Lurgan Town were simply too much for their opponents in this league match and the score nowhere near reflected the number of chances they created in this one sided game.
Town started well, as they have in recent matches, and the threat of the two marauding full backs Ryan Blacoe and Matthew Cupples was proving difficult for Banbridge to deal with. Early exchanges only called for a little bit more composure to find the killer pass to give Lurgan a reward for their efforts. After ten minutes a Jamie McNeill run and cross was scrambled to safety and the resulting corner from Blacoe was finding its way into the top corner until a Banbridge defender handled on the line to prevent the goal. Banbridge were punished by being reduced to ten players but Alex Woods, usually deadly from the penalty spot, saw his effort this time well saved by the Banbridge keeper.
If anything the sending off impacted more on Lurgan than Banbridge as the Bannsiders retreated to their penalty area to defend and Lurgan couldn’t continue to make use of the big pitch at Gilford as they had been to that point. Lurgan continued to probe and Jack Hogg had two great opportunities to score but the in form striker didn’t seem to have his shooting boots on as he failed to get the ball out of his feet in time to take the chances created by flying wingers McNeill and Da Silva.
A massive positive for the Town mangers was that the team didn’t allow these missed chances to frustrate them and their good play and patience was rewarded with their best goal of the season so far when a flowing move of quick passes was set to Simon Wilson on the edge of the box and the defensive midfielder spanked an unstoppable shot low into the bottom corner. As the match approached half time Town spurned a few more chances and spent the last few minutes of the half playing keep ball.
Half Time 1 v 0
If anything the second half gave Aaron Hancock even less to do as it seemed the Banbridge back four were now playing on their own eighteen yard line and they were happy to try and suck Town in and try to play on the counter attack, but every attack they launched was dealt with easily by man of the match Daniel Johansen who did much more than defend, he organised and launched attack after attack throughout the game.
Jamie McNeill was unlucky throughout the half and had at least three good chances to score but found the side netting on each occasion. Town really needed the second goal to press home their advantage and Hogg provided it on fifty minutes when he picked up on a loose ball and turned the centre half inside out and firing a low shot past the keeper giving him no chance.
Five minutes later Cupples played a ball up the line and when everyone else thought it was about to go out Da Silva chased and caught it he squared the ball over Judt was unlucky not to get on the end of it but the ball then got played back to keeper it was chased by Hogg and the keeper only succeeded in firing it against the attacker and the ball rebounded of Hogg’s face straight into the open net proving a goal scorer’s instinct is worth to weight in gold.
Town kept going to the final Wilson and Woods nearly scored goal of the decade as he skipped past six Banbridge players and just failed to find the bottom corner when it seemed easier to score. Daniel Johansen then got in on the glaring miss act when he headed against the only defender in the goal and again just over both from Blacoe corners. Gary Judt then fired a left foot shot from the edge of the box but only found the open arms of the keeper.
The match ended as it had been throughout with Da Silva beating the full back and when to goal was there for him he struck the post in the final action of the match. Next week sees Town take on last week’s opponents, Ballyclare, in a league game at the Arena and the management hopes to see a continuation of this winning streak.
Full Time 3 v 0