Rangers see off near neighbours Seapatrick in tense local derby

Seapatrick v Banbridge Rangers� Paul Byrne Photography INBL1434-274PB
Seapatrick v Banbridge Rangers� Paul Byrne Photography INBL1434-274PB

Banbridge Rangers secured their first win of the season to get off the mark in Intermediate A with a 2-0 derby victory away to Seapatrick at Havelock Park.

After their opening game last minute defeat to league favourites Tandragee, it was important to put points on the board in the follow up match and a solid performance did just that.

Seapatrick v Banbridge Rangers� Paul Byrne Photography INBL1434-276PB

Seapatrick v Banbridge Rangers� Paul Byrne Photography INBL1434-276PB

Banbridge Rangers dominated possession and territory for the opening half an hour with Gracey having the first shot on goal within 90 seconds.

In the seventh minute, an innocuous free kick on the half way line was floated forward by Chambers and Seapatrick’s McEvoy was only able to get a glance on his header and, unfortunately for him, the ball found its way towards the top corner from the edge of the box.

Kenny Gracey could have doubled the lead two minutes later when Frazer hit the byline and his cross was headed down with power but McGrath was equal to the task in the Village nets.

On 26 minutes, a flowing move with well over 30 passes eventually saw Buchanan release Willie Frazer in behind the back line but his shot from an acute angle was parried for a corner.

Seapatrick had a decent spell before the break with a succession of corners and should have taken the lead when they broke on a counter attack but Harker managed to get fingertips on the shot to edge it past the post.

After the break, the Gers started by upping the tempo and having spells of possession without being able to unlock a resolute defence with Simon McKenna striking the post a minute after the break in a rare chance.

A switch on the hour mark saw Jonny Porter come on to the left wing and the main man in the village, after Neily, didn’t take long to put himself about with a few committed challenges.

Chances were few and far between as both sides showed the determination that comes with a local derby with Harker again saving well from the Village after a neat turn in the box.

Andy Mallen came on with ten minutes to go and stung the hands of the keeper with an unexpected drive as Chambers squared a free kick on the edge of the box with five minutes to go.

The Village then counter attacked and Adam McBurney fired in a deflected shot which spun off the outside of the post.

That was to be the difference for Rangers, who took full advantage by sealing the win in injury time.

Substitute Andy Mallen got the goal as he received a gift from McGrath, who fluffed his clearance and the forward slotted in unopposed.

It was a good team win for the boys after two battling defeats. Rangers have no match next week as it is the Last Saturday parade in Rathfriland.

BANBRIDGE RANGERS: Andy Harker, Jonny O’Neill (Andy Mallen 80), Chris Chambers, Ryan Gregg, Aaron Buchanan (Jonny Porter ‘61), Simon McKenna, Kenny Gracey, Adam Beattie, William Frazer, Colin Cousins, Jason Gourley.

REFEREE: Adrian Ball (Banbridge)