Banbridge Rangers progressed to the Quarter Finals of the MUFL Premier Cup on Saturday past with a win over AFC Craigavon.
The opening half an hour was one of the poorest periods of football from a Rangers team in some time as they struggled to get out of the starting blocks and adapt to the pitch and the tempo off the game.
There were very few openings for either side but a swift counter attack from AFC Craigavon on 28 minutes saw Cousins cover 70 yards to close down the AFC striker when one on one but forfeited a penalty in the process. AFC drilled the penalty down the middle to opening the scoring.
Davy Crawford proved to be the difference between the game being out off sight and the Rangers keeper made two top drawer saves within a five minute period to keep the score at 1-0 to Craigavon. Towards the end of the first half the Gers started to create a few chances from wide positions with Craig McVicker forcing a corner after 43 minutes, Ryan McIlroy swung in the set piece the front post and Glenn Moffett took a step back before guiding his header in past the keeper to make it two goals in two games.
A few stern words at the break saw Banbridge Rangers come out with renewed vigour and they started to dictate the flow off the game and the pressure finally paid off on 62 minutes when McVicker reacted quickest inside the box and curled into the top corner with his left foot to give Rangers the lead. The score line should have been extended when Coly Cousins and Craig McVicker both diverted headers wide of the upright from close range after two superb deliveries from left back Willie Frazer.
Midfielder Matty McKnight was next up to test the AFC resolve and after dancing past three players he was unfortunate to see his shot graze the outside of the post.
Banbridge Rangers have been handed a home draw in the Quarter Finals of the Premier Cup and will host high flying Broomhill in the middle of October. This Saturday the Gers will continue their foray in Cup Competitions when Hanover come to Cheney Park in Round 2 of the Marshall Cup.