Bann suffer Kirk Cup defeat at Inst
Instonians 3-2 Banbridge
Banbridge 1st XI travelled to Shaw’s Bridge on Saturday morning intent on building on a successful opening fixture in the Kirk Cup which saw them fire five goals past Civil Service at Stormont on Wednesday evening. They knew from the outset that this game would be a much sterner test than that of midweek as Instonians are renowned for their physicality and stong basics.
The game began at a somewhat lethargic pace, with the home dominating possession in the opening exchanges with Banbridge struggling to get their passing game into gear. Instonians converted this period of play into two early goals. These both came from opportunity breaks down the Bann right side and saw them taking advantage of some lacklustre marking in the Bann midfield and backline, enabling them to finish from close range on both occasions with Peter Bingham – again deputising for an absent Gareth Lennox – in the Bann goal having no chance.
From this point Banbridge attempted to retain possession and put together some attacking play, mainly through Philip Brown down the right hand side. Dane Ward saw a reverse stick shot flash beyond the back post when offered the opportunity to shoot but Bann were afforded few chances to get on the score sheet as the home side defended admirably, although this was against a Bann side seemingly devoid of attacking quality.
After a stern dressing down from Mark Tumilty at half time, Banbridge came back into the game, retaining possession well round the back four and in the midfield and using Philip Brown to better attacking effect down the right side. Scott Forbes was introduced at left back and utilised the ball efficiently being able to find Bruce McCandless and Ian Livingstone with more ease than in the opening 35 minute period. Bann gradually built up a sustained platform in the home side’s territory and through one circle penetration the ball was worked to Bruce McCandless who finished calmly into the bottom right corner with a well placed reverse stick shot.
This goal spurred Banbridge on and the visitors were now playing with a renewed sense of pace, urgency and intent. This made an equalising goal almost inevitable and this arrived after a break down the left side by Ian Livingstone, who’s pass into the circle reached Josh Moffett – his first time shot was too powerful for the Instonians goalkeeper to handle and the ball crept into the goal. From this point Banbridge endeavoured to go on and win the game and further chances fell to Dane Ward and Bruce McCandless who were unable to convert as well a short corner opportunity which came to nothing.
Banbridge continued to pressurise the home defence which gave Instonians limited opportunities to attack, but from one counter attack they managed to force a penalty corner. This was flicked home low to the goalkeeper’s left by marksman William Robinson, much to the disappointed of the Bann players and travelling support. The game finished with the home side winning by the odd goal in five and thus leaving Banbridge in a challenging position to qualify for the Kirk Cup semi finals. To do this they must win both remaining group games, beginning with Mossley – a game which takes place on Tuesday night at 7.45pm at Havelock Park.
Banbridge II’s 6 – Kilkeel II’s 1
Reigning champions Banbridge opened up their league campaign with the visit of Kilkeel and welcomed debutant school boys Timothy Watt, Matthew Hurst, Jonny McKee and Aaron Reid into the new look team. Bann established control of the game from the outset but Kilkeel defence managed to fend off the early Bann attacks. A good attack by McKee and Woods led to the first short corner and Anderson made no mistake with a trademark drag flick. Bann grew in confidence and Doyle doubled the lead when he found himself free in the right hand side of the circle and riffled a shot past the Kilkeel keeper. Doyle was on hand again to add the final touch to a move involving McAnulty and Woods and increase Bann’s lead. Kilkeel were looking dangerous on the counter attack and Burns and Watt were on hand to stifle the attacks. As the game moved towards the end of the half Sturgeon picked up a bouncing ball to volley it into the Kilkeel net and allow Bann to go into the break four goals ahead. Half time 4-0.
With Bann in total control of the game they took their foot off the pedal and allowed Kilkeel back into the game although Kilkeel were unable to convert any of their chances. Bann eventually worked their way back into the game and from another short corner Anderson found a sliding Doyle who deflected the ball into the Kilkeel goal. Kilkeel did manage to pull a goal back when a Kilkeel player was first to react to rebound and pushed the ball past Mooney. Bann still found time for another goal when Woods waltzed past several players to fire the ball past the Kilkeel keeper. Bann continued to press forward but were unable to increase their lead and now look forward to a tough away fixture next week to Lisnagarvey. Final score 6-1.
The men’s 3rd XI opened their Junior League Two campaign with a tough away trip to Bangor 3rds, coming away with a 3-3 draw, goals coming from Scott McCandless, an own goal and William Malcolmson.
Additionally the 4th XI began their league opener with a fine 2-0 win over Mossley 3rds at Havelock Park, marking a fine opening round of fixtures for the club’s junior league sides.