NIFL Premier Intermediate
NEWINGTON 2, BANBRIDGE TOWN 0
Banbridge Town’s Jekyll and Hyde performances continued at Seaview on Saturday as Newington completed the double against a Town team suffering from further case of “second half withdrawal symptoms”.
Town named an unchanged starting 11 after last week’s win but, playing on an artificial pitch for the first time this season, it took some time to adjust to the pace of the surface.
Newington had an early chance to test Murphy when Greene, in the third minute, gave away a free kick but the effort came to nothing. Town had a free kick of their own five minutes later and although they forced a corner, it was well defended by the home team.
Immediately, Town survived a scare when Andrew Wilson’s poorly placed back pass allowed Owens a clear run on Town’s defence, and although he rounded Murphy, his control was weak and the chance was gone.
Newington were dealt a blow when a robust tackle on McAllister forced him off the field and he was replaced by the impressive McCauley, leaving Town supporters wondering why he hadn’t been chosen to start.
With under 10 minutes of the half remaining, and with Town now exerting some control, they fashioned three good chances in as many minutes. Firstly, Clydesdale’s free kick was headed goal wards by Greene, but Acheson was unable to control the knock down and was only able to deflect the opportunity on the post. Andrew Wilson then had a good effort saved, but Town’s best chance came from a breakaway when Murphy’s clever throw found James Wilson and his astute pass left Town with a three to one advantage. However Clydesdale chose to shoot and although he fashioned a corner kick, both Moffett and Anderson were well placed to score if the striker had squared the ball to an undefended penalty box.
The second period started in controversial fashion when Murphy was adjudged to have handled a back pass. Town’s players protested vigorously about both the awarding of the kick and the placement of the ball. Eventually, after some delay, the kick was taken and a corner ensued.
Eleven minutes into the piece, more controversy ensued when the referee awarded Newington a controversial penalty for handball. This led to more dispute but eventually, it was Burns who gave Murphy no chance with his kick and Newington had the lead.
Town’s performance became listless and it came as no surprise when Newington created a second opportunity, but Scollay missed the chance to convert McCauley’s cross.
Town made immediate changes. The fit again Connor Downey replaced Clydesdale and King replaced McCreanor. Before either of the substitutions could affect any change Newington doubled their lead in the 69th minute when a free kick from Town’s left evaded everyone and Burns lost his marker to score his second from close range.
Town immediately brought on McCavitt for Andrew Wilson and the change of formation allowed Town to bring back some control.
McCavitt showed some neat touches and a shrewd pass from Green allow McCavitt the opportunity to burst into the home area but sadly, for Town, the final product was missing.
It was, in truth, a poor match littered by stoppages and yellow cards but incredibly, on this topsy turvy day, Town remain in second place after many of their nearest rivals also suffered defeats.
Next Saturday, Banbridge face local Mid Ulster rivals Newry City AFC. This match kicks off at Crystal Park at 2.00pm and spectators are advised to arrive early for what is expected to be a bumper gate.
Banbridge Town; Murphy; James Wilson; Acheson; Green; Devlin; Anderson; McCartan; McCreanor (King 59mins), Moffett; Clydesdale (Downey 59mins); Andrew Wilson (McCavitt 75mins). Subs not used: Thompson; Pedlow.