An inspirational substitution by manager Ryan Watson when he introduced the experienced Paul Walsh proved a masterstroke in their win over Wakehurst.
This victory - their fifth in six league outings - leaves Town two points clear at the top of the table and yet to drop a point at home this season. Indeed they are Championship Two’s leading goalscorers which is quite a compliment to this young but very eager side.
It was all Banbridge early in the game and they were unlucky not to go ahead in the 11th minute when Adam Pedlow met a left wing Johnny Kernaghan cross and sent a bullet-like header off the base off an upright with Wakehurst ‘keeper Maybin rooted to the spot.
Three minutes later a Wakehurst counter attack resulted in Jason Paul shooting wide from a right wing delivery.
However the visitors took a 14th minute lead when after some pressure down the left a cross was deflected past Stephen Cairnduff by David Gage. Town responded with a Mark Teggart effort which just drifted wide.
The pressure continued on the visitors and on 31 minutes Town deservedly got on level terms. Glen Waddle began the move and combined well with Adam Pedlow. The latter found the lurking Steven O’Neill in space behind the defence and the lethal striker slipped the ball under the advancing Mark Maybin.
Two minutes later the ‘keeper made a great save from Mark Teggart as the winger almost put Town ahead. A great sliding tackle from Wakehurst‘s Stevenson stopped a promising Johnny Kernaghan run after 37 minutes and on 44 minutes Damian McParland volleyed inches wide after connecting with a loose ball on the edge off the box.
Banbridge started the second half on the attack and a Mark Teggart shot was almost deflected past Maybin who saved at the second attempt. A Pedlow charge down the left ended when the latter’s cross went behind goal. On 63 minutes a Kernaghan shot across goal found Teggart and his shot clipped the bar.
An accidental clash of heads saw Glen Waddle receive a bad head cut and he had to leave the field to be replaced by Michael Ferguson. Wakehurst found themselves reduced to 10 men when Rodgers saw red for a last man foul on Kernaghan as the little man raced clear on goal. Stephen Jones curled the resultant free just wide off the upright.
It was on 73 minutes that super sub Paul Walsh was introduced and he was only on the pitch four minutes when he produced a brilliant cross for Steven O’Neill to blast home from 10 yards.
Stunned Wakehurst came back fighting and Paul Muir fired a 20 yard free just over Town’s bar. However the points were secured for Town after 80 minutes when after a good move instigated by Johnny Kernaghan it was that man Walsh who found himself free 30 yards from goal and after swivelling he blasted a scorcher well out of Maybin’s reach and into the corner of the net to put Banbridge 3 - 1 ahead.
Next Saturday Town have no fixture although supporters will have the opportunity to watch the Reserves play Newry AFC Reserves at the Technical College ground (2.15pm). The following Saturday (October 12) Town return to league action when Chimney Corner will be visitors to Crystal Park (kick-off 3pm).
Banbridge Town: Cairnduff, Waddle, McParland, Greene, Buchanan, Jones, Teggart, McCartan, O’Neill, Kernaghan, Pedlow. Subs: Ferguson (Waddle 72), Watson, Boyle (O’Neill 81), Walsh (Teggart 73), Downey.