After a few quiet festive weeks across the Intermediate leagues, this Saturday saw a busy schedule in all four divisions. As ever, goals were not in short supply as 2019 kicked off with a bang.
Immaculata remain top of the NAFL as they secured a 2-0 home win over near-neighbours Albert Foundry. This result, allied with second place Shankill Utd’s 1-1 draw at Rathfriland, meant the Mac stretched their lead at the top to five points. Elsewhere, Steel & Sons champions East Belfast were back in league action, and they romped to an impressive 8-1 home win over Crumlin Utd.
Ross McCaughan opened the scoring before Sam McNaul notched a quick – fire hat trick. Crumlin pulled a goal back before Jonny Roy scored a thunderbolt from long range. Danny McKee made it six before Keith Armstrong and Luke Wilson rounded off the scoring.
Ards Rangers kept up their good recent form with a 2-0 home win against next door neighbours 1st Bangor OB, Stephen Shaw & Brian Cabraley netting the goals to lift the hosts within a point of their rivals.
Elsewhere Ballynahinch Olympic fell to a rare defeat, this one coming at the hands of their near neighbours Drumaness Mills at Kilmore PF. Mills came from 1-0 down to triumph 3-2 to tighten the gap between the sides to two points. Islandmagee got back to winning ways with a 2-1 home win over Derriaghy, goals from Moore & McGoran securing the points for the Island.
Crewe United returned to action with a bang thanks to a 9-0 home win over rock bottom AFC Silverwood. George McMullan, Gary Rafferty, Matty Robinson (x3) and Paul Brown (x3) scored the goals that moved Eamon McCarthy’s men within seven points of the leaders but with four games in hand.
With Hanover successfully defending their Premier Cup title on Friday night, thanks to a 2-1 win over Richhill in an entertaining game at Holm Park, Banbridge Rangers were able to close the gap on the leaders as well, thanks to a 3-0 win over Moneyslane at Cheney Park. Matthew Holloway, Josh Cahoon & Stuart Mallen netted the goals which allowed the hosts to leapfrog ‘Slane into second spot.
At the bottom, St Marys fell to a 3-2 defeat at Ballymacash Rangers, and this allowed Laurelvale to leapfrog their near neighbours thanks to an impressive win at Fivemiletown United. The Vale won 3-1 to jump into 12th place, two points above St Marys and a nine point gap over Silverwood.
Clean sheets were the order of the day for Windmill Stars and Valley Rangers, as they both picked up solid home wins. Star triumphed 3-0 over Bourneview Mill while Rangers saw off Tandragee Rovers 2-0 at Bignian Park.
Onto the BPIL now, and with leaders Glebe Rangers not in action the chasing pack both secured victories on the road to tighten the gap further at the summit.
Bangor romped to a 6-0 win at Cookstown RBL thanks to a brace apiece from Mark Cooling, Matthew Johnston & Gerard McMullan. Elsewhere, St James’ Swifts secured full points with a 2-0 win at Desertmartin. Eugene Gallagher & Dermot McVeigh scored the goals for the Swifts. Bangor are now 12 points behind Glebe having played five games less, while the Swifts are a further four points and one game behind the Seasiders.
Coagh United moved up into fourth place thanks to a 2-0 win at Allen Park over Chimney Corner. Campbell & O’Hagan scoring the goals to lift United above Newtowne who shared the spoils in a tight 0-0 draw against Dunloy.
Wakehurst got the year off to a fine start as they saw off lowly Ballynure OB 4-0 at the Showgrounds, Conor Doherty the star of the show with a hat trick and David Hanna finishing the scoring for the Ballymena men. In the final game of the day, Cookstown Youth travelled to Skegoneill Avenue and secured the points with a 1-0 win over hosts Brantwood.
In the North West, leaders and champions, Magherafelt Sky Blues, were held to a 1-1 draw at Ardstraw and this allowed Newbuildings Utd to go level on points with them at the top thanks to a 5-1 home win over city rivals Oxford United Stars. Meanwhile, Trojans jumped into third place thanks to their 2-1 win away at Dungiven.
Northern Amateur Football League Premier Division
Ards Rangers 2-0 1st Bangor Old Boys
Immaculata F.C. 2-0 Albert Foundry F.C.
East Belfast 8-1 Crumlin United
Rathfriland Rangers 1-1 Shankill United
Ballynahinch Olympic 2-3 Drumaness Mills
Islandmagee 2-1 Derriaghy C C
|8||1st Bangor Old Boys||15||5||2||8||29||24||5||17|
|11||Albert Foundry F.C.||15||2||5||8||21||33||-12||11|
|12||Derriaghy C C||15||3||2||10||16||40||-24||11|
Mid Ulster Intermediate A
Ballymacash Rangers 3 – 2 St Marys
Banbridge Rangers 3 – 0 Moneyslane
Crewe United 9 – 0 AFC Silverwood
Fivemiletown United 1 – 3 Laurelvale
Valley Rangers 2 – 0 Tandragee Rovers
Windmill Stars 3 – 0 Bourneview Mill
Ballymena & Provincial Intermediate League
Brantwood 0-1 Cookstown Youth
Chimney Corner 0-2 Coagh United
Cookstown RBL 0-6 Bangor FC
Desertmartin 0-2 St James Swifts
Newtowne 0-0 Dunloy FC
Wakehurst FC 4-0 Ballynure OB
|3||St James Swifts||9||8||0||1||43||8||35||24|
NI Intermediate League
Dungiven 1-2 Trojans
Newbuildings Utd 5-1 Oxford United Stars
Ardstraw 1-1 Magherafelt Sky Blues
|1||Magherafelt Sky Blues||7||5||1||1||20||8||12||16|
|8||Oxford United Stars||7||0||1||6||3||20||-17||1|