Reserves throw away a two goal lead to Swifts

BANBRIDGE Rangers Reserves threw away a two goal lead in 20 minutes in their away game at Rathfriland Swifts on Saturday and had to settle for point.

The two side have met twice in Banbridge so far this season with very little between the sides with Rathfriland edging the league game by a goal and Rangers edging the cup game by a goal.

The opening goal arrived on four minutes when a free kick on the right hand side line was superbly curled in directly to the far top corner by left back Wayne McAllister.

Rathfriland responded with two clear chances going a miss when Jonny Parkes saved well from Joe Toal and saw Aaron Robb put another good chance over his crossbar.

Several cautions were dished out for late challenges from both sides but is was Banbridge Rangers who took control off the first half and should have been out off sight by the interval.

Andy Mallen cracked the underside off the bar from 30 yards after a well worked free kick and the rebound was put in by Robbie Baird but he was adjudged to have been in an offside decision.

Baird was instrumental in another move soon after when his shot was blocked by Curran at the front post but he gathered the ball and dinked a cross to Jordan McCracken who headed unopposed from five yards out. To Rangers disbelief the goal was deemed offside.

In the second half Banbridge Rangers looked more comfortable in possession and although Aaron Chambers was having a quiet game he still popped up on 50 minutes to strike the crossbar with a driven effort from 25 yards to no avail.

On fifty eight minutes Banbridge Rangers went 2-0 up after a foul on Dean Mallen saw the referee play advantage as brother Andy Mallen picked up the loose ball and dinked the ball around a flat footed Megaw to Jordan McCracken who took the ball in his stride before curling into the bottom corner.

With 25 minutes to go Rangers reshuffled their pack with McAllister going off for Wilson but in the following 90 seconds play Rathfriland found their striker in the channel and curled in when Parkes attempted to close the ball.

With 15 minutes remaining Rathfriland got their equaliser through Joe Toal who raced clear off the last defender, rounded the keeper and scored from an acute angle.

The last ten minutes was a closely run affair with Rangers having several corners in succession and Rathfriland having a penalty appeal turned down. Both teams finished with a share of the spoils in a keenly but fairley contested game.

The Reserves have no fixture but the Rangers Thirds are back in action at the Tech against Broomhedge with kick off at 2.15pm.