Cup exit scoreline ‘flatters Celtic’

BANBRIDGE Rangers exited the Bob Radcliffe Cup at the hands off last years winner’s Lurgan Celtic at Cheney Park on Saturday afternoon.

The scoreline somewhat flattered the visiting Lurgan Celtic side who scored three times in the closing 10 minutes with Rangers in control off much off the second half and pushing for a way back into the game after going into the interval 3-1 down.

The opening quarter off an hour was a nightmare for Banbridge Rangers with Drainey opening the scoring after only two minutes poking home from close range after the keeper had spilled an inswinging corner.

On seven minutes Celtic scored a superb counter attacking goal from a Rangers corner with one touch football eventually setting up their striker for a volley inside the area to double their advantage.

The same striker missed a header from close range but scored again 15 minutes into the game finishing well into the bottom corner after a pull back from the byline.

Rangers eventually woke up and started to create some half chances with Porter driving a teasing ball across the six yard line on twenty five minutes which just evaded the run off Gourley.

On the half hour mark midfielder Neil Clydesdale was taken down for a penalty and stepped up himself to convert and reduce the score line from the spot.

Clydesdale went close with a shot going inches wide off the upright from inside the area as Rangers finished the half stronger than they started. Tony Graham came on at half time for Mark Wilton and thought he had brought the game back to 3-2 curling a shot towards the bottom corner from eight yards after a Gourley pull back but the Celtic keeper pulled off a superb stop and was able to put his body in front off the subsequent rebound.

Banbridge Rangers had the wind in their sails and were holding much off the possession and territory in the second half and rued the chance to hit the back off the net on fifty four minutes when two shots during a goalmouth scramble were cleared off the line by Lurgan defenders.

Coly Cousins and Jason Gourley had shots from distance midway through the half with Gourley then beating the last defender with a deft touch on seventy minutes but blasted over the bar from a tight angle.

The game as a contest was over when Rangers went 4-1 down after a debatable offside call led to Lurgan Celtic scoring on 80 minutes. Lurgan Celtic took advantage off the drop in tempo to slot home a fifth goal on 83 minutes and finished the game with a sixth goal just a minute before the end off time.

Rangers poor start and end to the game cost them dearly in the end with several players performing well including Peter Dean who shone for a second week in a row.