Banbridge Rangers 1
AFC Craigavon 2
Banbridge Rangers finished their calendar year with a disappointing defeat at home to AFC Craigavon who have hit a bit of a purple patch and are starting to edge into mid table after Saturdays win and a draw against Camlough Rovers the previous week.
The match was very much a slow burner with chances few and far between for both sides and all three goals came in a ten minute period near the end of the game.
In a goalless first half AFC Craigavon defended well and restricted Rangers to long range efforts with Ryan Gregg getting a hot away after 20 minutes after some neat footwork to bypass four tackles and Richie McMinn should have hit the target three minutes later when a corner routine saw him bear down on goal unopposed but arrowed his shot wide of the upright. At the other end Davy Crawford had to be alert and off his line quickly on two occasions to smother shots as AFC counter attacked with pace. The second half continued in much of the same vein with Rangers seeing a lot of possession without being able to penetrate in behind. On 55 minutes left winger Jason Gourley went close with a rasping shot from the edge of the box and fellow winger Coly Cousins was released in behind the left back by Chambers but sent his shot over. With twenty minutes to go Rangers were awarded a free kick just inside their half which was taken quickly by Chris Chambers and he picked out Glenn Moffett who guided his header in from eight yards out and celebrated the birth of his son last week with the rocking baby. The joy was short lived as Craigavon brought the scores level two minutes later when their striker went clear of the back four and drilled his shot into the near top corner. AFC Craigavon then took an unexpected lead eight minutes later when their right midfielder looked to have overrun the ball to the byline and swung a leg at the ball and it spun wickedly towards goal and Crawford could only get fingertips before it hit the back of the net. In the final ten minutes Rangers were unable to turn their possession into clear cut chances and missed out on three vital points ahead of the break.