PLAYER POWER

BANBRIDGE Town’s shock penalty shoot out win over Glenavon on Saturday was the result of player power.

That’s according to Brian Adair whose side stunned Mourneview Park with an amazing comeback from two goals down.

Andy Mitchell and Robbie McDaid had put the hosts into a seemingly unassailable two goal half time lead but a brace inside 10 minutes from Timmy Grant forced extra time.

Stephen O’Neill almost won it for the Town with a sublime lob but youngster Jude Ballard levelled it up once again, leading to penalties. Former Glenavon favourite Paul Walsh was left to thump home the winning spot kick for a more than deserved win.

“I was pleased with how we started in the first 30 minutes but we lost our way and conceded the two goals. I was disappointed with the manner in which we lost them,” said Town boss Adair.

“I spoke to the boys at half time and said that we could do more with our possession and that we needed to make sure the game didn’t fizzle out.

“It was going to be a tough ask to come back from 2-0 down at half time but all credit to the lads.”

He added, “For a Banbridge Town XI to come from beat any sort of Glenavon representation is a wonderful achievement. The squad is a hungry bunch who want to achieve. There are some wise old heads in there who still have a lot to prove in the game.

“I’m very proud of the players because since we have come into the job in November we’ve made baby steps and this win is another sign of that progress.

“It’s all about the players. My job as a manager is to manage players and ultimately they will either win or lose you games so I’m delighted because having put so much work in it would have been devastating not to progress to the semi-finals.”

Adair has now earmarked a top five finish in Championship Two and with nine games to go before the end of the season it’s all going to be about picking up as many wins as possible over the next four weeks.

They will have it tough this week though, with trips to third placed Ballyclare Comrades on Tuesday night (8pm kick-off) and Armagh City, who lie second, on Saturday (kick off 3pm).

“I always gauge the success of a team over the course of a season and where they finish in the league,” said Adair.

“Realistically it was going to be a big ask for us to finish in the top two. Next season has to be the one where Banbridge Town get out of Championship Two.

“There’s nine games remaining and the aim is to break into the top five. We’ve had a few disappointing results over the last few weeks, and that particularly frustrating when you come to Glenavon off the back of a deserved 1-0 loss to Wakehurst and perform like we have.

“The players need to find that consistency but certainly over the next few weeks it will all be about picking up as many points as we can. I gathered the boys at the final whistle and told them that results like the one we’ve just got are proof of what can be achieved with hard work.

“There has been gradual improvement and five months down the line from taking over I feel we are where I wanted us to be and we will be ready to rock come August.”