Bann Rangers keep unbeaten run going with a home draw

Banbridge Rangers v AFC Craigavon:William Frazer �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1505-257PB
Banbridge Rangers v AFC Craigavon:William Frazer �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1505-257PB

Banbridge Rangers kept their unbeaten run going on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at home to Fivemiletown United at Havelock Park.

Both teams are looking to keep pressure on the leading pack in Intermediate A and after Saturday’s result there was no movement with Rangers still occupying 4th place and Fivemiletown still in 6th.

The home team started strongest with Andy Mallen having two shots in the opening five minutes but both were wide of the mark.

In the 9th minute the large turnout of home support could barely believe that the scores were still level after a superb double save by Fivemiletown keeper Cameron Crawford.

An audacious sidefoot lob by stand in captain Jonny O’Neill was tipped onto the underside of the bar by Crawford and when Stuarty Mallen went to blast home the rebound he was somehow denied by an outstretched leg.

Banbridge Rangers kept pressing for the opening goal with Jerry Philip unable to connect with an exquisite scooped through ball by Andy Mallen on twenty minutes.

Minutes later saw a run by winger Stuart Mallen picked out by a precise crossfield ball from Christopher Chambers but his volley was skewed wide when well placed.

The remainder of the first half saw Fivemiletown come into the game more but the away side failed to threaten Davison’s goal as they spurned four well placed set pieces.

From the restart Fivemiletown worked the ball through to their right winger who squared a pass for their striker but the early strike was ruled out for offside.

With the game lacking a cutting edge it looked ominous for a goalless draw until some quick thinking by the Mallen brothers in the 68th minute saw the Gers take the lead.

A throw in down the left wing saw striker Andy release his brother Stuart into the channel between two defenders and when he rode the challenge of both the youngest Mallen brother showed an eye for goal with a driven shot from an acute angle into the far top corner.

It only took five minutes for the score to be levelled as United’s striker Carroll kept the ball in pkay at the byline when it looked to have crossed for a goalkick but referee Eamonn Shanks thought otherwise from a poor position and the pull back was slotted home by Sean McCaffery.

Neither side were able to create any other clear cut openings to take all three points and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Next up for Banbridge Rangers is another home fixture at their temporarily adopted pitch at Havelock Park with Newry City AFC the visitors.

Newry have lost all of their last four away games and now sit four points behind Rangers in 5th place. The two teams have met in two cup competitions this season with each side recording one closely fought victory each.

BRFC Team: Chrissy Davison, Kyle Sergeant, Ryan Gregg, Chris Chambers, William Frazer, Jonny Porter, Jonny O’Neill (c), Adam Beattie (Matthew Dodds ‘84), Stuart Mallen, Andy Mallen & Jerry Philip.

Referee: Eammon Shanks (Portadown).