Unbeaten run comes to a Swift end at Sport & Leisure

Banbridge Town’s unbeaten start came to an end after an exciting encounter in West Belfast on Saturday last against Sport & Leisure Swifts.

The game was only seconds old when a long ball down the middle caught Town ‘keeper Stephen Cairnduff somewhat cold. He drove his intended clearance against Donnan and the ex-Banbridge striker had the simplest of tasks in tapping home.

Town regrouped and fought back and on 11 minutes only a fine save from Sport & Leisure ‘keeper Nugent and a goalline clearance from centre half Morris prevented an Adam Pedlow equaliser.

Jim O’Neill almost increased his side’s lead after 19 minutes when he chipped over the advancing Stephen Cairnduff only to find James Wilson well positioned to clear the danger. Damien McParland went close soon after and a Steven O’Neill drive clipped the post on the half hour.

Town boss Ryan Watson showed his intention clearly with two substitutions at the beginning of the second half - Gary Boyle replacing the strangely quiet Conor Downey and new signing from Lisburn Distillery Johnny Kernaghan replacing James Wilson as Ryan changed the system somewhat.

They were on level terms after 62 minutes when a free kick was headed across goal by Stephen Greene and the lurking Steven O’Neill gave Nugent no chance from close range. Sensationally 24 seconds later Sports & Leisure were 2-1 ahead! Sub Martin Cunningham’s cross was met by the head of Jim O’Neill who found the experienced Neil Corr and the latter blasted to the net to restore the home side’s lead.

Banbridge were not finished and kept pushing forward and on 75 minutes one of these raids resulted in Steven O’Neill being upended in the box and from the resultant penalty Stephen Jones scored to level matters once again at 2-2.

Eighty minutes were showing on the clock when the home side began a great move involving Corr, Donnan and Jenkins which ended with right back McDonnell sending a screamer into the roof of Town’s net.

Banbridge Town: Stephen Cairnduff, James Wilson, Michael Ferguson, Stephen Greene, Martin Buchanan, Stephen Jones, Mattie McCartan, Damien McParland, Steven O’Neill, Conor Downey, Adam Pedlow. Subs: Gary Boyle (for Downey 45, Johnny Kernaghan (for Wilson 45), Chris McGrath (for McParland 72), Mark Teggart.