Bann smash six in Newry

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Banbridge saw off Newry 6-2 to secure their ninth victory in nine Ulster Premier League matches on Saturday.

In testing conditions, Stevie Dowds got back to scoring form with a hat-trick while Fraser Mills got a double and Hugh McShane was also on target.

Head Coach Mark Tumilty was without the services of brothers Eugene and Owen Magee but welcomed back Dane Ward as he returns from a hamstring injury.

The local side started brightly, forcing the Newry backline into a number of mistakes from the outset, but they failed to convert any of these opportunities.

As the match hit the quarter hour mark, Banbridge eventually got onto the score-sheet as a break down the left was transferred to Jamie Wright, whose cross was tapped in at the back post by Fraser Mills.

Bann soon doubled their advantage through short corner specialist, Stephen Dowds, scoring high into the roof of the net.

This goal seemed to stutter the visitors’ performance as they struggled to find a high level of consistency, with individual and team errors hindering the fluent passing style that the Banbridge faithful have become accustomed to watching.

Newry, however, were thrown a lifeline in scoring from an adventurous run down the right by former Bann player Colin McKnight. He skipped past several challenges before squaring to a team-mate at the top of the D, where he finished into the roof of the net.

The response to this set-back was immediate with Jamie Wright again taking the role of provider for Mills to regain the

two goal cushion. And before half time, Stephen Dowds extended this advantage as he converted from another short corner to give the half time score of 4-1.

The second half was played in a similar fashion to the first, with Banbridge dominating but failing to translate this onto the score line.

As the match entered the final quarter, Stephen Dowds scored from a short corner, notching another hat-trick for the season. There was still time for two further goals, firstly a brilliant team move down the left gave Hugh McShane the luxury of finishing into an open net.

And as the game drew to a close, Colin McKnight scored Newry’s second goal as he slapped home from a short corner variation to give a final score of Newry 2 Banbridge 6.