Banbridge AFC were beaten 4-1 at home to Bourneview last weekend.
Starting the game without in form Paddy Burns, out with a knee injury, AFC played with a high tempo and quality passing, immediately putting Bourneview on the back foot.
They controlled the game and on 25 minutes got their just reward. A well worked move with one touch pass and move football cut through the Bourneview defence. The final delivery saw John Lennon intelligently dummy the ball for Neil McCullough to rifle the ball home.
All too often this season, however, AFC have lacked the concentration needed at key times to allow them to hold a lead. Bourneview took centre and advanced easily through the AFC midfield, into the box, where a deflected pass fell kindly to their striker who finished well, just 45 seconds after AFC took the lead.
Soon after, AFC came close to taking the lead again when an excellent lob from McCullough came back off the underside of the crossbar. A follow up shot from Sean McKay was saved by the keeper and a good block denied Kyle Mallaghan a goal scoring chance. This seemed to knock the confidence of the Banbridge lads and Gary Spiers’ rash challenge in the box conceded a penalty. Last week’s best player, goalkeeper Phil Goan pulled off a great save diving to his left, only for the rebound to be slotted home by the penalty taker.
Going in just 2-1 down at half time, AFC were still in the game and had to come out fighting if they wanted to take something from the game. For 25 minutes they did just that. Intermediate B however is a tough league and a free kick from a wide position found an unmarked Bourneview player on the six yard line who headed home on 70 minutes.
The return of second half sub Brendan Donaghy, back from a broken toe, wasn’t able to spur the home team on. As a further headed goal came via a header from a corner on 78 minutes, AFC’s defensive frailties costed them once again.
Best for AFC was Mark Goan who in the attacking midfield role provided neat link up play with striker Sean McKay. Both looked like scoring and created some really good opportunities but tired finishing let AFC down. AFC will need to build on the positives from this one and revisit some areas on the training ground this week with high flyers Dungannon Tigers visiting Cheney Park on Saturday.
Manager Chris Beattie said: “The work rate and attitude from all my players was excellent. Other than a few lapses in concentration, we could well have taken some points from this game. We need more competition for places so the guys know to give that level of performance every week. With a bit of luck on our side, who knows.”