpark responded almost instantly when Ricky Simpson broke forward to supply Stephen Brown to equalise.
Eight minutes later Newpark had turned the game around when Victor Gibson floated in a free kick which found Stephen Brown who controlled and finished his second goal of the game.
The title-clinching goal came on the 58 minutes when Stephen Wilson played a ball over the top for Glenn Clarke to run onto and slot home.
firmus energy Division One: Ahoghill Thistle 4, FC Penarol 1; All Saints OB 2 Abbeyview 0; Clough Rangers 4 Connor FC 0; Harryville Homers 3 FC Moylena 1; Raceview 5 Michelin 3; Ballykeel 1 Harryville Homers 5; FC Antrim 2 Connor FC 3
firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers 1 Seven Towers 1; Braid United 3 Riverdale 5; Cloughmills 1 Cullybackey Olympic 4; Lisnafillan Swifts 1 Glenravel 5; Cloughmills 1 Carnlough Swifts 0; Galgorm Blues 2 Riverdale 1; St Comgalls 1 Cullybackey Olympic 3
firmus energy Division Three: Sporting Ballymoney 2 Randalstown 1; Rectory Rovers 1 Woodside 2; Atletico Antrim 0 Randalstown 9; Sporting Ballymoney 2 Steadfast 1; Wakehurst Star 2 Rectory Rovers 5; Woodside 3 Templepatrick 1
Ace Cup Quarter Final: Clough Rangers 2 Ahoghill Thistle 6
Rainey Cup 3rd Round: Raceview 1 Carniny Rangers 2
Tuesday, April 21 (7pm) - firmus energy Division One: Ahoghill Thistle v Michelin (Ahoghill); Carniny Rangers v All Saints OB (Wakehurst 1); Clough Rangers v Raceview (Clough); FC Penarol v Connor (Showgrounds 5).
Wednesday, April 22 (7pm) - firmus energy Division Two: Braid United v Seven Towers (Broughshane); Holywell v Ahoghill Rovers (Forum); Riverdale v Glenravel (Wakehurst 2); Lisnafillan Swifts v Newpark Olympic.
Firmus energy Division Three: Cushendall v Atletico Antrim; Steadfast v Sporting Ballymoney (Galgorm).
Irish Junior Cup Semi Final (7.45pm): Harryville Homers v Lower Shankill (Inver Park, Larne).
Friday, April 24 (6.45pm) - CGRSC Sammy Moore Cup final: Randalstown v Templepatrick (Chimney Corner).
Saturday, April 25 (10.15am) - Rainey Cup, round three: Harryville Homers v Ahoghill Thistle (Wakehurst 2); Seven Towers v Woodside (Showgrounds 4).
firmus energy Division One: Clough Rangers v Michelin (Clough); Connor FC v FC Moylena (Connor); Raceview v Carniny Rangers (Broughshane).
firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers v Waveney Swifts (Ahoghill); Glenravel v Cloughmills (Showgrounds 5); Newpark Olympic v Riverdale; Lisnafillan Swifts v Holywell.
firmus energy Division Three: Wakehurst Star v Sporting Ballymoney (Dunfane).
Monday, April 29 (7pm) - firmus energy Division Two: Glenravel v Braid United (Showgrounds 5); Cloughmills v Newpark Olympic; Seven Towers v Waveney Swifts (Showgrounds 4).