SML round-up: Thistle march into last 16 of Junior Cup

Waveney Swifts' goalkeeper thwarts a Holywell attack in one of the few Saturday Morning League game to beat the conditions on Saturday. INBT 04-824H
Waveney Swifts' goalkeeper thwarts a Holywell attack in one of the few Saturday Morning League game to beat the conditions on Saturday. INBT 04-824H

Ahoghill Thistle remain in the hunt for IFA Junior Cup glory after another impressive display in the prestigious knockout event at the weekend.

On a daye when much of the firmus energy Saturday Morning League campaign was decimated by the frosty weather, Stewart McDonald’s side were aided by an afternoon kick-off in the fourth round tie.

Holywell and Waveney Swifts players swing for a loose ball at the same time. INBT 04-821H

Holywell and Waveney Swifts players swing for a loose ball at the same time. INBT 04-821H

And Thistle took full advantage of the game being on as they reached the last 16 of the competition with a 5-3 win over Enniskillen Town United.

IFA JUNIOR CUP

Ahoghill Thistle 5, Enniskillen Town United 3: Thistle got the perfect start when they took the lead after only six minutes. Jason Stewart broke down the left and pulled the ball back for Matt Boyd who found the top corner of the net from 18 yards out. Matt Boyd then smashed an effort against the crossbar as Thistle came close to doubling their lead.

The visitors came more into the game and on 18 minutes Ryan Curry in the Thistle goal did well to save at their striker’s feet. Two minutes later the same guy broke clear and scored to make it 1-1.

Holywell and Waveney Swifts tussle for possession. INBT 04-820H

Holywell and Waveney Swifts tussle for possession. INBT 04-820H

The tie wasn’t level for long as Thistle got back in front five minutes later. Alan Moore clipped a free kick to the back post for Emmanuel Okai Kwai who headed across goals for Jason Stewart to fire home from close range.

Eight minutes later Thistle opened up a two goal lead when Matt Boyd played in Ryan Sands to score. Three minutes before the break Thistle made it 4-1 when Alan Moore raced onto a Ryan Sands ball to slot home.

The visitors set up a tense second half when they scored right on half time to make it 4-2 at the break.

The pitch became very heavy in the second half resulting in both sides struggling to get control of the game.

Just after the hour mark Thistle looked to have clinched the game when a great piece of skill from Matt Boyd set up Ryan Sands, but his shot was blocked and fell to Alan Moore who smashed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 5-2.

The visitors made some changes after this goal and it seemed to give them a foothold in the game.

With five minutes to go they got a goal back to reduce the deficit to two, and they had chances late on to make things nervy for Thistle, but the Ahoghill side saw the game out to make it into the next round.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE

Abbeyview 1, FC Moylena 3: Three goals in 12 first half minutes saw Moylena claim all the points in this Antrim derby.

Abbeyview came closest to taking the lead on 15 minutes when Alan Cochrane smashed an effort off the crossbar and then Moylena keeper Martin Campbell did well to save from Roy Robinson.

The breakthrough came on 25 minutes when Ross McNabb crossed from the right for Stefan Getty but his header was saved and fell for Caolan McKeown to fire home.

Soon after Moylena doubled their lead when Ross McNabb broke down the right and his cross come shot deceived everyone and finished up in the net.

Moylena were dominant now and made it 3-0 on 37 minutes when Caolan McKeown picked the ball up just inside the Abbeyview half, he drove at the defence beating three men before firing the ball into the bottom corner of the net for his second goal of the game and send his side in three goals to the good at the break.

With 20 minutes to go Abbeyview gave themselves hope in the game when Alan Donnelly found the top corner of the net with a pile driver from 25 yards out.

This could have been the catalyst for an Abbeyview onslaught, but straight after the goal they were reduced to ten men when they had a man ordered off for foul and abusive language.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE

Ruby’s Rovers 3, Carniny Amateurs & Youth 4: Two of the league’s newest clubs, Ruby’s Rovers and Carniny Amateur and Youth served up an eight goal thriller earlier in the season that ended in a 4-4 draw.

This return match was no different, however this time the Ballymena men came out tops winning by the odd goal in seven, in another thriller.

The first half was a close affair down at a cold Sandy Bay with Carniny breaking the deadlock with a 25 yard drive from Ricky Hanna that rattled in off the underside of the cross bar, the visitors keeping their lead to the break.

The second half started with both teams looking for the next crucial goal and the break through came from Ruby’s who drew level when Christopher Steele fired over the keeper after being played in by Michael McIlwrath.

Minutes later Carniny’s leading goal scorer Scott Buxton beat the offside trap to go one on one with the goalkeeper, only for the keeper to save it, but the striker followed up and scored the rebound.

Carniny now had their tails up and extended their lead from a free kick, with debutant Tyler McAuley pouncing on a loose ball in a crowed box to force the ball over the line.

This woke up Ruby’s coming back with their second goal again through Christopher Steele who found the net with a looping header and then Paul McCann converted from a penalty after perseverance from Andrew Monaghan resulted in him being fouled.

Then Carniny’s Adam Heron scored the decisive goal scoring with a silky run from out the left flank, to cut in onto his right foot and power blast a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

OTHER RESULTS

firmus energy Division Two: Holywell 2, Waveney Swifts 4.

firmus energy Division Three: Cullybackey Olympic 1, Steadfast 2; Northend & District 2, Templepatrick 3.

FIXTURES

Saturday, January 23 - IFA Junior Cup, round four (1.30pm): Dunmurry Rec II v Harryvile Homers.

Toals Co Antrim Shield, round four: Waveney Swifts v Basement (Waveney 2),

firmus energy Division One (10.15am): Carniny Rangers v Ballykeel (Wakehurst 1); Clough Rangers v Riverdale (Clough); Glenravel v Ahoghill Thistle (Cargan); Newpark Olympic v All Saints OB; Raceview v Abbeyview (Broughshane).

firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers v Cushendall (Ahoghill); Carnlough Swifts v Woodside; Galgorm Blues v Michelin (Galgorm); Sporting Ballymoney v Holywell; Randalstown v Seven Towers; FC Penarol v Cloughmills (Showgrounds 5).

CGRSC Sammy Moore Cup, first round, first leg: Wakehurst Star v Braid United (Showgrounds 4); Carniny Amateurs & Youth v Atletico Antrim (Showgrounds 7).

CGRSC Sammy Moore Cup, first round, second leg: Rubys Rovers [5] v Cullybackey Olympic [2].

firmus energy Division Three: Templepatrick v Southside Rangers (Forum); Northend & District v Steadfast (Waveney 1).