McAllister makes Annagh pay the penalty after Ward heroics

5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

Banbridge Juniors Under-16s’ Mid-Ulster side continued their good form with a 2-1 win over Annagh United on Saturday thanks to another Sam McAllister brace and two penalty saves by Conor Ward.

They had secured a 4-2 victory against Markethill Swifts last week with a McAllister double, and a goal each for Jake Dennison and his brother Josh and they

The Juniors started this match the stronger of the two sides, piling on the pressure straight from the first whistle. The commanding back line, marshalled by captain Jake Laffin ensured the visitors gave nothing away.

With the game eight minutes old, Alex Donnelly danced round two men down the left, skipped inside and finished with his left foot to break the deadlock with a goal of the season contender.

Annagh tried hard to get back into the game, and were awarded a penalty on 15 minutes. Up stepped their striker who rifled towards the top corner, only to be denied by an outstanding save by keeper Conor Ward, a save any Premiership keeper would be proud of.

Annagh broke and hit the Juniors on the counter, winning a second penalty. A different taker this made no difference to Conor Ward who again met the spot kick with a massive leap to keep his team in the game.

It was a wake up call much needed by the Juniors, who finally got further ahead on 34 minutes when McAllister knocked the ball past his marker and buried his chance to give the Juniors a cushion. Annagh responded with a quickfire goal to leave the score 2-1 at the break.

Both teams pushed hard in the second half, with a Juniors back five holding rock solid, and a patient forward line trying to graft another goal in what was proving a real nip and tuck game.

MOTM: Conor Ward.