Mallen denies Slane as Gers snatch equaliser

The final instalment of the Banbridge Rangers versus Moneyslane trilogy ended in a thrilling draw on Saturday.

Gers’ Andy Mallen netted a late equaliser to earn a 3-3 draw at Cheney Park.

In the opening half hour, Moneyslane were the dominant side and out to prove a point after their poor showing in the 3-0 defeat in the Marshall Cup two weeks previous. The opening goal arrived for the away side when Rangers’ keeper Dawson parried a bouncing shot and Gareth Rees was on hand to take advantage.

Moneyslane’s lead was doubled on the half hour mark when a well-worked corner to the front post gave Clark Hainon net a curling shot in off the front post.

Going down two goals so early on proved a wake up call for the Gers who sprung into action and were level within seven minutes.

A quick free kick from Chambers to release Lee Feeney one on one saw the player / manager slide home whilst Moneyslane were up in arms at the awarding of the initial free-kick. A poor back pass by Shilliday within 90 seconds of the restart saw Moneyslane keeper David Crawford miscue his clearance which was picked up by Stuart Mallen who rounded the keeper for a tap in to make it 2-2.

Slane went 3-2 ahead on the stroke of half-time when Chambers tried to cushion a header back to his keeper but Gareth Rees was on hand to intercept and score his second and Slane’s third of the day.

Whilst Moneyslane definitely had the better opening half an hour of the second half, it was Banbridge Rangers who finished the game dominating their opponents and searching for an equaliser.

And it duly arrived in the 87th minute. Stuart Mallen connected with Dean Spence’s low cross and when his shot spun off the keeper towards the goal, it was cleared by Adair with the hosts sure it had crossed the line. Nonetheless, the referee’s decision was made easier when older brother Andy Mallen lashed home a left-footed half-volley to send the large home support into raptures.

Mark Wilton and Andy Mallen both had chances to seal the win for the Rangers in the six minutes of added on time but it ended with a point a piece in a very entertaining match at Cheney Park. There are no competitive senior fixtures this weekend with Banbridge Rangers likely to have the quarter-final tie against Tandragee Rovers scheduled before the end of March.

Banbridge Rangers send their thanks to Glenmarshall Sires for sponsoring the match day at Cheney Park and to Campbells Eurospar on the Scarva Road for sponsoring Banbridge Rangers new senior kit which was used on Saturday for the first time.

RANGERS: Carter Dawson, Ryan Gregg, Christopher Chambers, Nathan Baird, Jeff Brady (c), Colin Cousins, Scott Ward (Andy Mallen 78), Mark Wilton (Jonny Porter 72), Dean Spence (Matthew Holloway 88), Lee Feeney, Stuart Mallen.