Season Ends on a Low Note

BANBRIDGE TOWN 0 TOBERMORE UTD 1

Banbridge Town succumbed to a sixth and final play-off defeat against Tobermore Utd at Crystal Park on Saturday.
The team showed 3 changes from the defeat by Donegal Celtic last Tuesday. Matthew McCartan replaced Jack McCreanor at full back with Stuart King filling the midfield berth. Up front, Stephen McCavitt replaced Connor Downey.

Banbridge started well. In the third minute a break down the left by Moffett forced the visitors to concede a corner and three minutes later a surge forward by centre back James Wilson freed McCavitt in the box only for the young striker to blaze his effort over the bar. The first threat to the home goal came from Duffin in the twelfth minute but home ‘keeper Cullen was alert and saved with his leg. The swirling wind and hard pitch made conditions for flowing football nearly impossible and whilst both teams probed there was very little goal match action until the half hour when Duffin rounded Cullen only for Acheson to effect a clearance. From the resultant corner, Keane headed powerfully only for King to acrobatically clear the goal bound effort.

For the second period Banbridge brought on Downey to play in a central attacking role with McCavitt moving to the right. From time to time this tactical change worked well as Downey and Teggart combined to give McCavitt the opportunity to use his pace to make inroads into the visitors’ defensive area.

It was however, Tobermore who took the lead in the 73rd minute when Flanagan fired home from just inside the box. Banbridge responded by changing bot personnel and shape. Andrew Wilson replaced full back Devlin and shortly afterwards Maanager Ronnie Haughey gave a full debut to teenager Sam McCallister when he replaced Moffett.

With a few minutes left, Banbridge were awarded a free kick to the left of Tobermore’s box after Downey’s surging run was stopped illegally. The home supporters had visions of a deja-vu moment as Clydesdale stepped up but his kick sailed some two feet over the bar. In a final act, Stephen Teggart saw his effort pass just wide of the visitors’ goal just before Referee Mr Monaghan signalled the end of a drab match.

GK: Cullen; McCartan; Acheson; J. Wilson; Devlin(Sub A.Wilson 73) ; McCartan; Teggart ; Anderson (Sub Downey 45); Moffett (C) (Sub McCallister 77); King; Clydesdale; McCavitt
Subs not used: Greene; McCreanor

Referee: Mr B Monaghan

Limavady Utd Match Report

Banbridge Town FC v Limavady Utd FC

Banbridge Town welcomed the Premier Intermediate League leaders Limavady United to Crystal Par on Saturday in the third of 5 play-off matches. Town came into the game on back of two below par performances in the last 7 days which ended in defeats against Newry City and Moyola Park. Manager Ronnie Haughey was looking for a much improved performance in front of the home fans. Andrew Wilson made his first start for a number of matches and James Wilson moved to centre-half to replace Stephen Greene who was suspended. On the bench were 3 players who featured prominently in the U-20’s Development League title win, Nathan Weir, Michael McCavitt and Brian Johnston.

With rain falling steadily the teams took to the immaculaletly prepared Cystal Park in front of a another good crowd of vocal home supporters. The early exchanges were even matched as both teams tried to get the upper hand. Town’s midfield of Moffatt, Anderson, Teggart and Clydesdale worked hard to contain the visitors for whom player/manager Paul Owens was prominent. The first threat came from Owens who shot wide when unmarked on 7 minutes. However town were also and attacking threat and forced a corner after 10 minutes. From Moffatts delivery Acheson rose highest to flick the ball into the net and put Town ahead.

The goal lifted the home side and they continued to press with Downey and Wilson leading the line but getting little joy from the well organised Limavady defence. Hume and McCreadie having been scoring regularly for Limavady but both were well marshalled by Town’s defence with Acheson back to his best. A free kick following a foul by Clydesdale was headed to safety but the ball was played forward again and a cross from the right was volleyed into the top corner from all of 25 yards by Owens, giving Andrew Cullen in Town’s goal no chance. The home keeper kept this team in the game diving to his left to push Hume’s low shot past the post. With 5 minutes remaining Town put together their best move of the half; Moffatt and Wilson combined well on the left with Wilson putting in a good cross to Downey but the danger was cleared. The half ended with a Clydesdale free kick on 45 minutes was headed out for a corner.

The game was evenly balanced with both teams creating chances. On 50 minutes a through ball from Moffatt found the lively Stephen Teggart who turned his defender and shot across goal but just wide of the post.  Limavady were also stretching Town’s defence with Owens and McCreadie prominient, combining well to create an opening but Cullen saved well. Acheson was booked for a foul on McCreadie. Owen’s free kick was punched clear by Cullen with McCreadie’s follow up shot finding the side netting. Town continued to push forward Wilson, Downey and Teggart moved the ball well to create an opening for Clydesdale but his shot rebounded out to McCreadie who had clear space to run into. Downey’s tackle snuffed out the danger, picking up a booking in the process.

With 20 minutes remaining and the teams locked together at 1-1 Stephen McCavitt replaced Downey. He made an immediate impact, his pace creating panic in the visitor’s defence and creating an opening for Teggart whose powerful goalbound shot hit Kells in the Limavady goal and went out for a corner. Clydesdale’s corner was cleared upfield to McCreadie who drove forward, evading the unfortunate James Wilson who slipped when going in to tackle, and firing low past Cullen to put Limavady in front with 15 minutes to go. Town didn’t give up; Pedlow replaced Anderson and Moffatt’s shot on goal tested Kells while at the other end Cullen saved from both Hume and McCreadie in short succession. With 5 minutes remaining Nathan Weir came on for Andy Wilson but Limavady held on for a big 3 points in their quest for back to back league titles.

This was the improved performance the management had asked for from the home side and everyone gave their all in a tough but fair contest. Town remain in 5th place in the league table and travel to Donegal Celtic on Tuesday night, 25th, 7.15pm KO and their final game of the current season is back at Crystal Park v Tobermore United on Saturday next, 29th, 3.00pm KO.

Team: Cullen, McCartan, Devlin, Acheson, J Wilson, Anderson (Pedlow 80mins), Clydesdale, Teggart, Downey (S McCavitt 70), A Wilson (Weir 85), Moffatt. Unused subs: Johnston, M McCavitt.

Referee: Mr D Kelly.

Play Off Disappointment for Town

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.

HT 0-1

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