It was widely envisaged that Championship Two newcomers Newington YC would be one of the fancied sides this season such was the strength of their squad and the pulling power of the North Belfast Club.
So when in form Banbridge Town travelled to the new 3G Seaview Surface without the backbone of their team with Stephen Greene, Paul Walsh and Mark Teggart unavailable they were fully aware of the enormity of the task in front of them.
Town were forced to defend deep early on and have ‘keeper Cairnduff to thank for keeping the arrears to one. On 10 minutes he made a magnificent close range save from another header from the home No.9 and was fortunate when the rebound struck the outside of the upright and went wide.
Town’s midfield were being “bullied” by the sheer physical presence of the Newington men and after Mattie McCartan had found himself in the “book” Stephen Jones was unfortunate to follow suit.
Indeed a Newington player can count himself very lucky indeed to have remained on the pitch after a blatant strike at Jones on 20 minutes. Town were now competing better and thought they had levelled the match on 30 minutes when Adam Pedlow rose majestically to thunder a great Johnny Kernoghan cross into the roof of the net. However, Referee Simon Creaney ruled the goal out for offside much to Town’s amazement!
Town’s chief threat came again from leading goalscorer Steven O’Neill and the big striker went close in quick succession after cutting in on goal and testing the home ‘keeper with fine efforts.
However, Banbridge were undone after 65 minutes when a long clearance from the Newington ‘keeper eluded the Town rearguard (missing the strength of Stephen Greene) and found Newington’s former Junior International Neil Quinn who fed his inrushing Striker and the latter blasted past Cairnduff to put the homesters 2-0 ahead.
This Saturday it’s back to league action at Crystal Park with Ballymoney United the visitors (Kick-Off 3pm).
To give supporters some idea of the task facing Town Ballymoney defeated Newington 5 - 2 earlier in the season! They have also won their last five league matches! So Town will have to be at their best to maintain their 100% home record.