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Home support enjoys feisty clash.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Home support enjoys feisty clash. thumbnailRyan Gregg celebrates putting Banbridge into a 3-2 lead against Moneyslane at Cheney Park on Saturday.

BANBRIDGE Rangers recorded a second 4- 2 win of the campaign against early season title favourites, Moneyslane last Saturday (3 February) at Cheney Park.

Banbridge Rangers...4
Moneyslane...2

The match was like a mirror image as the return game at Jubilee back in August also saw Moneyslane squander a 2-1 lead to eventually be hit by three further goals without reply.

There was a large home support at Cheney Park, who expected to see a feisty clash with plenty of goals and over the 90 minutes of football they weren't disappointed.

An early shout for a Banbridge penalty and an unpunished challenge from Scott Ward set the tone for the game in the opening three minutes of play for referee, Jerome McElroy who had a busy afternoon issuing over 10 yellow cards during the match.

The opening goal arrived in the 13th minute when a lapse in concentration allowed Banbridge Rangers striker Colin Cunningham in between Moneyslane's two centre halves and he duly poked the ball over McClurg.

Rangers were comfortable for much of the opening 20 minutes but through a series of errors they presented two opportunities for Johnny Kernaghan in succession, which he duly finished off to put Slane in front.

The first one was a 30 yard curling effort into the top corner after a short clearance, whilst his second goal came from a free kick less than three minutes later after Kingsmore was upended unnecessarily on the edge of the Rangers box.

The equaliser to make it 2-2 arrived four minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half, with Banbridge Rangers talisman Colin Cousins able to stab in a cross from Ben Wilson.

Moneyslane had complained about a potential throw in during the lead up to the goal, but the referee was well placed to allow play to develop.

Moneyslane started the second half brightly but the enthusiasm was no match for the overall quality of Banbridge Rangers, who dictated play as they did for much of the first half.

Banbridge full back Ben Wilson was having joy down the right hand side with two driven shots causing problems for Moneyslane, with winger Matty Holloway going close to sending a rebound in from the first shot, but Slane were able to clear off the line.

The third home goal came from one of a large number of Banbridge Rangers corners which were awarded during the match. Stuart Mallen's floated set piece to the back post saw Rangers centre half Ryan Gregg rise highest and he expertly cushioned his header into the far top corner to the delight of the Banbridge supporters.

Moneyslane started to pick up bookings as they struggled to pick up the Banbridge Rangers forward runs and after Adams had been fortunate to escape a second caution.

There was no such compassion for Slane centre half Larmour, who did see red when he collected a second booking in quick succession for a late tackle on Russell Hilland.

The icing on the cake for Banbridge Rangers came with four minutes of normal play left when Andy Mallen collected a ball 25 yards from goal and with little backlift, the talented forward curled into the top corner before taking his celebrations to the Moneyslane dugout.

Moneyslane manager Dan Thornton had banked on Brendan Kingsmore to provide the goals after re-signing the frontman 48 hours before kick off, but he was anonymous for most of the game and his performance was summed up late on when he had a one-on-one with McMullan, but skewed his shot well wide when it looked easier to score.

In reality Banbridge Rangers should have won by a greater margin on the day only for a couple of superb strikes by Moneyslane forward Kernaghan. Thanks to Carnbrooke Meats for sponsoring the match day at Cheney Park, whilst Porters Furnishings and Giftware sponsored the Man of the Match award, which was presented to Ben Wilson.

Next up for Banbridge Rangers is a trip to Belfast to take on Immaculata in the last 16 of the IFA Intermediate Cup.

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