BANBRIDGE Town travelled to Ballymoney in this Championship Two league game with both teams similarly positioned in the league table.
It was the visitors that started the brightest pressing the home team back early on. This pressure continued for the ﬁrst 30 minutes when Banbridge should have been one up when Chris Kingsberry’s shot from the edge of the box went narrowly over.
Moments later Banbridge were awarded a penalty when the dangerous Stephen O’Neill was fouled in the box only to see the spot kick saved well by the keeper.
Banbridge were causing the home side many problems down both ﬂanks particularly on the left hand side with the excellent duo of Paul Walsh and Simon Robb combining well; two great through balls from Robb unleashed Walsh who was giving the home side right back a torrid time but could not ﬁnd a Banbridge player in the packed penalty box.
Still within the ﬁrst 30 minutes The Town continued to press with the attacking front four of Kingsberry, Walsh, O’Neill and Downey looking dangerous and the midﬁeld dominated and controlled by the impressive partnership of Matty McCartan and Chris McGrath in central midﬁeld.
The pressure eventually paid off when a through ball from Stuart Thompson who was enjoying a lot of the ball himself teaming up well with Kingsberry on the right hand side, found the striker Connor Downey who slotted home for a deserved 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately though this lead was short lived when a rare break by the Ballymoney forward resulted in the second penalty of the game when he was brought down in the box from a ill timed tackle.
Apart from a clearance this was the ﬁrst thing keeper McAllister had to do but unfortunately he could do nothing with the spot kick which was well placed in the corner by the Ballymoney forward. The ﬁrst half ﬁnished without further incident.
The second half was much the same with the visitors expertly controlling the game in midﬁeld and the defensive partnership of Stephen Greene and Danny Johnston nullifying any effect the Ballymoney forwards were presenting.
Skipper Thompson continued to enjoy plenty of the ball linking up well with Kingsberry and continuing to press the home team back with early pressure down the right hand side.
Once again the pressure paid off when a wonderful effort from Walsh was punched away by the keeper but played back into the box to O’Neill who clinically scored from 10 yards for his second goal in two games.
Banbridge continued to enjoy possession and with one eye on Wednesday’s semi ﬁnal the management decided to make some substitutons. Porter replaced Downey on 60 minutes, McGrath replaced Walsh on 75 and Tumilty replacing Kingsberry on 85 to close out the match.
Unfortunately however the visitors equalised when a speculative free kick was sent deep into the home side box and wasn’t cleared and ﬁnished by the Ballymoney forward giving them what seemed to be a very fortunate share of the points.
However with tremendous credit and character Banbridge pressed on and with 10 seconds to go a truly remarkable ﬁnish from Tumilty who lobbed the keeper from 25 yards to deservedly win the match for the visitors.
TEAM: Michael McAllister, Stuart Thompson, Simon Robb, Stephen Greene, Danny Johnston, Chris McGrath, Chris Kingsberry, Mathew McCartan, Stephen O’Neill, Conor Downey, Paul Walsh, Johnny Porter, Martin Buchanan, Barry Tumilty, Darren McGrath