The seniors came within an inch, literally, of causing a bit of a stir in the Bob Radcliffe Cup on Saturday as they took on NIFL Premier Intermediate side Banbridge Town.
The game started quite even with Town showing little regard for their opponents league status. They were attacking at pace through Greenaway, Hamilton and Crozier when they had the chance. As the half progressed though, Banbridge started to show why they are only a league below Championship One. They worked the ball well and were causing issues in wide areas. It wasn’t long before they made this pressure count. They got in behind the Town full back and the cross was met by the striker who scored from close range. To Town’s credit they bounced back emphatically. Within two minutes they shocked the visitors and their supporters with an instant equaliser. Jonny Hoey’s superb pass found the in-form David Hamilton who lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper from the edge of the area to take his tally to ten for the season. This rattled Banbridge and they struggled the remainder of the half with the Lurgan men pushing forward. Half Time 1-1.
Town knew the visitors would come out strong in the second half. Banbridge bossed the play and possession and had some great chances. However they found young Tyler Boyce in the Town goal in inspired form as he made several key saves to keep his team in the game. Lurgan were finding it hard to get forward with any purpose this half, and eventually Banbridge’s dominance was rewarded when Ashley Gregg was judged by the referee to have been fouled in the area resulting in a penalty, much to the annoyance of Lurgan who believed Gregg had overrun the ball into touch before a tackle was made. Their skipper and former Town player Ryan Moffatt stepped up to score his and Banbridge’s second to take a deserved lead. Lurgan then started to press back in the dying minutes of the game, and with three minutes remaining they thought they’d grabbed the equaliser when Matt Hollis’s back post header seemed destined for the goal only somehow to be deflected out from goal line by one of his own team mates. As Lurgan appealed to the referee that the ball had crossed the line, Banbridge broke away at pace and scored to finish the game.
A superb effort from the lads in a game that no one gave them a chance in. Another plus for Town was young Andy McIvor making his senior debut in the final fifteen minutes. A great all round performance from all 14 involved, with Tyler Boyce just edging Jonny Hoey for Man of the Match.