SML round-up: Thistle end Clough’s unbeaten record

Ahoghill Thistle are the early pacesetters in the firmus energy Saturday Morning League after recording their fourth straight victory last week.

Thistle, who mounted a serious challenge for the title last year, have picked up where they left off and their latest win came at the expense of Clough, who had also been unbeaten beforehand.

Clough Rangers score their second goal in last week's win over Abbeyview. INBT 35-802H

Clough Rangers score their second goal in last week's win over Abbeyview. INBT 35-802H

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE

Ahoghill Thistle 2, Clough Rangers 0: Both these teams opened the season with 100% league record, but it was Thistle who came out on top in this hard fought game.

Eighteen minutes into the match Thistle struck the opener when Ryan Sands pounced on a poor clearance to drill the ball low into the bottom corner of the net giving Colin McCaughern no chance from 20 yards out.

The second half saw Clough make a few changes with Kyle McRoberts coming on making them more of a threat but again good defending by Thistle preventing them from getting level, with the only real chance coming when Christopher Montgomery had a shot which Stewart McDonald brilliantly tipped round the post.

Clough were now pushing everyone forward in search of the equaliser and this left them vulnerable to a counter attack, and on one of these attacks Thistle made it 2-0 11 minutes from time. David Tennant evaded his marker down the left and sent in a low cross for Matt Boyd to get in front of Clough keeper Colin McCaughern to sweep the ball home and give his side a two goal cushion.

Ballykeel 7, FC Penarol 0: New Ballykeel player/manager Ricky Culbertson led by example when he rose above the Penarol defence and headed home from a perfectly hit corner early in the game. Ballykeel made it 2-0 when Darren Cummings raced down the line beating two Penarol players before delivering a perfect pass for Dean Graham to slot into the bottom corner.

Then new signing Peter Kealey rounded the Penarol defender he was brought down in the box for a penalty. Kyle Balmer converted the penalty coolly into the bottom left hand corner.

The second half started with Ballykeel scoring again when Kyle Balmer slotted the ball through to Jason Martin to smash it into the top corner. Not long after the same pair linked up as Balmer played it again to Martin who coolly rounded the keeper for his second making it 5-0.

Darren Cummings then got in on the act when he made it 6-0 getting on the end of a through ball from Kyle Balmer. The scoring was complete when Jason Martin was brought down in the box after another good run. Martin converted the penalty to complete his first hat trick for the club.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO

Galgorm Blues 2, Ahoghill Rovers 0: This derby game saw two of the top teams in Division Two fight it out, and in the end it was newly promoted Galgorm who came out on top.

The home side up the ante at the beginning of the second half and their pressure paid off halfway through the half when they took the lead. Lee McCaughern played a short corner to Gordon Mairs and he swung the ball over and it was met by a bullet header from Johnny Richmond who gave French no chance from close range.

Seven minutes later Galgorm killed the game off when they got their second goal. A long punt up the field from Gordon Mairs wasn’t dealt with by Rovers and the ball fell to David Meeke who fired into the bottom corner.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE

Sporting Ballymoney 2, Rectory Rovers 4: This game saw new boys Rectory Rovers gain their first victory in the BSML thanks mainly to two Alex Telford goals.

The home side got themselves in front on 16 minutes when they hit Rovers on the counter attack. Adam King split the Rovers defence for Shane Crutchley who squeezed the ball past Thomspson Dickey from 18 yards out.

Rovers then started to apply pressure and this paid off on 28 minutes when Alex Telford rose highest to head home a Ryan Quinn corner.

Three minutes later Rovers got themselves in front when Alex Telford pounced on a poor kick out and squared to Brett McLaughlin to fire home.

Ballymoney got themselves level shortly after the break when a cross from Jamie Connor caused havoc in the Rovers defence and Shane Crutchley was on hand to poke the ball home.

Rovers regained control after this and got themselves back in front on the hour mark as Alex Telford out muscled his marker before placing the ball home from close range.

Chris Frearson then got in on the act and gave Rovers a two goal cushion with 14 minutes to go when he beat two men before slotting below the Ballymoney keeper.

OTHER RESULTS

firmus energy Division One: Carniny Rangers 4, Connor FC 0; Clough Rangers 4, Abbeyview 0; FC Antrim 1, Ahoghill Thistle 3; Raceview 2, Harryville Homers 6; FC Penarol 1, All Saints OB 4; Michelin 2, FC Moylena 4; Harryville Homers 8, FC Antrim 1; FC Moylena 3, Abbeyview 3.

firmus energy Division Two: St Comgalls 1, Braid United 3; Riverdale 1, Seven Towers 0; Cloughmills 1, Waveney Swifts 2; Ahoghill Rovers 2, Holywell 1; Carnlough Swifts 3, Cullybackey Olympic 4; Lisnafillan Swifts 3, Galgorm Blues 2; Braid United 3, Glenravel 1; Cullybackey Olympic 2, Riverdale 3; Seven Towers 0, Lisnafillan Swifts 3; Newpark Olympic 4, Cloughmills 0; Holywell 4, St Comgalls 1; Waveney Swifts 1, Carnlough Swifts 1.

firmus energy Division Three: Cushendall 2, Atletico Antrim 0; Randalstown 8, Steadfast 0; Wakehurst Star 3, Templepatrick 1.

FIXTURES

Tuesday 26th August (6.45pm) - firmus energy Division One: FC Moylena v Harryville Homers (Forum).

Wednesday 27th August (6.45pm) - firmus energy Division Two: Braid United v Galgorm Blues (Broughshane); Riverdale v Holywell (Wakehurst 2); Lisnafillan Swifts v Cullybackey Olympic; Ahoghill Rovers v Newpark Olympic (Ahoghill); Cloughmills v Seven Towers; St. Comgalls v Waveney Swifts; Carnlough Swifts v Glenravel.

firmus energy Division Three: Wakehurst Star v Sporting Ballymoney (Dunfane 1); Atletico Antrim v Templepatrick (Forum); Randalstown v Woodside; Steadfast v Cushendall (Galgorm).

Thursday 28th August (6.45pm) - firmus energy Division One: Abbeyview v Connor FC (Forum); Clough Rangers v All Saints OB (Clough); FC Moylena v FC Antrim (Forum); FC Penarol v Carniny Rangers (Showgrounds 5); Michelin v Harryville Homers.

Saturday 30th August - Free Saturday.