Banbridge hosted UCD at Havelock on Saturday in the marquee fixture of the second weekend of this season’s IHL.
Bann made it two wins out of two, backing up their victory over Cork CoI with a valuable 4-1 win thanks to two goals from Ireland U21 vice-captain Matthew Bell and another from Eugene Magee and Jonny McKee.
This match was one that had been long anticipated by the Bann faithful as it heralded the return of Peter Brown to his home club. Brown left for UCD in the summer and was back for a competitive fixture at Havelock for the first time since.
Bann started in the ascendancy with the midfield and forward line causing all sorts of problems to the visitors’ defence.
However, due to a mixture of bad luck and lack of composure, the home side were unable to break the deadlock until a few minutes before the break. Bruce McCandless found Eugene Magee in the visitors’ circle and the Bann captain smashed his shot high into the net. Play in the second quarter was confined mainly to the midfield area, with neither side creating any real clear-cut opportunities.
The second-half started at a much more lively pace with several poor challenges being punished with cards from both umpires.
UCD managed to get back on level terms when Bann had been reduced to nine players. Following the award of their first corner, Nick Burns scored with a powerful flick to keeper Gareth Lennox’s left.
Bann almost immediately regained their advantage when, following another corner, Matthew Bell was on hand to finish after a rebound had come back off the keeper’s pad. Bann extended their lead a minute later when, after a flowing team move, Jonny McKee was on had to apply the finishing touch and seal the victory for Bann at the back post.
Shortly after, the home side put the icing on the cake when Matthew Bell scored his second, flicking the ball home from another rebound.
This result puts Bann in a strong position going into their next fixture at home to Corinthians at Havelock on Saturday (pass-back 4.30pm).