BANBRIDGE TOWN 1, LISBURN DISTILLERY 0
A solitary second half goal was enough to give Banbridge Town all three points and move them up into third in the table against Lisburn Distillery at Crystal Park last Saturday.
With striker Connor Downey unavailable after the injury sustained in last week’s match, Town gave Andrew Wilson his first League start but were otherwise unchanged.
Banbridge started brightly and in the sixth minute were given the opportunity for an unchallenged strike on goal following a foul on striker Neil Clydesdale but Ryan Moffett’s free was wide.
Distillery responded immediately, and from a corner on Town’s right after a clearance from Devlin, Andrew Wilson headed off the line with ‘keeper Murphy well beaten.
McCartan received the first of several yellow cards for a foul in the 11th minute and indeed this set the pattern for much of the match.
Town created their first real opportunity of the game in the 20th minute when, from a free kick, Stephen Greene won a header and although Clydesdale was first to react, his shot sailed over the bar. Town continued to press hard and Distillery’s Lynch received his team’s first yellow card of the afternoon as the continuity of match began to be disrupted by a series of infringements by both teams.
Banbridge however, were clearly playing the better football and further chances came and went with Clydesdale (twice) and Anderson shooting wide when well placed to ensure it remained scoreless at the break.
The second period began with McCartan having a shot saved by McRea in the visitors, net, but the match took an astonishing turn when, after three minutes of the restart, Town player-manager, Stuart King, was shown a red card after receiving two cautions within the space of 45 seconds.
Town were clearly shocked by this development but they continued to press forward despite their numerical inferiority.
However, in the 55th minute, Distillery’s Rhys Granger was also shown a straight red card for what appeared to be serious foul play.
With more space on the field, Banbridge began to look more dangerous down the flanks and both Moffett and McCartan had shots cleared.
Suddenly, in the 69th minute, the deadlock was broken. After some good interplay down the right, the ball was squared to Moffett who found himself unmarked some 15 yards from goal and before McRea could move ,the ball had hit the back of the net.
Distillery immediately brought on McMurtery and Beta in an effort to redress Town’s dominance. Town made substitutions of their own, replacing Andrew Wilson with McCreanor and Clydesdale with McCavitt.
With three minutes of normal time remaining , Town survived a scare when Distillery were awarded a free kick on the edge of home penalty area but the chance was well defended and Town survived the five minutes of added time to record a fine victory.
Banbridge Town: Murphy, James Wilson, Acheson, Green, Devlin, Anderson, McCartan, King, Moffett; Clydesdale (Sub McCavitt 80), Andrew Wilson (Sub McCreanor 75). Subs not used: Hayes, Thompson, Pedlow.