Belfast Telegraph

Down Area Winter Football League round-up, August 16

For the players of the Down Area Winter Football League, the long wait ended on Saturday. There were 13 games across the top two divisions, with plenty of goals and a few surprises to make it the most exciting opening day in years. The Premier Division began with last year's champions Moat Park Rangers hosting a strong Ravenhill Young Men side.

The game ended 1-1 and considering that Moat Park dropped only 12 points during the entire 2013-2014 season, Ravenhill Young Men and their manager Robbie Walker will see the positives in what was a very closely contested game. Greenwell Star and Brentwood, last season's second and third placed teams respectively, both started with comfortable victories.

Greenwell Star twice came from behind to beat a Vision Athletic team that found it difficult to match their opponent's composure and work rate, whilst Brentwood put six past Comber Star to show why they are so often fighting for places at the right end of the table come May. Premier Division new boys, Abbey Villa III had a difficult start to life at the top with a 6-2 defeat away to Comber YM, whereas North Down, last year's Division 1 champions, came away from their first game since promotion with a 1-1 draw at Oakfield Breda.

The final Premier Division game of the day saw Corrymela travel to Henry Jones Playing Fields to take on 8th OB in a tense 1-1 stalemate. Neither manager could be reached for a comment but both would see this fixture as a must-win if they are to make the leap from mid-table to challenging for honours at the end of the season.

The biggest story from Division 1 saw Clandeboye Young Men take all three points away to Agapé, with a confident 3-0 victory. This was the perfect remedy for the club that went the entire 2013-2014 season without registering a point and must fill them with confidence that this year will be a lot more positive. 3rd Bangor OB took all three points against local rivals Bangor YM III in a 4-1 victory and Queen's Graduates III narrowly defeated Balywalter Rec III 3-2. Newtown Forest suffered the heaviest defeat of the weekend, losing 5-1 to Bangor Rangers III. 

hree more draws brought this round of fixtures to a close with Bangor Swifts III and 43rd OB playing out a high tempo 3-3, as Stranmillis 37th OB and Bryansburn Rangers III mimicked 82nd's game against Ballygowan with both matches ending 1-1.

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