ON Wednesday night Bann entertained Cookstown in their latest Premier League fixture.
This was a match made more important to both teams following Lisnagarvey losing the previous evening to Annadale.
Bann had been forced into making several changes from the Mossley on Saturday past match with Owen Magee missing through injury and Drew Carlisle who had exam commitments. Into the squad came Academy schoolboy Thomas Sturgeon and Ulster U18 member David McCracken.
From the start it was Cookstown who started the quicker and forced Bann to build patiently from deep in their own half. Slowly the home side started to string some passes together with Peter Brown and Stevie Dowds prominent in attack.
It was Cookstown who forced the first penalty corners of the match which were well dealt with by Aaron Appleton in the Bann goal. Midway through the half Bann won a penalty corner of their own from which Ross McCandless was unlucky to see his powerful drag flick thunder off the crossbar with the keeper beaten.
Five minutes later Bann took the lead when following a reverse stick cross from the left of the circle by Ross Beattie was deflected home by a diving Scott Caruth.
Just before half time Cookstown got back on level terms when their centre forward was on hand to score from close in giving Appleton no chance.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Bann having to be patient with the ball at the back as they tried to start meaningful attacks. As the half progressed play became more confined to midfield with neither side being able to create any clear cut chances.
The home side pushed hard to make the breakthrough but were unable to trouble the visiting keeper despite having several circle penetrations midway through the half.
Cookstown also had several chances but could not trouble the home defence. Just as the match was heading towards a draw, which would probably have been a fair result, Cookstown managed to scramble a winner in the final minute when Bann failed to clear the ball from the circle.
The final whistle sounded soon after condemning Bann to defeat.
Team: A. Appleton, M.Bell, R.McCandless, St. Forbes, Sc.Forbes, R. Beattie, P.Brown, H.McShane, P.Brown, S.Dowds, D. Ward, S. Caruth, T. Sturgeon, B. Cosgrove, D. McCracken