BANBRIDGE Rangers secured their third win in four games on Friday night past with a well earned 2-1 win over Lurgan Celtic Reserves at Cheney Park.
Despite going behind to a goal in the third minute Rangers Reserves showed the sort of belief that has been lacking in the last year or so since making the step up to the Reserve Championship.
Lurgan Celltic were gifted the opener when Rangers keeper Parkes was adjudged to have handled a ball outside the area when trying to collect a through ball and the resultant free kick from eighteen yards out was stroked into the bottom corner with ease.
The youthful Banbridge Rangers squad closed down their opponents all over the pitch at every opportunity and started to force mistakes out of Celtic.
Brian Chievers and Neil Wilson linked well in attack with Chievers strength in the air and on the ground complimenting the lung busting runs of Wilson.
Wayne McAllister was having his best game for Rangers Reserves with a deeper role at left back and on three occasions pinpointed free kicks in behind the Lurgan defence and onto the six yard line. The third of these free kicks was sent in from the halfway line with Chievers taking a chance and capitalising on a keeper fumble and side footed in the Rangers equaliser.
The match continued to be a competitive affair with clear cut chances coming few and far between, with most of the play taking place in the centre of the park where Rangers had the tenacity of Scott Lindsay and Matty McKnight giving them the upper hand.
The second half saw Banbridge Rangers start brightly with Robbie Baird cracking a shot from 30 yards out on fifty minutes and saw it dip over the keeper but crack the underside of the bar.
Before the hour mark the home side made their planned change with the industrious Neily Wilson being replaced by the creative talent of Andy Mallen.
On 71 minutes the change paid dividends when Mallen picked up the ball on the half way line and sent an inch perfect floatedball into the path of Aaron Chambers who caught the ball on the half volley and curled around the keeper from twenty yards out to the delight of the home touchline.
Banbridge Rangers were put under pressure immediately and changed their shape with the commanding Chievers dropping into a holding role in front of the back four.
Paul Frazer and Jordan McCracken’s fresh legs also proved invaluable in the latter stages of the game which saw a Lurgan Celtic midfielder sent off for dissent only minutes after picking up a caution for a late challenge.
The Reserves saw out the remainder of the game to secure three deserved points against a solid outfit and keep the winning feeling going.
Manager Trevor McMinn was delighted with the effort and commiittment from all his players with the experience and physicality of Wayne Neslon and Brian Chievers allowing the other younger members of the team to flourish with special mention to Aaron Chambers who scored his second match winning worldie in succession.
This Saturday the Reserves travel to Rathfriland to take on the Swifts in a match that will be close to call with each side recording a victory each in the two previous encounters this season.