European adventure starts with a win

Banbridge HC                        5          Grammarians (Gibraltar)     2

Banbridge starting their European campaign against a spirited side from Gibraltar. From the outset Banbridge dominated the game, controlling possession of the ball and the tempo of the game. Bann created several chances in the opening exchanges with Fraser Mills and Simon Magowan going close. Bann continued to press forward and Kyle Marshall did well to win a short corner, however Stephen Dowds effort went wide of the mark. Grammarians failed to produce anything in the attacking third of the pitch with Lennox untested for much of the first half. The weather played a huge part in the game, with both teams struggling to deal with the heat. Bann came close again with Owen Magee putting his effort over the bar and minutes later had an effort well saved by the Grammarians’ keeper. Frustration began to set in amongst the Bann side as they failed to convert their chances into goals. Frazer Mills had a great chance to open the scoring but failed to hit the target as his lobbed effort went over the bar. Grammarians’ keeper continued to make excellent saves to keep the score level going into half-time.

The second half started in the same vein as the first, with Bann dominating possession. Bann soon broke the deadlock with Stephen Dowds rifling home a drag flick low to the keeper’s right hand side. The game began to open up as Grammarians’ searched for a way back into the game. It was soon two nil as Stephen Dowds converted another short corner after great work from Bruce McCandless to win the short corner. Grammarians’ had a way back into the game, as Banbridge lost their discipline with both Stephen Dowds and Bruce McCandless picking up yellow cards. However, Bann kept the ball very well with Hugh McShane and Scott Forbes snuffing out any threats Grammarians’ posed. Banbridge were soon back to full strength and were unlucky not to make it three nil as Owen Magee’s deflected effort struck the left hand post. It was three soon after, with Stephen Dowds completing his hatrick from another short corner. Bann began to turn the screw and made it four nil in quick succession. Philip Brown did well to find Josh Moffett who finished from the top of the circle. Bill Malcolmson scored the pick of the goals with a fantastic finish high into the net. Grammarians’ continued to play and scored two drags flicks in the closing five minutes to make the score 5-2 on the final whistle. Bann will look to build on this result as they take on Slavia Prague in their secong game of the tournament.