Bob Radcliffe Cup Quarter Final
Anyone who paid in for today’s game certainly got value for money.
A crazy game packed with incident and goals. Central defender Aaron Parke withdrew from the starting line-up during the warm up having become ill. This was always going to be a tough assignment for Valley given the Irish League status of their opponents Banbridge Town, and Rangers had injuries today added to Parke including Matty Johnston and Ryan McMurray with others not available.
Valley got off to the perfect start, racing into a 2-0 lead to stun Town. The first a cool Lee Newell finish following a perfect Johnny Newell pass. Andy Graham made it 2-0 with a great finish off the post. Town got back into the game via McGrath’s penalty. Minutes later another penalty, this time McGrath’s effort excellently saved by Davy Fitz.
Town equalised before adding another to take a 3-2 lead. At the end of the first half Patterson broke forward, before being hauled down in the box but the referee awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. A real talking point but the half would end 3-2.
The second half was more of the same as the goals kept coming. The Town 4th was a gift from a poor goal kick. Valley changed shape with immediate dividend, Lee Newell breaking before smashing a belter into the net off the underside of the crossbar for 4-3, game on again.
Banbridge hit back to make it 5-3, but resilient Valley had their own response with Cranston delivering an excellent cross for Andy Graham to send a looping header beyond the keeper for 5-4. With Valley trying to push for an equaliser, Town tried to manage the game out keeping ball. However, Town went on to kill the tie off as Valley left bodies up field with a goal making it 6-4.
That was that, a crazy goal fest at Crystal Park. Both sides will be frustrated with the defensive displays and Town move into the semi-finals. A decent attacking display from Rangers but they know defensively today was not good enough.
After the game, Valley boss Forsythe said “we made the ideal start, but disappointed we couldn’t manage that lead through the opening half”.
“The lads fought hard against a good attacking Banbridge Town side. With bodies to return, we look forward to our next game. It says something when we leave the pitch frustrated knowing we gave another Irish League side a run for their money, we will keep hunting for that higher opposition scalp.”
Next up an away leave game vs Laurelvale next week.