AMATEUR LEAGUE: Alan Hall’s weekend review

UUJ's Mark Dean wins the aerial battle with Rathfern's David Moore. INLT 09-912-CON Photo: Philip McCloy
UUJ's Mark Dean wins the aerial battle with Rathfern's David Moore. INLT 09-912-CON Photo: Philip McCloy

There were wins for UUJ, Wellington Rec and Larne Tech, while Nortel lost for the third game in a row.

Saturday’s 6-1 success over Rathfern at Nortel makes it three wins out of three for new player boss Billy Youle, and this after UUJ had managed just one victory from their opening 13.

Youle concedes, “I couldn’t wish for a better start and remember, we’re still getting to know each other; they is still more to come from us.

“Most of the first half was cagey but once we got up and going, the result wasn’t really in doubt; we outclassed them, they never got near us, you could see the quality. And it’s not just about the new signings; five of the goals were scored by players who had already been here, although four of them were set up by Dom Melly who really ran the show!”

Although missing the likes of Ryan McLoughlin, Adam Dick and Grant Gardiner, there was a debut for latest recruit, Kyle McDowell. Rathfern were also understrength, yet manager Bill Campbell maintained, “We were the better side for the first half hour; Colin McBride hit the top of the bar and Robert Brown had one blocked on the line, but the experience and fitness they had made the difference. Their players were a class above anything else out there and if they get their full team out, I can’t see them losing many more matches!”

UUJ, two up at the break through Ciaran McMullan and Philip Gardiner, added second half goals from Mark Dean, Paddy O’Donnell (2) and Jonny Magennis. Rathfern’s reply came at 5-0 from Colin McBride, just after David Moore had smacked one against the upright.

In the meeting of 3rd versus 4th at Brookvale Park, Wellington Rec made hard work of seeing off Grove United, who were one-up at the break.

Things degenerated further when Rec custodian David Harrison was red carded just after the turnaround (Andy Waide taking over the custodial duties), before they bounced back through Stuart Hilditch and a Scott Todd penalty.

Larne Tech marked their first home game since 7th November with a 4-1 success over Killyleagh, with goals from Niall McAllister (2), Neil Webb (penalty) and Ciaran Kelly.

Meanwhile, its three league defeats on the spin for an understrength Nortel, losing 4-2 at Ards Rangers. Willie McMurdie and Phil McCann got their goals.