Sports

Fifth win in a row

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

BANBRIDGE Rangers secured their fifth consecutive Intermediate A League win on Saturday at Cheney Park thanks to two second half goals and a gritty post Christmas performance from Lee Feeney's recruits.

Banbridge Rangers ...2
St Mary's YC ...0

Portadown-based side St Mary's have recruited well after a slow start and found form late in 2016 and caught the eye with a 3-1 win over Hanover in their last outing.

The Gers are also on a fantastic unbeaten run stretching back three months, but found it tough going in the early exchanges.

St Mary's were the dominant side in the opening 20 minutes with a high tempo pressing game that forced the home 'keeper into a very good save as early as the first minute.

A deserved booking for Chris Chambers in the third minute for a foul on the edge of the box allowed the Saints to test McConville again but he was equal to the task.

The pressure started to subside with several breaks on the counterattack, but the Gers were left fuming at several unbelievable offside calls, with one in particular being over five yards onside.

Referee Alastair Burns was having a poor half by any standards and within a five minute period he brandished five yellow cards to stamp his authority with only one being genuinely warranted.

Banbridge Rangers finished the half strong and looked dangerous with both Cousins and Spence working off front man Lee Feeney. The Gers lost Jonny O'Neill to injury after 40 minutes but were able to hand a first appearance in three months to Ryan Gregg, who was out with injury.

After the half-time break the Gers started like a house on fire and within 45 seconds found themselves a goal up through a fantastically executed shot from Dean Spence. A one two by Mark Wilton on the edge of the box with Feeney then saw the ball played left into the path of Spence, who used the outside of his boot to spin the ball into the far top corner.

For the next 20 minutes Banbridge Rangers retained a good shape to soak up a lot of pressure from St Mary's, who held plenty of possession without creating a clear goalscoring opportunity.

With just over 10 minutes to go referee Burns produced his most bizzare moment of the match when he gave Mark Wilton a second yellow card.

Wilton wasn't involved in a foul awarded to St Mary's and as the ball arrived in his direction he toe-poked the ball back to where the offence was committed and was shown his marching orders and will now miss the next game.

When the Gers went down to 10 men it galvanised the team and they started to create wave after wave of chances.

Eventually in the final minute a clearance from Nathan Baird was controlled by Stephen Teggart inside his own half and with one movement he brought the ball down and beat his marker to leave a free run at goal. The teenage midfielder streaked away and showed superb composure to slot in his third goal in two games.

This was Banbridge Rangers' fifth league win on the trot and continued a run which has seen them go unbeaten in league and cup games since mid October.

Next up for the Gers is the eagerly-anticipated meeting with Moneyslane at Cheney Park this Saturday. Kick off is at 2pm and advice for all supporters is to avail of parking facilities in the Coach car park.

BRFC Team: Ryan McConville, Ben Wilson, Chris Chambers, Nathan Baird, William Frazer, Jonny O'Neill (Ryan Gregg '40), Stephen Teggart, Mark Wilton, Dean Spence, Colin Cousins (Jonny Porter '85) and Lee Feeney (Scott Ward '77). Subs not used: William Davidson and Colin Cunningham.

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