No Second best for Bann as they take sixth league win.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

BANN Seconds picked up their sixth Conference League win, eventually putting a stubborn Lisburn side to the sword after what was, for Coach Colin Bickerstaff, a frustrating first 40 minutes.

Bann Seconds...17

"We were terrible in the first half, much improved after the break," was Bickerstaff's summary of his side's performance.

"We were a bit naive and tried to take them on at their own game up front in the first half.

"In the second half we played a wider game and our much younger, faster back line came in to their own as we tried to get them into the right channels."

Certainly Bann dominated the opening half territorially to such an extent, that 31 minutes had been played by the time Lisburn made their first foray over Bann's 10 metre line.

However that field advantage hadn't translated into points on the board. After Macauley Little's 17th minute penalty shot from in front of the posts had veered wide, Bann went ahead four minutes later.

Ross Cartmill collected a long pass and fed Jamie Ewing, with the big winger weaving inside and outside defenders before touching down for an unconverted try.

Paul Ross appeared to have added a second try only to be penalised for a 'double movement'.

And Ben Carson's blistering 45 metre run offered another gilt-edged scoring opportunity which wasn't snapped up.

Lisburn took advantage of a series of penalty awards to gain a foothold in the visitors' "22". A shot at goal failed to get them off the mark but by the break they were level.

Their three-quarter line had shown little cohesion or threat, but a piece of individual brilliance from full-back Craig Walsh took him through a patchy Bann defence and his 40 metre run finished with him dotting down for the equalising try.

Three minutes into the second half Lisburn took the lead, with winger Chris Magill slotting home a 35 metre penalty after Bann had gone off-side.

Robin Hewitt's superb steal of the re-start kick put Bann back on the offensive and Richard Graham went close to scoring after his forwards had gone through the phases.

The pressure on the home line was now incessant and John Porter's try on the hour was the inevitable result, with Jason Gribbon's economic conversion just scraping over the crossbar.

Robin Thompson had taken over from injured out-half Little towards the end of the first half and his experience was bringing the best out of the young Bann backline.

Porter, Cartmill and Josh Agnew all tested the home defence before a quickly taken penalty saw Graham and Matthew Laird carry well with Ross finishing off for his side's third try.

Bann pushed hard for the bonus point score in the 13 minutes remaining, but a stronger set scrum allowed Lisburn to deny them the fifth point.

Bickerstaff said he was disappointed with his side's penalty count.

"We would get ourselves into a good attacking position only to give away a penalty.

We just weren't patient enough with the ball." But despite not picking up the bonus point he was pleased with the way the team was playing to the system.

"You can really start to see it coming into play more and more. At the start of the season we were running around like headless chickens, but we've really worked on our organisation and you can see that coming through."

The Seconds' next game is at home to Larne in the Conference League on Saturday, 2 December.


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