Banbridge Fourths played Lisnagarvey Fifths on a rainy Friday evening in a much anticipated local derby but went down 6-2 at Comber Road.
It was clear from the start of the match that both teams were focused and ready for an intense 70 minutes of hockey against their rivals.
Banbridge were quick out of the blocks and scored an exquisite goal involving some excellent play by Gareth Matthews attacking from left to right. Gareth worked his way into the opposition D with great skill to pick out Matthew Clarke who finished expertly, leaving the Garvey goalkeeper with no chance.
The team continued to apply pressure, but Lisnagarvey started to find their feet in the game and scored a fast counter-attack goal to level the scores.
Following the goal, the match was balanced on a knife edge with both teams having chances on goal. However, the defence of David Morrison, Roger Martin, Nigel Allister and Sean Doran coped well with the increased pressure. Robin Smyrl worked hard to control the game in the midfield along with the support of Dylan Cowan on the left and Jordan Oliver on the right.
Jordan showed great vision to pick out the forwards and interlinked well with Niall Burns who played on the right of the three upfront. As the game entered the last minute before half time, Bann broke into the Garvey D where Matthew Clarke expertly dummied to allow Niall Burns to ruthlessly fire the ball past the keeper.
The second half started well for Banbridge with subs Lee Groves, Matthew Graham, Aaron McConnell and Matthew Young working extremely hard when they were on the pitch, all three giving their all for the cause.
Unfortunately for Bann, Garvey scored a quick equalizer. Lisnagarvey pushed an extra man into midfield, which stretched the Banbridge midfield and made it difficult.
Lee Groves dropped into a more central position to counteract their tactics but Garvey were on the up and scored two goals on the break. Leon Glover made some good saves but there was little he could do to prevent the goals. Special mention must be made to Aaron McConnell who worked tirelessly on both the left and right of defence.
Banbridge continued to push men forward in search of a way back into the match, but this led to the defence being left more exposed and a further two goals were scored following quick counter-attacks.
Bann had several clear cut chances to score, but failed to get anyone on the end of the crosses to finish them. Although the game finished with a scoreline of 6:2 to Lisnagarvey, the Bann lads felt the score in no way reflect the game itself.
Banbridge worked hard for 70 minutes and showed some glimpses of brilliance. Each player showed great pride in wearing the famous red shirt and the team are ready to go again next week.