BANBRIDGE Rangers opened their Intermediate A campaign last Friday night with a solitary point at home to Crewe United from Glenavy.
The travelling side will feel like the gained a point on Friday night after seeing their midfielder sent off after only six minutes into the game and had to then come from behind with ten men to snatch the draw.
Both teams were trying to take control of proceedings early in the game with Crewe United’s left midfielder making an error in judgment when he lunged at Jason Gourley catching the Rangers player high up the shin leaving the referee no option but to send the player for an early shower.
Crewe regrouped very quickly to make themselves hard to break down and hold out for a draw away from home with the personnel disadvantage.
The breakthrough came quicker than expected fro Dan Thornton’s men with Jonny Porter’s overlapping run and pinpoint cross finding the run off Colin Cousins who headed past the Crewe keeper from eight yards after only fourteen minutes. Crewe’s workrate and closing down looked like they were on an even par with Rangers who were caught down the right hand side with along ball on the half hour mark with the cross being converted past stand in keeper Chambers to stun the home team.
Goalscorer Cousins was replaced in the first half by Ryan Weir after picking up a knock with Gourley and Hughes taking up the two forward positions. Crewe made it difficult for Rangers to break them down and stuck to their counter attacking game plan. It took until 76 minutes for Banbridge Rangers to create a clear opening with Jason Gourley going past the onrushing keeper inside the box but to his credit tried to stay on his feet after contact and retrieve the ball rather than go down for the penalty.
A pull back from Gourley on 82 minutes found Bradley Hughes fifteen yards out with the goal at his mercy but his shot sliced agonisingly wide off the far post. Crewe United then broke up the pitch with their striker bearing down one on one with Chris Chambers who saved well with his feet. From the resultant corner Crewe headed over the bar unchallenged to the dismay off their management. A late flurry off activity around the Crewe box developed into few clear chances with both teams finishing the evening with a share of the spoils.
This Tuesday evening 14th August Banbridge Rangers make the short trip out to Havelock Park to take on Seapatrick in the first off this seasons derbies between the two clubs. The two teams have never met in a competitive match which will surely be a crowd puller around the town with kick off on Tuesday scheduled for 6.30pm. This Saturday Banbridge Rangers will play Lisanally Rangers away in the Preliminary Round of this years Bob Radcliffe Cup with kick off at 2.15pm.