Penalty pain for ousted Town

Banbridge Town couldn't force their way into the semi-finals of the Bob Radcliffe Cup at Coagh's Hagan Park. INMM3916-321
Banbridge Town couldn't force their way into the semi-finals of the Bob Radcliffe Cup at Coagh's Hagan Park. INMM3916-321

Banbridge Town suffered their second Cup defeat in five days as they were beaten in the quarter-finals of this season’s Bob Radcliffe Cup.

After being ousted from the Mid-Ulster Cup by Armagh City during the week, they came up against a spirited Coagh United team and were beaten 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Town welcomed back the services of Kevin Anderson at the centre of the defence with Stuart Thompson moving to left back to replace the suspended Daniel Devlin.

Andrew Cullen was also recalled in goal in place of Stephen Cairnduff with Ashley Gregg playing as a second striker in place of Stuart King.

With rain hammering down, the playing surface was like glass with players of both sides struggling to keep their feet.

Coagh, now plying their trade in the Ballymena & District League, had the first chance but Cullen was alert to the danger.

Town responded by creating a half chance of their own. Andrew Wilson’s pace took him clear but his shot was saved. Shortly after, Ashley Gregg fashioned a shooting opportunity but he pulled it wide. Niall Lavery too was wide of the mark when his free kick came to nothing.

Near the end of the half, a home forward missed a golden chance when he shot wide from close range.

In the early stages of the second period, Town came close when Conor Downey shot into the side netting following Moffatt’s shrewd corner kick.

After that, it was the home side who mainly dominated the match and Town were forced on the defensive. Coagh had much of the possession but couldn’t create any viable scoring chances mainly due the excellence of Town’s defence where James Wilson and Stephen Acheson were particularly prominent.

On the hour, Coagh came closest to scoring. A ball broke to their midfield on the right side of Town’s defence. A first time shot was arrowing into the net but Cullen reacted magnificently, diving to his left, to palm the ball away for a corner.

Manager Stuart King brought himself on in the 64th minute for the tiring Lavery but the home team still looked more likely to score.

King began to influence matters and with time ticking away his energetic run gave him the chance to cross from the left only for Gregg to send his header over the bar and the 90 minutes finished with no goals.

Town started extra time well and again Gregg missed a good chance when shooting over the bar.

Banbridge were clearly the better side in the added period but yet again it was Cullen who saved the visitors with another excellent stop down to his left. No further chances were created and the match ended with a blank scoreline

The home keeper became an instant hero as he saved penalties from Thompson and Moffatt whilst Cullen had no chance with Coagh’s well placed kicks as Town bowed out of the competition.

TOWN: Cullen; James Wilson; Acheson; Anderson; Thompson; Andrew Wilson (Teggart 60); McCartan; Lavery (King 64); Moffatt; Downey; Gregg (Pedlow 96)

Subs unused: McParland: King