BANBRIDGE Ladies finally secured their first victory and a vital three points of the season when facing Knockbreda in Antrim last Thursday evening.
This was a battle for survival as the bottom two in NIWFA Division One faced each other, with a play off place at stake as the league draws towards closure.
Cull opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a firm shot finding the back of the net. The local ladies continued to play well and showing great team spirit went in at half time with a lead.
From the restart both teams showed their determination to secure a result with little to seperate them but huge effort being exerted.
It was Knockbreada though who were to level after a goal mouth scramble from a corner. However, the return of Napier and Jackson after exam commitments to the midfield saw Banbridge begin to dominate and indeed this duo linked up well to feed a clever ball to Taylor who clipped the ball over the Knockbreda keeper to again take the lead.
The big pitch though was taking its toll on the ladies and Knockbreda took advantage of some open space on their right wing to cross into the box and their center forward saw her efforts rewarded with the second equaliser of the night.
Was this a case of de ja vu as in the last encounter between these two teams had ended 2-2? But on this occasion there was still 20 minutes of the game remaining and the Banbridge Ladies rallied again to show great spirit.
Fresh legs were introduced by Banbridge, Spence and Orr, who immediately exerted extra pressure on the opposition’s defence. With 10 minutes remaining Jackson picked up on breaking ball on the edge of the box and her speculative shot somehow ended up in the net after the Knockbreda keeper fumbled and allowed the ball to go through her legs.
Was this the little bit of luck that had so far evaded Banbridge? Perhaps the signs were good as the sky lit up and thunder applauded Jackson restoring a slender lead.
The final 10 minutes were played out in some of the worst weather experienced this season which resulted in widespread flooding last Thursday. The referee’s final whistle saw some jubilant celebrations as the game ended Knokbreda 2-3 Banbridge.
The local ladies also want to wish McCrum a speedy recovery after she suffered a fractured leg in their recent encounter with Larne. Next up for Banbridge is on Monday July 2 when they again face Knockbreda in the divisional cup.