Rangers held in first game on new Cheney Park pitch

Banbridge Rangers v Broomhill �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1513-262EB
Banbridge Rangers v Broomhill �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1513-262EB

Saturday past saw Banbridge Rangers play their last home game of the season and it was also their first taste of a competitive fixture on the newly resurfaced Cheney Park.

Visitors Broomhill have been in good form since a change of management two months ago and have been somewhat of a bogey team in recent years for the Gers. This time, they held the hosts to a 2-2 draw.

Banbridge Rangers v Broomhill �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1513-259EB

Banbridge Rangers v Broomhill �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1513-259EB

The match started at a frenetic pace with Christopher Chambers smashing a shot from a cleared corner on four minutes but it was saved by the Broomhill keeper.

Rangers keeper Chris Davison had to be as alert as his counterpart two minutes later to save at the feet of a Broomhill striker at the edge of the box and when the rebound looked like it was going to be tapped in, Chambers came from nowhere to make a superb saving tackle.

Jonny Porter had a good chance to open the scoring in the 11th minute when he latched onto a dinked ball from Andy Mallen but was denied by a fine save.

It was the Gers who stayed on top for the next period and could have gone in front from a corner only for two goal-line clearances from Kyle Sergeant and then Chris Chambers.

Banbridge Rangers v Broomhill �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1513-260EB

Banbridge Rangers v Broomhill �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1513-260EB

A well worked move almost saw the industrious Stuart Mallen convert but midway through the half, the tide began to turn. Broomhill forced a good stop at full stretch from Davison and then an attempted lob from Harper went close from a misplaced pass.

Broomhill were able to turn their purple patch into an opening goal when their striker edged clear of the backline and fired high into the far corner in the 38th minute.

Banbridge Rangers were thrown a lifeline on the stroke of half-time when a kickout from Chris Davison was allowed to bounce over the last defender with Jonny Porter being rewarded for anticipation and bravery as the ball was bundled over the line for the equaliser.

The Gers came out of the blocks flying for the second half with Stuarty Mallen pulled back by a Broomhill defender when going clear with the resultant free-kick curling just past the top corner.

Five minutes into the half saw Adam Beattie tenaciously work the ball up the right flank and when Mallen played in Frazer down the overlap he looked well positioned but fired over. Within ten seconds the pendulum swung towards the Richhill based team who went 2-1 up with a swift counter attack executed by captain Harper.

Within a few minutes, Jonny O’Neill powered a header onto the underside of the bar but this proved to be the only chance in an uninspiring next 20 minutes.

With seven minutes to go, Rangers found an equaliser when Coly Cousins was played into the channel and he kept his cool to slot in at the near post with his left foot.

Despite a late rally the game ended all square, which was a fair result in the end.

Banbridge Rangers have four games left to end their season with all matches away from home starting with Lower Maze this Saturday then three games in the last week of April at Fivemiletown, then Tandragee Rovers before finishing at Broomhill.

RANGERS: Davison, Sergeant, Chambers (Gordon 59), Gregg, Frazer, Porter, O’Neill, Beattie, Cousins, S Mallen, A Mallen.