Banbridge Town pulled off the most stunning of comebacks to claim what, with 58 minutes played, looked an impossible three points against Coagh United on Saturday.
Coagh, with former player Mark McMenemin now in charge, were determined to continue their recent improved form and raced into a 3-0 lead before Town not only levelled matters with three goals in seven minutes but secured a fantastic victory through a fabulous strike from Ally Wilson 12 minutes from time.
It was an inspired substitution at the interval from Town Manager Ryan Watson that turned this game on its head. He introduced Neil Watson up front to supplement Ally Wilson and Conor Downey and left Coagh reeling with disbelief.
Downey almost sent Banbridge into a third minute lead when he raced in behind the visitor’s defence only for keeper Hasson to stick out a foot and divert his shot out for a corner.
Tragedy struck for Town skipper Stephen Greene after 11 minutes when in attempting to clear a dangerous left wing cross he inadvertently volleyed into his own net. Soon after Ryan Gourley took a long pass on his chest and from 30 yards fired just over.
The hard working Downey raced between two defenders on 16 minutes but once again keeper Hasson got an outstretched leg to his shot while four minutes later Steve Jones was millimetres wide with a 20 yard drive.
The excellent James McConville saved Town after 25 minutes when he went full length to push a piledriver onto the crossbar from close range. However, he could do nothing to prevent the Co Tyrone men take a 2-0 lead one minute later when a right wing cross flashed across Town’s goal and Campbell crashed it into the net.
Straight after the break substitute Neil Watson was already making his physical presence felt and creating space for his colleagues up front. However, all seemed to be in vain when Coagh were awarded a 58th minute penalty after a trip in the box by the luckless Greene. Coagh’s James Ferguson stepped up and although McConville saved brilliantly, Ferguson followed up to make it 3-0.
Town supporters were despondent but hadn’t allowed for one of the most amazing fightbacks ever seen at Crystal Park. Almost immediately Mark Teggart raced down the right and crossed for Watson to stab the ball past Hasson and bring life back to the contest.
On 62 minutes Town were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and when Ally Wilson stepped up to curl a terrific shot well out of Hasson’s reach it was game on once again. Coagh were rattled and Town attacked in waves.
The visitors conceded another free-kick 35 yards from goal after 65 minutes and there was an air of nervousness in their rearguard as once again Wilson crouched over the ball. His piledriver was parried by Hasson only for his partner in crime Watson to pounce and blast home to level the scores.
Sensationally, Town even took the lead on 78 minutes when a good move involving Mattie McCartan and Neil Watson found Ally Wilson who with his back to goal turned exquisitlely to volley into the top corner.
It was Town’s day and they held on to record their second win on the trot. Another great confidence booster for Ryan Watson’s squad on a day, or final 30 minutes, that visitors Coagh will want to forget.
TOWN: McConville, Orr, Baird, Greene, Wilson, Jones, Teggart, McCartan, Wilson, Gourley, Downey.
Subs: Ferguson (Orr 55 ), Waddell, Buchanan (Teggart 88), Loy, Watson (Gourley 45).
COAGH UTD: Hasson, McGeown, Ferguson, Thornton, Logan, Taylor, Henry, Young, Campbell, Smyth, Kempton.
Subs: Kelso, Cabral (Smyth 78), Glasgow, Baptista (Henry 80), K Hasson.
Referee: Paul Burns.