BANBRIDGE Rangers continued their top flight resurgence when they defeated Blackers Mill on Friday evening to make it a return of 18 out of 21 points for Andy Frazer’s side.
This was Banbridge Rangers last home fixture of the season and they signed off in style with a typically dominant performance capped by a superb hat-trick from captain Colin Cousins.
Banbridge Rangers started off the brighter of the two teams and should have been awarded a penalty within the first four seconds of play as the ball was flighted into the path of winger Weir from the kick off and he was manhandled by the flat footed full ball inside the area but it was waved away.
The Gers continued to dominate much of the early proceedings with Cousins, McKnight and Wilton all going close to breaking the deadlock but saw efforts go wide.
On 28 minutes the opening goal arrived through a outstanding display of counter attacking football as Ryan Gregg collected a Blackers Mill free kick inside his own area and had the composure to carry the ball out and loft his 60 yard pass over the head off the last defender and into the path of Colin Cousins who bore down on the keeper and finished with ease to make it 1-0.
Cousins was on the score sheet again within seven minutes as he peeled off to the back post and collected a deep Ryan Weir cross before blasting into the side of the net past the keeper to double Rangers advantage. Blackers Mill created little going forward and finished the half without looking likely to test keeper Ivon Blevins.
Banbridge Rangers continued to dominate much of the second half proceedings and should have extended their lead on several occasions as they tried to work their way into the box.
Blackers Mill were reduced to ten men with 20 minutes to go after a rash challenge on Jason Gourley down the left hand side. Rangers looked comfortable in possession but with 10 minutes to go they were given a let off when a ball over the top left their striker one on one but Blevins was on hand to save the tame shot.
With five minutes to go Colin Cousins sealed all three points with the goal off the game picking the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashing a driven effort into the top corner out the reaches off the young Mill keeper. This was goal number 20 for the season for Cousins who epitomizes the team work ethic of Banbridge Rangers and has performed across the midfield and back four during the course of the season.
This Saturday Rangers travel to Richhill to take on Broomhill who sit behind them in fourth position in the league. This is the first of five away games the Gers have to complete to finish their season and aim for the forty point mark and a place in the top four.