Dramatic swing sees Gers lose out

Colin Cunningham takes on a defender during a recent game at Cheney Park. INBL1547-228PB
Colin Cunningham takes on a defender during a recent game at Cheney Park. INBL1547-228PB

League leaders Newry City came from two goals behind to go two goals in front within 15 minutes and condemn Banbridge Rangers to defeat.

It was all going to plan for Banbridge Rangers for the opening hour of Saturday’s crunch match before the pendulum swung in dramatic fashion.

Up until the 68th minute Newry had only recorded one shot on target as Rangers harried and pressed them with intensity all over the pitch. That one shot on target was an equalising goal in the seventh minute from Declan Carville to cancel out the opening strike of the game, a volley from Colin Cunningham on the fourth minute.

It was the home side who had the better of the chances as the game was progressing. 17 year old Stephen Teggart, playing in the no 10 role, was linking up superbly with the other attackers and went close with a couple of efforts from distance.

Andy Mallen set himself up perfectly for a lob in the 15th minute but failed to get enough purchase on his shot to trouble Peter Murphy in the Newry goals.

The Gers regained their lead in the 21st minute when a long ball was only cleared to the edge of the area with Matty McKnight coming onto the ball and catching a low driven shot with his left foot which crept in at the front post.

The only positive football was coming from the boys in blue and a third goal followed within three minutes. Left back William Frazer won the ball on the half way line and burst forward past Newrys midfield and carried his run into the box after a neat one two with Mallen before finding the far bottom corner to the delight of the Gers touchline who have went over a month without a league win under their belt.

A fourth goal would have killed off a Newry side who looked bereft of ideas but a free kick from Chambers in a promising area struck the wall and before the break Cunningham had went clear of the back four but saw the keeper get the slightest touch on the ball as he went to round him.

The second half was very stop start as Rangers full back Frazer was taken off injured in the opening minute and the referee had called a halt to the game for several minutes when a thunderous hail storm engulfed Cheney Park.

The key turning point for both sides came in the 65th minute when Scott Ward picked up a second booking for an unnecessary pull of the shirt in the centre circle. With the Gers a man down Newry were able to see more of the ball and started to dictate play from the back.

In the 68th minute a short corner for Newry was whipped into the six yard box and the leagues top scorer Sean McMullan headed in to reduce the arrears to 3-2.

An equalising goal was on the cards as Newry pressed high up the pitch and it duly arrived in the 77th minute when McMullan fizzed a low cross to the front post and when goalkeeper Matthew Freeburn went to smother the ball it bounced off his chest and Declan Carville was on hand to score his second tap in of the day.

A stunning 30 yard free kick in the 80th minute by Newry midfielder Jimmy Walker put the visitors in front to the relief of their touchline and several minutes later McMullan executed the goal of the game with a half volley from 40 yards out to secure all three points.

Banbridge Rangers head to Barbour playing fields in Lisburn to take on Division Four side Sporting Lisburn in the Marshall Cup with kick off at 1.30pm and will be hoping to get back to winning ways.

Meanwhile, Rangers Reserves had their fixture away to Ballymacash called off last weekend but will host neighbours Banbridge Town Reserves at Cheney Park.