Banbridge Rangers blew their derby rivals Moneyslane away with a 3-0 win at Cheney Park on Saturday to progress into the quarter-finals of the Marshall Cup.
In a surprisingly one sided game, it was the Banbridge side who were winning the majority of balls early on and looking dangerous in possession.
A good chance for Cousins went begging with a mishit volley in the opening period of dominance.
The first goal of the game arrived in the ninth minute through Banbridge Rangers manager Lee Feeney, who has found a new lease of life on the pitch in recent months with some spectacular goals. This one was another display of natural technique as Feeney volleyed home a poor headed clearance from a Cousins long throw.
A long range effort that went well wide from Moneyslane’s McLean was all they could muster before Coly Cousins scored a superbly worked second goal in the 33rd minute.
Left back William Frazer played a one-two with Dean Spence and then picked out the late run of Cousins into the box with the move being finished off with a sweeping left foot volley by the club’s all time top appearance and goals record-holder.
In truth, the latter stages of the first half and most of the second half failed to live up to expectations with the tempo falling away. The expected surge or fight from Moneyslane never materialised and Banbridge Rangers held long periods of possession.
Chris Chambers had one of the better chances for the home side from a corner but headed over whilst both Stuart Mallen and Steven Adair clipped the woodwork for each of their respective teams.
Both teams made all three subs to help lift the game with Danny McKinstry, Jonny Porter and Andy Mallen coming on for Rangers. Andy Mallen was to play a key role in the Gers’ third goal with a back heel into the path younger brother Stuart who struck the back of the net superbly to make it 3-0 and finish off a top individual performance from the young forward who signed from Loughgall in January.
Banbridge Rangers cruised to victory and secured a place in the quarter-finals at home to Tandragee Rovers, a fixture that is scheduled for the end of March. Next up, the Gers have back to back home games against Camlough Rovers and then a third and final meeting of the season against Moneyslane.
Man of the Match went to Christopher Chambers, who along with Coly Cousins, played in the very first Banbridge Rangers fixture back in 2005, also against Moneyslane. It’s a remarkable feat that both players are still key cogs of the team and both had superb games on Saturday.
Long standing Gers supporter Steven McMinn of SM Contracts sponsored Saturday’s game.
RANGERS: Carter Dawson, Ryan Gregg, Chris Chambers, Nathan Baird, William Frazer, Colin Cousins, Jeff Brady, Scott Ward (Danny McKinstry 72), Dean Spence, Lee Feeney, Stuart Mallen.
Referee: David Berry (Portadown)