For the second week in succession, Banbridge Town suffered a 2-1 league defeat.
On this occasion it was at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney to Glebe Rangers.
Week in and week out, Town play attractive football matching all opposition but their finishing has not matched their clever approach work and again on Saturday it was the lack of a final ball that ultimately resulted in the loss of another three points.
The previous week it was a missed penalty that proved fatal while on Saturday, it was the sending off of tough midfield ace Stephen Jones which ultimately cost luckless Town as the home side bagged an injury-time winner.
It was Glebe who had the better of the first 15 minutes as Banbridge struggled to come to terms with the exhuberant home side. The unavailable Steven O’Neill was replaced in the starting line-up by Neil Watson and the latter headed over in Town’s first real attack on 16 minutes.
Glebe produced a quick counter attack and their 6’ 4” centre forward Nicholl crashed his header against Town’s crossbar.When he collected the rebound a goal seemed certain but ‘keeper Stephen Cairnduff made a superb stop. Cairnduff had a great afternoon and would challenge Town defender Martin Buchanan for the MOTM award.
After 21 minutes, Mark Teggart started a move which was carried on by Conor Downey who found Neil Watson on the edge of the box and the striker chipped the home keeper with a good effort that clipped the wrong side of the crossbar. Banbridge were now firmly in the game and Teggart drove a 22 yard effort just wide
Neil Watson was on the end of another three man move involving Teggart and Downey on 36 minutes but shot straight at the home keeper when well placed. Two minutes before half-time, the homeside forced another corner and when Town partially cleared, Glebe’s Shepherd struck the visitor’s bar for the second time.
Banbridge came out for the restart with renewed determination and got the ideal start on 47 minutes with a well worked goal. A terrific three man move involving Jones, Kernoghan and Downey saw Kernoghan whip the ball across the box for Neil Watson to slide in and score.
Glebe responded by introducing two substitutes and they immediately put Banbridge under pressure. A rare James Wilson error let Glebe winger Henry in on goal but not for the first time, Cairnduff came to Town’s rescue with a fine save.
Soon after, the Town custodian pushed another Henry effort round for a fruitless corner. However, on the hour Glebe were back on level terms. Stephen Greene conceded a needless free on the edge of the box which Ryan Marks took and in the ensuing melee Shepherd fired home.
Town suffered another blow on 63 minutes when Jones was sent off for a foul on Nicholl. On 74, Gary Boyle and Michael Ferguson replaced Downey and Waddle as Town tried to freshen things up and regain the initiative.
Mark Teggart shot wide after 83 minutes when a square ball into the box might have been a better option. Despite being reduced to ten men, Banbridge were on top and again Teggart forced a save from the home keeper with a 15 yard volley.
It was all out attack from 10 man Town as they forced a free-kick on the halfway line in the 91st minute. Cairnduff pumped a long ball into the Glebe penalty box which the home keeper eventually collected and kicked high into the Town half. Nicholl got his head to it and flicked it to Henry who outpaced Town’s Ferguson before slotting past the advancing Cairnduff.
Banbridge were stunned and had simply no time to respond as the referee blew the final whistle.
TOWN: Cairnduff, Waddell, Wilson, Greene, Buchanan, McParland, Teggart, Jones, Watson, Downey, Kernoghan.
Subs: Boyle (Downey 74 ), Ferguson (fWaddle 74), McCartan (Watson 64)
REFEREE: Paddy McFadden (L’derry).