WHEN the fixture list came out for this season Banbridge Rangers first two games were against the teams that finished first and second in the Reserve Championship in May.
After taking all three points off Loughgall in the opening day off the season Rangers travelled to Newry Showgrounds on Saturday and were disappointed not to come away with at least a point in a thrilling nine goal game.
Newry used their home advantage to take the game to Rangers early on and moved into an early two goal lead only for Andrew McLarty to reduce the deficit beating the offside trap and curling low to beat the Newry keeper.
Newry’s regained their two goal advantage with just over five minutes remaining until half time but a late header by Peter Dean from a McLarty corner saw Banbridge Rangers go into the interval 3-2 down.
Within five minutes of the second half Banbridge Rangers had the chance to draw level from the penalty spot but Ryan Gregg’s effort was well saved when heading for the top left hand corner.
Newry City seemed to get a lift from let off and scored twice in quick succession to race into a 5-2 lead by the 65th minute of the game.
Banbridge Rangers introduced several changes to help get back into the game with McLarty scoring his second off the day with just under 20 minutes remaining.
Andy McLarty then bagged his hat-trick againt his former club with 10 minutes to go with Rangers full of self belief that they could salvage at least a point from the game.
Newry hung on for the win but were made to work for it right up to the end. This Saturday the Reserves travel to Armagh City to take on the early season pacesetters.