Banbridge lose the battle of the Rangers to title challengers

Under 7s mascots William Magill and Max Steenson at Saturdays game along with Banbridge Rangers captain Colin Cousins, referee Paul Caldwell and Ballymacash Rangers captain Andy Patterson.
Under 7s mascots William Magill and Max Steenson at Saturdays game along with Banbridge Rangers captain Colin Cousins, referee Paul Caldwell and Ballymacash Rangers captain Andy Patterson.

After last week’s entertaining extra time win in the Irish Cup came an easily forgettable performance at Cheney Park on Saturday as Banbridge Rangers went down 2-1 to Ballymacash Rangers.

The Lisburn side had a dream start when a cross from Campbell on the right flank found its way to Stuart Clarke on the edge of the area and he lobbed keeper Chris Chambers with a looping effort that dropped rapidly into the net at the last minute.

The Gers first half performances of late have been superb but on Saturday they failed to get their pass and move game going and instead were misplacing passes and sending blind balls into the channels.

Rangers did create a few half chances with Brady getting a shot away after a neat one-two and Matthew Corr also tested the keeper on 18 minutes.

A Mark Wilton shot on 23 minutes bobbled in front of the Ballymacash keeper who palmed the ball into the path of Cousins but the shot was smothered at the second attempt.

On 25 minutes, the lively Campbell broke down the right at pace again for Ballymacash with his deep cross being controlled by Paul Hull who then checked the defender before blasting low into the near corner to make it 2-0.

Within three minutes, the Banbridge side had reduced the arrears when a well worked Brady free-kick saw Cousins upended by the keeper who was subsequently cautioned. Andy Mallen stepped up and cooly converted into the bottom right corner.

At the start of the second period there was some excellent control of possession by Banbridge Rangers with William Frazer getting more joy down the left with a searching cross seeing Cousins blast over on the half volley on 49 minutes.

Ballymacash defended deep and frustrated Banbridge Rangers who resorted to playing ball after ball up to target man Gracey but Ballymacash defender Hanna cleared everything in sight to stifle any attacks from the home side.

With 15 minutes to go, Ballymacash managed to work a free-kick to their right-back who caught the ball sweetly striking the angle of the crossbar in a rare moment of inspiration.

The game fizzled out with Ballymacash showing why they have been so difficult to beat over the last few seasons and they look on course for another high finish in the league after making it three wins from three.

BANBRIDGE RANGERS: Chris Chambers, William Frazer, Ryan Gregg, Kyle Sergeant, Jonny Porter, Andy Mallen (Adam Beattie ‘67), Mark Wilton, Matthew Corr (Richard McMinn ‘78), Jeff Brady, Kenny Gracey & Colin Cousins (c).