Seconds win local derby
Saturday the 7th saw Bann 2nds travel to local rivals Lisnagarvey in a top of the league, title crunch match. With Garvey 2s two points ahead, this was a must win game for the Bann men even though they had a game in hand.
The match started brightly for the away side with some good possession and passing manoeuvres being constructed by the experienced Scott ‘Ted’ McCandless who was playing an unusual holding role in the centre of the park. Excellent link up play between Jess, McCraken and Magowan on the right hand side of the pitch saw Bann quickly create a chance to score via a short corner. As expected of the reliable captain; Anderson placed the ball into the side netting past the Garvey keeper with a powerful and accurate dragflick to give Bann the lead.
However, the remaining 15 minutes of the 1st half saw the home team pick up their pace of play and put the Bann men under some serious pressure. They soon created their attempt on goal after winning a short corner but a trio of saves in quick succession from goalkeeper Appleton ensured the visitors stayed in the lead. Unfortunately the Bann men went into the half time team talk slightly disappointed when Garvey scored from a well worked short corner routine with approximately eight minutes left to play.
Garvey maintained their quick pace of play in the early stages of the second half which in turn pushed Bann deeper into their own half. During this period of the game Bann relied on some cool headed defending from Burns, Anderson and Sturgeon which ensured the home team had a limited number of goal scoring opportunities. However, with 20 minutes left to play, some inexperienced defending eventually prevailed on Banbridge’s behalf and this saw Garvey win their 3rd short corner opportunity – only to be denied by an excellent reaction save by Appleton.
In the latter stages of the game, Bann began to take the initiative and started to look like the dangerous, offensive side they had shown they were capable off in the early period of the 1st half. Good work upfront ensured more short corners were won for the away side, with the Garvey keeper dealing well with one opportunity and a ball stopped by a Garvey player’s body on the line another. The resulting penalty flick was dispatched calmly by Anderson to secure his brace and give the Bann men the lead once more.
The remaining eight minutes, surprisingly, were not as nervy as expected. With the home team becoming increasingly frustrated, Bann sat back, soaked up pressure and responded explosively on the counter attack. After a hard game, Magowan got his reward for his endless persistence on the Garvey defence as he broke away, alone, towards the lonesome Garvey keeper. The experienced forward coolly placed the ball into the net to seal the win for the away side.
The win has not only let Bann leapfrog their local rivals in the league table, but it has firmly put them in pole position as the race for the league title gets down to the business end of the season.
Banbridge 3rds 0-2 Annadale 2nds