All Saints Old Boys’ aspirations of a first firmus energy Saturday Morning League title since 2012 face a crunch test this weekend.
Table-topping Saints face defending champions Harryville Homers in an eagerly-awaited tussle at Wakehurst.
Both sides started the new year with victories on the opening weekend of January.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
All Saints OB 4, FC Moylena 0: Saints kick started 2016 with all three points with a 4-0 victory over Moylena.
The game was only two minutes gone when Saints opened the scoring. Peter McReynolds broke into the right hand channel and crossed for Joe Scullion to head home from close range.
Saints were well on top now and on 16 minutes they doubled their lead. A corner kick was kept alive by Ryan Wilkinson who knocked the ball wide to Alan Telford on the right and his near post cross was met on the volley by Peter McReynolds giving Martin Campbell in the Moylena goal no chance.
Three minutes later it was 3-0 when Ciaran McGarry rose above the Moylena defence to head home an Alan Telford corner kick.
Moylena struggled to trouble Brian Martin in the Saints goal with Noel Crossey and Chris Wilkinson leading the Saints defence brilliantly to keep out any danger as the half finished with Saints holding a 3-0 lead.
Saints almost got the perfect start to the second half when Ryan Wilkinson broke clear but his shot was knocked wide by Martin Campbell.
Saints were then denied a penalty kick when Joe Scullion was upended but the referee waved play on.
The fourth goal came shortly after the hour when Ryan Gregg picked up a loose ball from a corner and he dinked the ball in for Joe Scullion to head home his second goal of the game.
Ryan Wilkinson then had another effort saved by Martin Campbell as Saints went in search of more goals.
Saints took their foot of the gas in the closing stages but still maintained control of the game and ran out convincing 4-0 winners.
Raceview 0, Harryville Homers 3: Both sides were slow to start in the game as both had half chances early on.
On 30 minutes Homers had a great chance to open the scoring but Raceview keeper Ian Watt brilliantly saved a Gary Baird penalty kick.
Just before half time Homers struck the opener. Paul McNeill raced beyond the home defence and squared the ball to Alan Rainey who fired into the empty net to give his side a half time lead.
David McWhirter, making his first start from returning from a broken leg in last year’s O’Kane Cup Final, doubled Homers’ lead not long after the break when he ran onto a Justin Rowe through ball and opened his body up to slot the ball past Ian Watt in the Raceview goal.
Homers killed the game off after the hour mark when they made it 3-0. David McWhirter nipped in front of his mark to fire home an Alan Rainey cross to seal the points for Robert Duddy’s side.
Carniny Rangers 3, Newpark Olympic 1: Newpark were first footers at Wakehurst on Saturday morning and Carniny played the perfect hosts when a defensive error gave Olympic a first minute lead.
Willie Davison gratefully seized on a slack pass and rounded Sean Ward before putting the ball in the bottom corner of the net.
Carniny were immediately on the attack playing some neat attacking football but it was 26 minutes before they were level.
Frazer Young found Alan Fullerton down the right flank and his cross was turned in by Zach Barr to make it a goal apiece.
Eight minutes later Zach Barr scored again this time receiving the ball 40 yards out, the young striker turned and hit a superb dipping volley which caught Olympic keeper Rodney Crawford off his line and finished in the back of the net.
Carniny then lost Alan Norton with a head injury shortly before half time though they could have extended their lead before the break but Zach Barr headed wide when well placed.
Carniny struggled to break down a resolute Newpark defence in the second half with Ryan Carson impressive for the visitors.
Ryan Carson then came close to equalising for Olympic when his header from a set piece went narrowly wide.
Carniny kept plugging away though and after Rodney Crawford had denied an earlier attempt, Frazer Young got the insurance goal on 88 minutes to seal the three points for the home team.
Abbeyview 0 Ballykeel 2
The festivities looked to have taken their toll on both teams in the opening stages with little in the way of goal mouth action. Twenty minutes in the game sprang into life when the View keeper did well to save a header from Lee Mark. After this both sides had half chances but both sides failed to convert as the half finished goal less.
Five minutes into the second half Keel took the lead. Geoffrey Dunlop collected the ball 30 yards out and smashed the ball home to give his side the lead. Keel were on top now with Darren Cummings and Gary Greene causing the home defence problems.
On the hour mark Keel doubled their lead when Darren Cummings was fouled just outside the box and Lee Mark stepped up and fired in a free kick which the home keeper failed to deal with and the ball ended up in the net. View threw everything at Keel after this but Darren McDonald marshalled the Keel defence well to keep them out and even when Keel were reduced to 10 men late on the home side couldn’t break them down as Keel held out for all three points.
Toals Co Antrim Junior Shield 4th Round: Ahoghill Thistle 3, Killough FC 4 .
firmus energy Division Two: Woodside 1, Holywell 1.
Saturday, January 9 - IFA Junior Cup, round four (1.30pm): Ahoghill Thistle v Enniskillen Town United (Ahoghill); Carniny Rangers v Knockmonagh Swifts (Wakehurst 1).
firmus energy Division One (10.15am): Clough Rangers v Ballykeel (Clough); FC Moylena v Raceview (Forum); Glenravel v Riverdale (Cargan); Harryville Homers v All Saints OB (Wakehurst 2); Newpark Olympic v Abbeyview.
firmus energy Division Two: Carnlough Swifts v Waveney Swifts; Cloughmills v Ahoghill Rovers; Holywell v FC Penarol (Forum); Michelin v Cushendall; Randalstown v Galgorm Blues; Woodside v Sporting Ballymoney (Ballykeel).
firmus energy Division Three: Atletico Antrim v Southside Rangers (Forum); Carniny Amateurs & Youths v Braid United (Showgrounds 7); St Comgalls v Northend & District; Steadfast v Ruby’s Rovers (Galgorm); Wakehurst Star v Cullybackey Olympic (Showgrounds 4).