Bradley’s brace seals early Cup exit for Gers

Banbridge Rangers are out of the Bob Radcliffe Cup but have been handed a bye in the Irish Cup after Draperstown Celtic withdrew from the competition. Pic: Edward Byrne Photography INBL17-214EB
Banbridge Rangers are out of the Bob Radcliffe Cup but have been handed a bye in the Irish Cup after Draperstown Celtic withdrew from the competition. Pic: Edward Byrne Photography INBL17-214EB

Banbridge Rangers bowed out of the Bob Radcliffe Cup at the Preliminary Round stage after conceding two late goals to lose 2-0 away to Hanover on Saturday.

Both teams were well matched from the outset and with the surface at Brownstown not allowing the ball to zip, it would come down to who wanted it more.

Hanover had a strong wind in their favour in the opening half and looked up for the contest.

But the first clear opportunity fell to Ryan Gregg, who headed a Buchanan free-kick downwards from inside the six yard box but Hanover’s keeper Matthew Shortt was well placed to save with his feet.

In the 44th minute, Hanover should have taken the lead when a cross from the left fell to their unmarked right winger but his shot produced a great save from stand in keeper Steven McMinn.

The ball then landed to Hanover’s striker, who blasted goalwards from close range but McMinn’s outstretched foot somehow managed to divert for a corner.

In the second half, the Gers started to force themselves deeper into Hanover’s half and on 67 minutes, Cousins was able to head a free-kick into the path of Gregg but his shot to the near post was parried well by the keeper.

With 20 minutes to go, Hanover opened the scoring some indecision allowed a free-kick to be headed across the six yard box for a simple cushioned header by striker Justin Bradley.

Within three minutes, Hanover had doubled their lead on the counter attack through the same player.

McMinn got his fingertips to a cross from the right but not enough to stop it falling to Bradley who was able to tap in.

Hanover could have added further goals on the break only for two wonder saves from McMinn denying Bradley a hat-trick on two occassions.

With Draperstown Celtic withdrawing from next week’s Irish Cup tie, Banbridge Rangers will be hopeful that a league fixture will be able to be scheduled to give them a game.

BANBRIDGE RANGERS: Steven McMinn, Jonny Porter (Dean Gordon ‘85), Jonny O’Neill, Chris Chambers, Aaron Buchanan (Jason Gourley 76), Adam Beattie (Dean Mallen 68), Simon McKenna, Ryan Gregg, William Frazer, Kenny Gracey, Colin Cousins.

Unused Subs: Jason Adamson, Matthew Corr, Dean Gordon.