Sports

Chambers ‘vital’ to squad

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Banbridge Rangers defender Chris Chambers kept his cool to slot home a penalty for his side at the end of the first half of Saturday's curtain raiser at Cheney Park against Tandragee Rovers.

The penalty strike turned out to be the only goal of the game with the Gers picking up all three points. Manager Lee Feeney had two new faces in his starting team with goalkeeper Bryan McMullan and forward Aaron Cheevers coming into the club during the summer.

Feeney also showed his trust in youth with two 17 year old players occupying the right back and right wing positions. Both Russell Hilland and Matthew Holloway broke into the team last season and have continued to impress and the selections were justified on Saturday against with the two young players performing superbly against an experienced Tandragee team.

The first half saw very few clear cut chances with Banbridge Rangers having to soak up a lot of pressure early on along with having to contend with a torrential shower. As the sun reemerged so did the fluid passing from the Gers team for which they have become renowned for under Feeneys stewardship.

A long range shot from the impressive Scott Ward clipped the woodwork and Matthew Holloway turned over a corner kick from close range.

The penalty decision, which turned out to be decisive, was undisputed as midfielder Nathan Baird was dragged back as he powered into the box with only a minute before the half time whistle. Chris Chambers stepped up and sent Richard McGivern the wrong way to keep up an impressive scoring record for the big defender.

A change at half time saw Colin Cousins come on for Cheevers to exploit the space in behind Rovers back line with Cousins immediately causing problems with his pace but was blown up on a few occasions for offside when it didn't look close.

Midway through the half Banbridge Rangers went very close to opening the scoring. Holloway spurned a good chance and Cousins went one on one with Tandragee keeper after a run down the right hand channel with the shot needing to be saved by McGivern at full stretch.

This sparked Tandragee into life and they created two chances within three minutes that should have been converted for an equaliser.

Jonny Black beat the offside trap for the first chance but keeper Bryan McMullan got his angles spot on to make an excellent save.

Two minutes later Black was in on goal again in a similar position. McMullan again made the save at the edge of the box but the ball fell kindly for Black who smashed the rebound towards the open net but was denied by one of the best goal line clearances anyone will see this season as Chris Chambers came from nowhere to clear off the line with a diving header.

The match finished at frantic pace with Cousins sending a looping header over the Tandragee keeper after racing onto a through ball from Chambers but it trickled the wrong side of the post. Chrissy Chambers was the standout man of the match and proved how vital he is to Banbridge Rangers.

Thanks to Shoefair Sports for sponsoring Saturday's game and to those who came down to support. Next up for Banbridge Rangers is a trip to Lisburn to take on Ballymacash Rangers on Tuesday 8th August with kick off at 6.30pm.

BRFC Team: Bryan McMullan, Russell Hilland, Ryan Gregg, Chris Chambers, Jeff Brady (c), Matthew Holloway, Scott Ward, Andy Mallen, Nathan Baird, (Danny McKinstry '78), Aaron Cheevers (Colin Cousins '45) & Colin Cunningham (Lee Feeney '73).

Referee: David Berry (Portadown)

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