Bann fall just short…
Another Premier League Hockey season drew to a close last weekend when Banbridge played Annadale in a match that would have no impact on the home teams league position of third athough a win would enable Annadale to secure fourth place and automatic Irish Hockey League participation next season.
Bann started without the services of new father Ross McCandless who picked up an injury training earlier in the week and the home defence was dealt another blow after five minutes when an unwell Philip Brown had to leave the pitch. Annadale obviously intented to press hard for the win as they started the match at an incredible pace with Peter Caruth at the heart of all their attacking play. It was he who opened the score when he found himself in space in the right of the Bann circle and beat the onrushing Gareth Lennox with a well placed reverse stick shot.
Bann having started slowly began to show themselves as an attacking force with Owen Magee and Dane Ward prominent pressing the visiting keeper into a couple of smart saves.
Midway throught the half Bann contrived to miss place passses in the centre of the pitch and were punished on two occasions when Annadale extended their lead to three. It must be said that the scoreline did not reflect the pattern of play with the visitors converting three of the four chances they created.
Half Time : Bann 0 Annadale 3
Following a stern halftime talk from coaches Mark Tumilty and Errol Lutton the home team emerged a different side, upping the pace of play and passing the ball with more speed and authority. Five minutes into the half Bann where awarded a penalty corner which Steven Dowds dragged low and hard to the keepers right.
Annadale were now finding it almost impossible to get out of their own half as Bann poured forward time and again looking for a second goal to give themselves a chance of getting at least a point out of the match. However, some poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the home forwards at bay.
As the half progressed it became apparent that no matter what the locals did they where destined not to score. In the final few minutes they again won several penalty corners but failed to convert any of these. On the final whistle Bann got their second when following the breakdown of penalty corner Matthew Bell crossed on the reverse for Scott Forbes to deflect home.
All in all it was a very entertaining match which the locals probably deserved to get something out off, but failure to convert chances cost them dear. Best for Bann on the day where Matthew Bell and Peter Brown.
Bann having finished third in the league now turn their attention to the defence of the IHL trophy, won at Lisnagarvey last May, when they entertain Instonians on 14th April at Havelock Park with a 6pm start. This match will hopefully be preceded by both mini hockey and a veterans match. More details will follow next week.
Team: G. Lennox, M.Bell, S. Forbes, S. Forbes, P.Brown, D. Carlisle, P. Brown, B. McCandless, O.Magee, S. Dowds, D.Ward, B. Cosgrove, S. Caruth, P.Brown, J. Moffett, C. Dowds