Thistle keep Morning League flag flying in quest for Junior Shield glory

Ahoghill Thistle kept firmus energy Saturday Morning League interest in the Toals COunty Antrim Junior Shield firmly alive at the weekend.

Stewart McDonald’s side comfortably saw off the challenge of Brentwood - who finished the game with nine men - to reach the quarter-finals.

Raceview player Mark Watson has a shot at the Moylena goal. INBT-228AC

Raceview player Mark Watson has a shot at the Moylena goal. INBT-228AC

Both teams struggled on a heavy pitch to create goal scoring chances, but Thistle were given a helping hand on 20 minutes when the visitors had a man dismissed for two bookable offences.

Five minutes later a flowing move with David Tennant playing the ball to Paul McBurney on the right who played the ball into Daniel Brown who in turn laid the ball into the path of Ryan Sands to fire home the opener.

Ten minutes later a speculative cross from Paul McBurney came off the hand of a Brentwood defender and a penalty kick was awarded. The visitors’ keeper disputed the penalty kick and this resulted in him being sent off.

After the delay Ryan Sands stepped up and fired home the spot kick past the stand in keeper to send Thistle in 2-0 up at the break.

Raceviews Jamie Craig collides with Moylenas Micky McKendry during their match at Broughshane. INBT05-229AC

Raceviews Jamie Craig collides with Moylenas Micky McKendry during their match at Broughshane. INBT05-229AC

In the second half Thistle were well on top but at times over played their attacks with the visiting keeper rarely troubled until halfway through the half they killed off the tie and made it 3-0 after Paul McBurney broke down the right and hammered the ball across the box for David Tennant to divert the ball home.

The goal of the match came five minutes from the end when Jason Stewart picked the ball up 25 yards out and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net to seal a great victory for Thistle.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE

FC Antrim 0, Harryville Homers 5: Paul McNeill opened the scoring for the visitors early on with a well placed, curling left foot shot into the top corner of the net, leaving the keeper helpless.

Jason Logan doubled the lead with just ten minutes gone. The jinking wide man cut in onto his favoured right foot before producing a thunderous drive past the keeper.

The Harryville side upped their game in the second half with McNeill quickly adding to his side’s tally, latching onto a Jasin Magill pass before producing a very composed finish.

McNeill then turned provider as he picked out David Nicholl in the box with an accurate cross for the on form winger to finish off from six yards.

It was McNeill again that provided the ammunition for the final goal of the game. He outpaced the Antrim defence out wide right before cutting the ball across the face of goal for Jasin Magill to score from close range.

Michelin 0, Carniny Rangers 3: Michelin welcomed Gareth Hill back to their ranks for this game after a spell with Ahoghill Thistle and the former Ballymena Utd player had an instant impact as he helped the home back four keep out a normally potent Carniny attack in the first half.

After a frustrating first half Carniny eventually opened the scoring in the 63rd minute when Adam Coulter split the home defence to find Frazer Young whose cross was bundled over the line by Michael McQuitty.

Ryan Curry, who was a constant attacking threat down the right, found space in the box and his shot beat Mark McFerran at his near post in the 82nd minute to double the lead.

Michael McQuitty then added another goal in injury time with a fine finish from 10 yards out to keep Carniny clear at the top of the League.

FC Penarol 2, Ballykeel 4: The home side had a dream start when a cross come shot from Geoff Dunlop caught Ballykeel keeper Stephen Watson out of position and finished up in the net.

Ballykeel eventually got level in the second half when Daniel Boyd smashed an effort off the bar but the ball fell to Justin Rowe 20 yards out and he fired into the net.

Penarol regained the lead three minutes later when David Cushenan collected the ball on the edge of the box, beat three men and then rocketed the ball into the top corner of the net.

Ballykeel soon got back on level terms when a Darren Cummings corner kick was headed home by Daniel Boyd.

Ballykeel took the lead for the first time in the game 10 minutes from time. Chris Djorjani flicked on a Barry Bonnes corner to Darren Cummings to head home. Then in the dying minutes Ballykeel sealed the win when Justin Rowe slid in to score after a cross from Barry Bonnes.

FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE

Rectory Rovers 3, Wakehurst Star 0: On 20 minutes Rovers got the opening goal when Gerard Sloan and Robert Wright combined to set Paul Orr free down the right and he slipped the ball into new signing Diarmuid McNally who beat his man before curling the ball into the corner of the net. Three minutes into the second half Rovers doubled their lead when Paul Donegan laid the ball off to Ryan McCartney; he beat his marker before smashing the ball into the top corner of the net from 25 yards out.

With 15 minutes to go Rovers clinched all three points when Ryan McCartney brilliantly curled a free kick over the Star wall and into the top corner of the net from 30 yards.

TOP FOUR NEW DATE

After the recent Mortgage Solutions Top Four Cup final was postponed due to snow the re-arranged final will now take place on Friday, February 6, at Ballymena Showgrounds Main Arena (7.45pm)

OTHER RESULTS

Ace Cup, round one: Raceview 3, FC Moylena 4

firmus energy Division One: Abbeyview 2, Clough Rangers 2.

firmus energy Division Two: Glenravel 4, St Comgalls 0; Holywell 4, Braid United 3; Lisnafillan Swifts 9, Carnlough Swifts 2; Seven Towers 3, Galgorm Blues 0; Waveney Swifts 2, Cullybackey Olympic 4.

firmus energy Division Three: Atletico Antrim 0, Templepatrick 8; Sporting Ballymoney 2, Woodside 1; Steadfast 1, Randalstown 5.

FIXTURES

Saturday, January 31 (10.15am) - Rainey Cup, round one: Lisnafillan Swifts v Harryville Homers; Waveney Swifts v Braid United (Waveney 2); Wakehurst Star v Newpark Olympic (Dunfane); Carniny Rangers v Glenravel (Wakehurst 1).

Rainey Cup, round two: Sporting Ballymoney v Connor FC; Ahoghill Rovers v Randalstown (Ahoghill); Cloughmills v Cullybackey Olympic; Rectory Rovers v Ballykeel (Waveney 1); Holywell v St Comgalls (Forum); FC Penarol v Seven Towers (Showgrounds 5); Cushendall v Atletico Antrim; Carnlough Swifts v Templepatrick.

firmus energy Division One: Clough Rangers v Ahoghill Thistle (Clough); Michelin v Abbeyview; FC Antrim v All Saints OB (Forum).

firmus energy Division Two: Galgorm Blues v Riverdale (Galgorm).