A hugely depleted Banbridge AFC Reserves squad went down 6-2 at home to Donaghcloney Reserves this weekend.
With just 23 players to fulfil first team and second team fixtures, AFC had their work cut out for them but they got off to a fantastic start.
An Adrian O’Grady throw, flicked on by Paul Maginess, was met by Chris Hanlon’s left foot and found the net within 90 seconds. On five minutes, Hanlon was on hand again, following a Cameron Suckling pass sending him clear and although his initial shot was well saved he buried the follow up.
Mid-way through the first half, there was a ten minute delay when an unfortunate Donaghcloney player collided with the railings surrounding the pitch, resulting in a trip to hospital for stitches. The hold up seemed to favour the visitors, compounded by the recurrence of an injury to Chris Maginess that led to him taking over between the sticks from stand in for the day Carl Walker.
His first port of call was to pick the ball out of the net from a penalty on 25 minites after a clear handball in the AFC box. On the half hour the game was level, a deflected shot from the edge of the box leaving Maginess helpless as Donaghcloney’s pressure began to pay dividends. In first half injury time, AFC’s Paul Maginess’ header from 10 yards hit the inside of the post, but fell into the arms of the grateful keeper.
Donaghcloney used their physical advantage to good effect in the second half. A series of excellent in-swinging corners finally paid off as they capitalised two and surged into a 4-2 lead. Buoyed by this, Donaghcloney pushed AFC onto the back foot, and it was 5-2 soon after when a clearance was volleyed back from 25-yards past a static Maginess. Donaghcloney saved their best for last as a 35 yard drive smashed into the net. AFC had a couple of chances near the end to reduce the deficit, Stephen Brady’s effort ruled out for offside and Chris Hanlon firing over from close in as he sought his hat trick.