Downey hat-trick sends Town on way to ‘Seventh Heaven’

*No this is not a misprint!

Banbridge Town absolutely pulverised Killymoon Rangers and lifted themselves into second place in the league table, just one point behind PSNI with a game in hand.

This was another highly impressive performance from the outset with the homesters simply having no answer to Town’s pace and power. Although at the base of the table, Killymoon are never an easy touch and only a few weeks ago had shared the spoils with the current league-leaders. Banbridge were intent on assuming early control. This they did when with only one minute on the clock Adam Pedlow sent Mark Teggart probing down the right with a searching pass which the latter crossed and found Conor Downey lurking at the far post. The striker made no mistake to put Town ahead.

This was to be the first in a 28 minute hat-trick for the back to form goal-scorer. The evergreen Damian McParland was pulling the strings for a dominant Town midfield and on 20 minutes it was his ball down the middle which eventually found the head of the on fire Downey who beat keeper Rainey with another strong finish.

Downey completed his hat-trick after 28 minutes when he picked up a long clearance from his keeper Stephen Cairnduff and confidently drew the Killymoon custodian before chipping over him and into the net. Cairnduff was seeing little action in Town’s goal thanks to his side’s dominance in midfield plus the added protection of a watertight defence.

There was no let up for the hapless homesters and they found themselves 4-0 behind in the 35th minute when left-sided midfielder Adam Pedlow cut in leaving a couple of defenders in his wake and crashed an unstoppable volley past Rainey from 15 yards. In truth the game was over as a contest. Any hopes Killymoon might have evaporated after 60 minutes when Harkness was sent off having received a second yellow card.

Gary Boyle saw a great effort strike the bar soon after. It was all Town and no surprise when the ever lively Mark Teggart scored number five after 68 minutes. He got on the end of a pass from Stephen Greene before rounding the home keeper and slotting home. The Killymoon custodian distinguished himself with a fine save at the base of the post from a Paul Walsh free kick.

Current leading goalscorer Steven O’Neill made his mark on 74 minutes with a deft header following a left wing free to send Town into an amazing 6-0 lead. Things got worse for the shell-shocked home side on 82 minutes when a dangerous Walsh cross was headed in by an unlucky Killymoon defender to complete a miserable afternoon for the Tyrone men.

Mattie McCartan had the chance to score goal number eight two minutes from time but he crashed a penalty off the crossbar after he himself had been upended. Nothing could take the shine off a great afternoon for Banbridge Town as they close in on PSNI in top spot.

BANBRIDGE TOWN: Stephen Cairnduff, Glen Waddell, James Wilson, Stephen Greene, Martin Buchanan, Damian McParland, Mark Teggart, Mattie McCartan, Conor Downey, Gary Boyle, Adam Pedlow.

Subs: Paul Walsh (Pedlow 62), Steven O’Neill (Downey 62), Johnny Kernoghan (Boyle 69).

KILLYMOON RANGERS: Matt Rainey, Jason Ferry, Ryan Ferry, Steven McElhatton, Lee Hunter, Marc Harkness, Roger Greer, Jonathan Young, Kevin Kelly, Richard Donaghy, William Watson.

Subs: Edson Cunha, James Dunn, James Leslie.