Fourths relieved to hear final whistle as good start continues

Last Saturday saw Bann Fourths travel to Laurelhill Sports Zone to take on South Antrim hoping to build on last week’s away win at Cookstown and continue their climb up Junior League 2.

Bann were without skipper Dave Smyth and the experienced Mark Clydesdale but were thankful of seeing a return to their usual mix of seasoned campaigners and talented schoolboys.

It was the home team however that started off on the front foot prompted by former 1st XI player Willie Redpath and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring after 15 minutes when a left wing attack resulted in the South centre forward giving Bann keeper Luke Skillen no chance with a finish from mid-circle.

Bann took a while to come to terms with South’s midfield set-up but once they adjusted their system to negate their extra player the remainder of the 1st half saw the locals on the front foot prompted by their midfield of Joe and Peter McKnight and James Brown.

The first half ended with the home side ahead but the visitors looking as if they could turn things around. Bann didn’t have to long in the second half when Brown expertly deflected home a pinpoint McKnight shot from a short corner after only 5 minutes to restore parity to the scores.

It was now all Bann and they had numerous chances to take the lead but a combination of poor finishing and an absence in the run of the ball particularly when Dean agonisingly saw his effort rebound to safety off the left hand post.

Just when it seemed that all their efforts were to be in vain up popped Peter McKnight just before the hour mark to score with a reverse stick finish. Gareth Matthews could have put the game beyond doubt when left one on one with the keeper a few minutes later but his deft jink past the keeper slid the wrong of the post.

Next up for the locals is their first home game against an Inst side currently enjoying life in the top half of the table.