Harryville Homers took another step towards a third successive firmus energy Ballymena Saturday Morning League title at the weekend.
Robert Duddy’s men defeated Clough Rangers by three goals to nil to maintain their 100 per cent league record this term.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION ONE
Harryville Homers 3, Clough Rangers 0: Homers caught Clough cold when Darren Campbell latched onto a delightful David Nicholl through ball in the first minute. The midfielder burst into the area before being upended for a first minute penalty.
Gary Baird stepped up to convert from twelve yards scoring his sides 100th league goal of the season in the process.
It was the perfect start for the Harryville side as it assured Clough had to come out and attack them after this but chances were few and far between as both teams worked hard and cancelled each other out during most of the first half.
As the half was drawing to an end, Homers doubled their lead when the in form Jasin Magill continued his rich vein of form sweeping the ball into the net with his left foot from inside the area.
With an hour gone of the contest, Clough got their first shot on target of the game courtesy of a long range Colin Byers free kick which was comfortably saved by Ryan Martin.
Soon after, Homers knocked the stuffing out of their visitors with a third and what turned out to be a decisive goal of the contest.
Alan Rainey used every available inch of the pitch to ghost down the line before picking Jasin Magill out in the box.
The big striker showed his poise and composure by instantly controlling, then stroking the ball into the net.
With Clough running out of steam, Jordy Craig came close to adding to the Harryville sides tally, first hitting the post, then hitting over the bar when in on goal late on as the defending Champions maintained their 100% league record for the campaign in the process keeping another clean sheet.
All Saints OB 0, Ahoghill Thistle 3: Thistle kept up their title challenge with this hard fought victory over Saints who battled hard but again suffered a setback in the Top Four shake up.
The game flowed from end to end early on but the breakthrough came on 21 minutes when Alan Moore swung over an inch perfect free kick from the right for Daniel Brown to power a header from 15 yards into the top corner giving Brian Martin no chance.
Thistle controlled the game after this with Matt Boyd hitting the crossbar before they deservedly went 2-0 up when David Tennant hit a great long pass to Matt Boyd whose touch took him past Brian Martin in the Saints goal and left him with an open goal to fire into.
Saints tried to salvage something from the half and Peter McReynolds raced clear only to be pulled down just outside the box, and from the resulting free kick Gavin Burnside curled over.
Saints were on the front foot at the start of the second half with Gavin Burnside and Peter McReynolds causing the Thistle defence problems, but Gareth Dickey and David Campbell dealt with them well and gave Thistle a platform to hit Saints on the break and on one of these breaks they made it 3-0.
Jason Stewart easily picked out Matt Boyd in the box and he laid off to Alan Moore whose shot was saved by Brian Martin but David Tennnant followed up to score from close range.
Saints then were given a lifeline in the game when Sean Ward fouled Ryan Wilkinson in the box after he had robbed the ball off him and a penalty was awarded. Gavin Burnside stepped up to hit the spot kick, but Sean Ward made up for his error and brilliantly saved the penalty.
FIRMUS ENERGY DIVISION TWO
Glenravel 1, Newpark Olympic 1: These sides renewed their rivalry from last years Division Three promotion race and in an exciting end to end game neither side could manage to claim the win to aid their push for Division One.
Top of the table Newpark looked dangerous early on with Ryan Carson and Jamie Nutter a major threat and they combined for Jamie Nutter to wriggle clear but he fired wide when well placed.
At the other end Victor Gibson and Ricky Simpson dealt relatively well with Dean Dunlop and Brian Paul Donnelly until late in the half when Dean Dunlop fired against the post and then saw a shot well saved by Newpark keeper Rodney Crawford as the half finished in stalemate.
With 15 minutes to go Newpark got the opening goal.
Steven Wilson split the home defence for Jamie Nutter who brilliantly flicked the ball into the path of Ryan Carson who this time made no mistake in slotting into the bottom corner of the net.
Glenravel didn’t wilt after this and went in search of the equaliser, and with five minutes left on the clock they got themselves level.
Conan Dunne broke into the box and after he was upended a penalty kick was awarded.
Darren Burgoyne stepped up and made no mistake in firing past Rodney Crawford.
In the dying minutes Newpark had keeper Crawford to thank for a share of the spoils when he made a brilliant save at the feet of Brian Paul Donnelly as the game finished 1-1.
Rainey Cup, round two: Steadfast 0, Woodside 1 (AET).
firmus energy Division One: Ballykeel 2, FC Antrim 1; Carniny Rangers 6, FC Penarol 1; Raceview 2, Connor 3.
firmus energy Division Two: Ahoghill Rovers 3, Braid United 2; Cloughmills 2, Riverdale 0; Cullybackey Olympic 1, Holywell 7; Waveney Swifts 1, Lisnafillan Swifts 5.
firmus energy Division Three: Atletico Antrim 3, Wakehurst Star 3; Cushendall 3, Rectory Rovers 1; Templepatrick 3, Sporting Ballymoney 2.
Saturday, March 28 - Ace Cup quarter-finals (10.15am): Carniny Rangers v FC Penarol (Wakehurst 1); All Saints OB v FC Antrim (Showgrounds 5); Harryville Homers v FC Moylena (Wakehurst 2).
George McAuley Cup Quarter Finals: Ahoghill Rovers v Cloughmills (Ahoghill); Braid United v Newpark Olympic (Broughshane).
firmus energy Division One: Abbeyview v Ahoghill Thistle (Forum); Ballykeel v Clough Rangers (Ballykeel); Michelin v Connor FC.
firmus energy Division Two: Carnlough Swifts v Galgorm Blues; Lisnafillan Swifts v Riverdale; Seven Towers v Holywell (Showgrounds 4); Waveney Swifts v Glenravel (Waveney 2).
firmus energy Division Three: Steadfast v Cushendall (Galgorm); Rectory Rovers v Sporting Ballymoney (Waveney 1); Wakehurst Star v Randalstown (Dunfane 1); Woodside v Templepatrick (Wakehurst 6 or 4)
Wednesday, April 1 - Irish Junior Cup semi-final (7.45pm): Harryville Homers v Lower Shankill (Taylor’s Avenue, Carrickfergus).
NEW MANAGER SOUGHT
BSML Division One side FC Penarol are inviting applications for the post of team manager. Persons interested should contact John on 07518466626.