SML round-up: Four sides share leadership in early stages
Four teams are setting the early pace as the early-season run of midweek matches in the firmus energy Saturday Morning League came to an end last week.
Ahoghill Thistle, Carniny Rangers and champions Harryville Homers each have maximum points from their opening four games, while Clough Rangers also have 12 points, having played five matches.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
Clough Rangers 3, All Saints OB 0: Saints started the game well in the opening 10 minutes of the game with Gavin Burnside forcing Colin McCaughern to turn a shot round the post and from the resulting corner Peter McReynolds hit the post.
After this Clough started to get on top with the long throws from Richard Dunlop causing Saints all sorts of problems and from one of these throws David Gage hit the bar.
Saints did not heed this warning as 10 minutes before the break Clough took the lead when a long Richard Dunlop throw was headed off the post by Steven Gage and Dean Magill reacted quickest to fire home.
Clough got the perfect start to the second half when they doubled their lead six minutes in. Again it was a Richard Dunlop throw that did the damage as he launched the ball into the Saints box and David Gage rose highest to head home at the near post.
Clough dealt with anything Saints threw at them after this and got a third goal late on when Jonathan Rice intercepted a Saints attack and broke forward beating two men before slotting into the net to inflict Saints’ first defeat of the season.
FC Penarol 2, Carniny Rangers 7:
Carniny made it four wins from four on this visit to traditional rivals FC Penarol.
Carniny broke the deadlock after 22 minutes when Darren Kidd showed composure eight yards out to hold off the challenge from Barry Mawhinney and find the net.
Five minutes later Rico Wylie shot past John Cunningham to double the Carniny lead.
Jordan Kenny, who was instrumental in much of Carniny’s attacking play, scored his first of the season to make it three on 31 minutes.
Good work from Ryan Curry and Jordan Kenny on the left saw the ball find Jonny Spence free in the box to score Carniny’s fourth in the 39th minute.
Penarol were still causing problems particularly through the bullish running of Kenny Wright and got two goals back either side of half time.
The bustling number 9 scored just before half time and made the assist for Kyle Blair’s effort early in the second half which brought the score to four two in the visitors’ favour.
Fifteen minutes from time the in form Jonny Spence scored his ninth of the season before Darren Kidd added a sixth with a neat near post finish from Ryan Curry’s cross.
Even after a late penalty miss there was still time for another goal as Stephen Greene lobbed Cunningham after being put through by Richard Reid to make it seven for Carniny.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO
Ahoghill Rovers 0, Newpark Olympic 1: Rovers suffered their second defeat in a week at the hands of newly promoted Newpark who got the winner late on through Victor Gibson, and this result shows that Division Two is wide open once again.
David Killen was unlucky for Newpark when his shot from 20 yards had Rovers keeper Andrew French beaten but the ball came off the bar and was cleared.
Rovers came close in the second half from a corner kick which was swung over by Stuart McKinney and met by Kevin Henderson but his header was cleared off the line by Victor Gibson.
Substitute Ben Armstrong was then introduced for Newpark and he made an instant impact as he hit an inch perfect corner for Victor Gibson to head into the bottom corner of the net and win the game for Newpark.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION THREE
Wakehurst Star 6, Sporting Ballymoney 1: Star came in to this game with three wins from three while the visitors had lost both their opening league matches so the script was torn up nine minutes in when Sporting Ballymoney took the lead against the run of play. A corner wasn’t dealt with by the home side and the ball fell to Liam McKenna whose crisp half volley found the bottom corner of Kyle Henry’s left post from the edge of the area.
Wakehurst were level on 16 minutes through Kieran O’Boyle as he penetrated the Sporting defence, drove in to the box and shot across goal to equalise.
The game was completely turned on its head on 24 minutes with Justin Cassells in the visiting goal rushing off his line to meet a searching pass from Simon Cunningham but the keeper was beat to the ball by Darren McNeilly and he slotted in to the empty net.
Thirteen minutes into the second half Sporting were reduced to 10 men when keeper Cassells was sent off after wrestling Josh Crawford to the ground and a penalty was awarded.
Kieran O’Boyle made no mistake from the spot, slotting past stand in goalkeeper Willy Woodburn to give Star a two goal advantage.
Star pressed ahead with their advantage and moved 4-1 in front on 66 minutes as Sporting didn’t deal with a Jason Connolly free kick from distance and Josh Crawford was on hand to smash the ball in to the roof of the net.
The ten man visitors were being cut open at will now and Kieran O’Boyle drove down the left and in to the box before crossing for Matty Logan to slot past Willie Woodburn and make it 5-1 with 16 minutes to go.
With the minutes ticking down, Kieran O’Boyle went on another surging run, made space for himself and shot across goal and in to the far corner to complete his hat trick and complete an emphatic win for Wakehurst.
firmus energy Division One: FC Moylena 1, Harryville Homers 11; Abbeyview 2 Connor FC 2; FC Moylena 0, FC Antrim 2; Michelin 0, Harryville Homers 10
firmus energy Division Two: Braid United 5, Galgorm Blues 4; Riverdale 3, Holywell 0; Lisnafillan Swifts 3, Cullybackey Olympic 1; Cloughmills 1 Seven Towers 1; St Comgalls 2, Waveney Swifts 1; Carnlough Swifts 2, Glenravel 3.
firmus energy Division Three: Wakehurst Star 6, Sporting Ballymoney 1; Atletico Antrim 0, Templepatrick 4; Randalstown 5, Woodside 2; Steadfast 0, Cushendall 1.
Saturday, September 6 (10.15am) - Mortgage Solutions Top Four Semi-Final: Ahoghill Thistle v Harryville Homers (Broughshane).
County Antrim Post O’Kane Cup round two: Riverdale v All Saints OB (Wakehurst 2); Connor FC v Carnlough Swifts.
firmus energy Division One: Ballykeel v FC Moylena; Carniny Rangers v FC Antrim (Wakehurst 6); Abbeyview v Michelin (Forum); FC Penarol v Raceview (Showgrounds 5).
firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers v Lisnafillan Swifts (Ahoghill); Cullybackey Olympic v Glenravel (Tober Park); Galgorm Blues v Seven Towers (Galgorm); Holywell v Cloughmills (Forum); Newpark Olympic v St Comgalls (Allen Park); Waveney Swifts v Braid United (Waveney 2).
firmus energy Division Three: Atletico Antrim v Sporting Ballymoney (Forum); Cushendall v Rectory Rovers; Templepatrick v Woodside (Forum); Wakehurst Star v Randalstown (Dunfane 2).