Defeat Is Hard To Take

It was a difficult defeat to take on Saturday for the Reserves as they lost out on the chance to progress in the Mid Ulster Shield.

Lurgan started brightly, pressing high up the pitch putting Banbridge under pressure right from the first whistle. Adil Faila and Niall McBride both had early chances on goal, only to see their subsequent efforts blocked. As Town pressed, Banbridge had three or four opportunities on the break but Tyler Boyce was in fine form and his excellent positioning ensured he was off his line quickly to squash any danger.

Lurgan began to find their rhythm and were putting together some excellent passages of play when Faila, Millen and McBride combined for another one on one opportunity only for the Banbridge goalkeeper to thwart that chance again.

Faila worked his way into a one on one opportunity once again in and around the 25th minute, but just as he was about to release his shot, he was brought down on the edge of the box by the Banbridge centre back who arguably was fortunate to stay on the pitch.

Banbridge constantly looked dangerous on the counter and within 10 minutes had forced a terrific save from Boyce down to his left hand side, seen a free kick on the edge of the box headed in at the back post and converted an unstoppable 25 yard strike buried into the bottom corner.

Adil Faila opened the scoring for Town

Town rallied again in the second half with Faila again going through on goal on his favoured left foot only to be bundled over from behind with no penalty given. On the hour mark, a back pass to the Banbridge goalkeeper was harried by Faila who blocked the clearance and ran through with the ball to score in an empty net.

Town were on top again, a shot from Alex Woods forced a fumbled save from the Rangers keeper as Adam Leathem followed up and tapped the ball in, only to be pulled up for offside.

With 20 minutes to go Rangers delivered a dangerous ball into the box which was headed in again at the back post. As the game edged towards 90 minutes, a pass from Alan Stokes into the path of the in form Niall McBride, resulted in the Lurgan man coolly slotting under the keeper into the far corner, it looked like Town might have one last chance to take the game to extra time.

Niall McBride scored in the 90th minute for Town

Rangers were reduced to 10 men and into injury time, substitute Andrew Houston found himself one on one with the Banbridge goalkeeper, a difficult ball to control on a sticky pitch saw Houston manage to get it under control, only to see the outstretched leg of the keeper save his effort.

A great game of football, a tremendous effort from the Reserves but a defeat that was difficult to take. Nonetheless, good luck to Banbridge Rangers in the next round.