BANBRIDGE TOWN 0 NEWRY CITY AFC 3
Banbridge Town were soundly beaten at Crystal Park, by a strong Newry City side in the first of five promotion play-off fixtures in a 14 day period.
Town were forced into changes due to injury and suspension. Danny Devlin replaced hamstring victim Stuart Thompson at full back whilst Jack McCreanor came in for the suspended Kevin Anderson.
Newry were on the front foot from the first whistle and forced a corner as early as the fourth minute.
A few minutes later Downey just failed to control Greene’s speculative long pass as the home side sought some pressure going forward. Sadly for Banbridge, parity only lasted until the 10th minute when Cullen,in the home goal, deflected a stinging shot, Mark McCabe was on hand to fire home the rebound from the left hand side of the penalty area.
Shortly after this, Newry were forced into a substitution when Connor McCaul replaced the injured Stephen McCabe at full back.
Newry were in the ascendency and Cullen had to be alert when he saved to his left after a snap effort from McCann. Banbridge constructed their first real attack in the 24th minute when McCavitt crossed from the right but his effort was over hit and the chance was missed. Town’s efforts at possession were thwarted at every opportunity by Newry’s pressure on the ball and indeed Town were lucky not to concede a second when McCabe again was clear but was denied by an excellent save courtesy of Cullen’s feet.
Town made a change at half time with Stephen Teggart replacing Stuart King. However the visitors continued to dominate. With only four minutes of the second half passed, Stephen Greene was forced into an excellent last ditch tackle to prevent another Newry attack. Banbridge had their attempt at goal when, in the 62nd minute Teggart fired wide after creating some space for the shot. More Newry chances followed as McCabe shot wide when put through and immediately afterwards Cullen made another excellent save, again, with his feet.
Newry doubled their lead in controversial circumstances in the 69th minute when McCabe, who looked yards offside was allowed to continue and scored nicely. This score was hotly disputed by both the Town players and Management but to no avail. Finally, Banbridge were able to get some possession and Downey’s header from a 69th minute corner had Gordon in the visitors’ goal moving quickly to make a save. Newry however hit Town on the break and Hughes hit a volley just wide following a cross-field pass from McCardle. Shortly after, Patton headed a corner over the bar when well placed.
Banbridge replaced Clydesdale with Andrew Wilson and Downey with Pedlow and although the former tested Gordon with a fine left foot shot, Town were unable to create anything meaningful going forward.
Substitute McMullen added a third goal deep into time added on.
Banbridge Town v Newry City AFC
GK: Cullen; McCartan; Acheson; Greene; Devlin; McCreanor; King (Sub Teggart 45); Moffett (C); Clydesdale (Sub A.Wilson 79); Downey (Sub Pedlow 82) S.McCavitt
Subs not used: M.McCavitt; J.Wilson
Referee: Mr Barry Monaghan