Banbridge pick up three more points in their Premier League title quest

Banbridge returned to Ulster league action away to a resolute Inst team. Banbridge haven’t been involved in the league since the first weekend in October, due to Irish hockey league, Irish Senior Cup and EHL commitments. Banbridge have been on a role since returning from the EHL in mid October with 3 consecutive wins and were hoping for another victory away to Instonians.

It was Bann who were under pressure for the first whistle, has an aerial ball was not dealt with by the ever reliable Ross McCandless but Lennox was on hand to kick clear before the Inst striker could latch onto the loose ball.

Bann gradually got there passing game going and it wasn’t long before they had created there first opportunity. It was intricate passing around the back between the McCandless brothers before Beattie fired the ball into the circle for Stevie Dowds to deflect the ball towards goal, only to get the ball tangled under the pads of the Inst keeper and on the rebound Dowds fired wide. This was about as good as it got for Bann as Inst turned the tide and began to press the Bann defence which created a few half chances but were unable capitalise on this. As Bann endeavoured to get their usual flowing hockey going, they continued to give away possession in the final third.

It wasn’t until 5mins before half time when Bann got on the score sheet following a short corner. Ross McCandless fired the ball high into the Inst net after Stevie Dowds forced the ball onto an inst foot in the circle.

Bann came out in the second half with all guns blazing and it wasn’t long before they extended their lead. A quick free taken by Stephen Forbes on the edge of the circle to Owen Magee, who showed fantastic skill down the left hand side before cutting into the circle and firing past the inst keeper to make it 2 nil.

This second goal kicked Inst into life and it wasn’t long before Lennox was called into action to save from the Inst forward as Scott McCandless allowed the forward to pick the ball up in space. Inst then forced a short corner which they scored from as the initial shot was blocked by Bruce McCandless but unfortunately the ball fell kindly to the Inst forward to slot home.

Bann then managed to force their second short corner of the game with a fine run by Bruce McCandless. Once again big brother Ross stepped up to the mark to fire the ball towards goal only to be stopped on the line by the Inst defender but Stephen Forbes was on hand to shovel the ball over the line. Inst stepped the pace up once again but Bann were happy to absorb the pressure and hit them on the counter attack. Owen Magee on the left hand side caused problems all-day for Inst but was unable to add to his goal earlier in the half.

This was a performance Bann will want to forget but they held on to secure their fourth consecutive win and look forward to a home game next week against Kilkeel.