TOWN Juniors U14s hosted Banbridge Rangers at Scarva Park last Saturday morning in the first derby of the season in a match that neither team wanted to lose.
Both teams settled well with the Juniors getting the better of Rangers in the opening exchanges and looked more likely to break the deadlock.
Fourteen minutes into the game the Juniors took the lead when lively winger Jake Dennison latched on to a through ball, took one touch to compose himself and with his second touch he expertly lobbed the Rangers keeper for a super finish.
Rangers didn’t drop their heads and came at the Juniors defence strongly and it proved fruitful when they got their equaliser on 20 minutes when a through ball split the Juniors defence and the Rangers striker finished well, leaving the onrushing Town keeper Connor Ward with no chance to leave the score 1-1 at the break.
Town began the second half with some tactical substitutions to inject some more energy into an already lively affair.
Early into the half the Juniors were reduced to 10 men when Caolan Clarke was adjudged to have been last man back and was shown a straight red after a foul.
Rangers scored from the resulting free kick to make the score 2-1. The Juniors ten men regrouped and dug deep to find an equaliser as they pressed hard and pushed Rangers right back into their own half.
Jake Dennison proved to be the man of the moment as he hit a long range drive with the outside of his right foot that soared into the net and draw the sides level again.
With both teams now going toe to toe, the extra man was to pay dividends as Rangers found the crucial third goal.
The Juniors pushed hard until the final kick of the game but were unable to find an equaliser. This week’s man of the match was Jake Dennison for an outstanding display on the right wing.
Credit to both sides for another fantastic display of local football.