Banbridge continued their unbeaten run in the GOC Estate Agents Premier League on Friday night with a 5-2 win over Kilkeel.
Banbridge were the favorites for this game but Kilkeel turned up on the night willing to battle.
The game started with Bann setting the tempo high, some quick passing saw the opportunities open up but the final pass seemed to be lacking for the home side.
Kilkeel were not to be walked over, William Annett showing some excellent skill and pace in the first 10 minutes, stunning the crowd with some one handed reverse passing.
Dane Ward, as he has done to most teams over the past number of weeks, proved to be a thorn in Kilkeel’s side with some killer instincts up front. It was his shot and subsequent rebound that won Bann’s first corner of the game.
Prolific drag-flicker Stephen Dowds was sparingly used in this match due to an injury so this time it was Matthew Bell who stepped up to the mark but the result was a familiar one as he slotted the ball home with a low and hard flick into the bottom corner.
Bann’s second corner, again won by Ward, was saved and the rebound fell to Bruce McCandless. His shot found the body of the Kilkeel player on the line and a penalty stroke was awarded. Phillip Brown was the man who stepped up this time but again, the ball was whipped past the Kilkeel keeper.
Kilkeel did have their own periods of pressure and in one such occasion a free hit was awarded just outside the circle. A strike and deflection from the Kilkeel men lead to an apparent goal but it turned out the player had not moved the ball five metres before hitting it in the circle so the goal was disallowed.
It wasn’t long after that Kilkeel did make the break-through. William Annett bursting through the middle of the pitch and pushing the ball past Lennox.
It seemed to be working for Kilkeel so the rest of the half they relied on this tactic of counter attack. Bann were not phased by this goal and responded with Frasier Mills bursting the net with a ferocious strike to make it 3-1 Bann and ease any nerves around Havelock.
The second half continued in much the same way with both teams getting chances. Gareth Lennox had to pull off a double save early into the half to keep the Kikeel men at bay.
They eventually broke through though, again through the impressive William Annett who smashed a reverse into the net to make it 3-2.
The visitors’ discipline in the next 10 minutes let them down and after a green was awarded after a harsh tackle on Dowds, Bann were awarded a penalty corner which Dowds duly converted.
The chances kept coming for the home side but the ball was agonisingly missing its target every time until Neil Gilmore found Ward, who skillfully directed the ball round the keeper with the final touch of the game.