BANBRIDGE Rangers played their third league game off the season on Saturday against Lisanally Rangers and went down with a disappointing defeat.
The loss was difficult to take as Rangers had drawn Lisanally in two cups earlier in the season and won on comfortably on both occasions despite fielding young and inexperienced sides at the time.
Manager Dan Thornton handed starting debuts to right winger Kenny Campbell and centre half Simon Hodgett who both signed in recent weeks for the club. Despite dominating the opening twenty minutes play Rangers continued their recent trait of losing first half goals against the run off play when Lisanally scored through striker Gareth Dobbs on 23 minutes.
Banbridge Rangers equalised six minutes later through Gareth Fulton who raced onto a Neil Clydesdale ball and lobbed the onrushing keeper with an exquisite touch.
Fulton had two further opportunities inside the next ten minutes but was denied by the Lisanally keeper when bearing down on goal. Rangers continued to press with McKnight and Dean trying efforts from distance but just before the interval Lisanally’s Lee Wells threaded a ball through for Gareth Dobbs who slotted past Blevins to make it 2-1.
In the second half Banbridge Rangers should have come back out with a hunger to win the game but never got a foothold like they did in the first half.
Chances were getting few a far between as several players lost focus off the job in hand with the next real opportunity arriving with less than twenty minutes remaining when Fulton headed over from six yards after a cross from substitute Ryan Weir.
With four minutes off normal time remaining Lisanally’s Ricky Dobbs made it 3-1 with a sublime strike from 30 yards out that nestled into the top corner to seal all three points for the Armagh men. Rangers will need to regroup for this Saturday’s game away to Dundonald in the Intermediate Cup.