BANBRIDGE Rangers Ladies played their second game of the season last Monday after making the step up to Division Three and put in a solid performance against heavy favourites Craigavon City Ladies.
The match took place at a very boggy Lismore pitch with both teams keen to get some points on the board after losing their first game.
In the opening ten minutes most of the game was played in the centre of the park with the Rangers side competing well with four players returning to the team making a significant difference.
The influential Claire Beckett was givien a higher role supporting Jena Redpath whilst Lauren Thompson moved into midfield alongside Rachel Ardis for some added bite to break up any Craigavon attacks.
The first opportunity came through Craigavons young left winger who cut inside but her shot from a wide angle was well held by Nicole Simpson. Simpsons kicking gave Rangers an extra dimension and she created several opportunities for the strikers with route one football but the Craigavon keeper stood up well and saved a close range effort from Thompson followed by a one on one with Beckett.
Banbridge Rangers’ back four of Alix McCreery, Jessica Cochrane, Christine Robinson and Sophie Cruickshanks looked as solid as it has been in ages and they restricted Craigavon to shots and crosses from distance. With 12 minutes to the half however Craigavon did break free and blasted past Simpson to open the scoring and take a 1-0 lead into the half.
In the second half the Rangers girls came out looking to create more opportunities and started to move the ball into wide areas using the pace of Donna Donnell and the trickery of Becky Thompson. Nicole Simpson made two superb saves to keep her side in the game and at the other end Craigavon were able to cope with any pressure being applied by the Gers girls who were trying to force the ball through their backline.
With just under 20 minutes to go Craigavon beat the offside trap and doubled their lead. Several changes to the Rangers team didnt stop the girls pressing forward and they went close on the counter attack but were unable to find a reprieve before the final whistle.
This was a very encouraging performance from the Banbridge Rangers Ladies who now play a series of home games starting with the visit of Carnmoney Ladies to Cheney Park this Thursday night with kick off at 8pm.