Sports

Mallen marks return with two goals

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

SATURDAY past marked the return of Stuart Mallen into the Banbridge Rangers squad after a deadline day transfer back to his home town club from Loughgall.

Dungannon Rovers...0
Banbridge Rangers...7

Mallen marked his return with two goals against Dungannon Rovers inside the opening 22 minutes and assisted with three other goals in man of the match performance at Stangmore Park.

Dungannon Rovers would have been hoping for a good start on Saturday against a Banbridge Rangers side from the Division above but conceeded after only three and a half minutes. A high line gave Stuart Mallen the opportunity to exploit the open space and after collecting the ball on the edge of the box he rounded the keeper and slotted home.

Rangers doubled their lead in the ninth minute when teenage winger Matthew Holloway timed his run to pick up a weighted pass from Mark Wilton and found the net at the second time of asking after his initial effort hit the foot of the post.

Dungannon Rovers were struggling to contain a rampant Banbridge Rangers who saw an effort cleared off the line from Cousins after 10 minutes. The third goal wasn't long coming around with Colin Cousins being the architect with a threaded ball for Stuarty Mallen to slide past the onrushing keeper.

Rangers kept probing for more goals with Holloway and Mallen going past defenders for fun but Banbridge Rangers had to wait until the 39th minute to make it 4-0. A cross from Holloway to Mallen was diverted into the path of Feeney who reacted quicker than the keeper to flick the ball into the path of Mark Wilton who had the simplest of tasks and blasted in from four yards.

A couple of changes at half time and shortly afterwards allowed Lee Feeney to introduced forward Andy Mallen and teenage defender Russell Hilland into the fray to give the pair valuable game time.

Andy Mallen took all of ten minutes to stamp his authority on the match with a stunning goal in the 55th minute. Younger brother Stuarty pulled the ball back from the byline for Andy Mallen and with a sweep of the right wand he curled a loopping shot into the far corner with exceptional accuracy to make it 5-0.

Banbridge Rangers then took their foot off the gas after the hour mark and would have conceeded on two occasions only for remarkable saves from goalkeeper Bradley Hughes who has only converted from an outfield player inside the last month but has been a revelation for the Reserves and fully earned his clean sheet on Saturday.

The sixth goal came from the Mallen/Holloway combination with Stuarty Mallen stinging the hands of the Rovers goalkeeper and Holloway being quick to react and slot home the loose ball.

With five minutes to go club stalwart Colin Cousins showed no lack of desire closing down the back four and was rewarded with a goal after he robbed the centre half of possession and then opened his body to curl into the top corner.

Saturdays match was a potential banana skin for Banbridge Rangers but an efficient start to the game made it a comfortable match to progress to round four of the Marshall Cup. The Gers will host Moneyslane in the fourth round at Cheney Park on Saturday 25 February but before then there is a home match against Hanover in Intermediate A this Saturday. Both of these kick offs will be at 2pm.

BRFC Team: Bradley Hughes, Jonny Porter (Dean Gordon '65), Chris Chambers, Nathan Baird, William Frazer, Colin Cousins, Ryan Gregg, Mark Wilton (Andy Mallen '45), Matthew Holloway, Lee Feeney (Russell Hilland '56) & Stuart Mallen.

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