Thirds hang on after letting Bangor back into game

THE Thirds travelled to Bangor on a mild Wednesday night to face mid-table Bangor seconds.

Several injuries left the locals with a small squad of twelve but it was a team who have gelled together over the last few months.

They have gone on an unbeaten run, winning two out of their last three games with impressive wins over Cookstown and Mossley.

The game started off evenly with both teams having a fair share of the possession. Rory Woods was showing his hunger with some great movement and earned Bann their first corner after fifteen minutes.

From the resulting corner, a second phase strike from Neil ‘Chocolate Man’ Anderson found the top right hand corner which left the keeper stranded.

This was a great strike from the pacey winger who has endured a lengthy time on the sidelines this season.

As the game went on the midfield trio of Jess, Knox and Sturgeon were dominating play. On a number of occasions Bangor did find themselves in on goal but an assured display from Mooney in goals kept them at bay.

Bann doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Jess hit a cross field ball to release Sturgeon down the right wing, where he evaded a couple of challenges before unleashing a ‘bullet’ into the bottom left hand corner.

The second half started where the Thirds left off with Knox controlling the centre of the park with an assured performance.

David McCracken and Gary Dean were now finding a lot of space as Bangor tried to press forward.

Thomas Sturgeon was having a great game on the left of midfield and at one stage seemed to have beaten the whole Bangor team with quick stick work. His cutback into the danger area was cleared hesitantly by the Bangor backline as Bann looked to kill off the game.

It was a only a matter of minutes later when Anderson went on a mazy run of his own into the circle beating at least three players before smashing past the advancing keeper.

There was more to come from Bann when they won their fifth short of the game. Another second phase corner fell to veteran Roger Martin who made no mistake in smashing into the net for his first of the season.

A great finish from the sweeper who has kept himself in ‘tiptop’ condition at the tender age of forty odd. There are still many years to come from the man at the back.

Bangor seemed to be dead and buried with the defence of Dillon-Burns, Martin, Wheeler and Richard ‘no nonsense’ McMullan keeping strong throughout the game at the back.

With only six minutes remaining Bangor got a consolation which seemed to go through the keepers legs. Literally one minute later, Bangor scored another one high into the net and unbelievably added a third seconds later.

Bann had hit the self destruct button and were now holding on to a 4-3 lead. Andrew Mooney was again tested in the dying seconds with a great double save.

They held on to a 4-3 win which should have been more comfortable than it was.

This was a great performance for 64 minutes and another crucial three points which lifts them closer to safety and extends their unbeaten run to four. Best for the locals were Matthew Knox in centre midfield and it was great to see Neil Anderson back on the goal trail.