Bann maintain 100% start with Mossley win

Banbridge 1sts in recent action � Edward Byrne Photography INBL1438-290EB
Banbridge 1sts in recent action � Edward Byrne Photography INBL1438-290EB

Bann travelled to Mossley for a Friday night fixture with the hope to maintain their 100 percent winning record in the league this season.

This was going to prove a difficult task as Bann were without 7 of their regular team due to a number of injuries and work commitments.

However, this allowed the chance for a few younger guys to enter into the frame and state their case for a position in the squad for next weekend’s home game in the first round of the Irish Senior Cup.

Bann started out as the brighter of the two sides under the lights at the glade, but were unable to capitalise early on from a swift move down the right finding schoolboy Timmy Watt firing a low shot past the far post. Bann continued to exert all the pressure but were unable to break down the stern 11 men Mossley had behind the wall. Then finally Bann got the break they deserved when McCandless fired a quick ball from the back into midfield to find Peter Brown who turned his man in a sixpence and drove at the heart of the Mossley defence before unleashing a rocket of a reverse stick shot past the despairing Mossley Keeper. At this point Bann looked as if they were going to continue off from last week and score a few goals but this wasn’t the case. Bann had only themselves to blame as they missed chance after chance, with Captain Stevie Dowds firing over from a reverse, new boy Neil Gilmore narrowly shooting wide and Dane Ward, on his return from a 14 month sabbatical, missed a tap in at the back post. Bann paid for their missed opportunities just before half time, when Mossley broke away on the counter attack and fired home past Lennox in the Bann goal to leave the game tied 1 each half time.

Once again Bann started the second half well but were unable to break down the Mossley defence who seemed happy to absorb the pressure and fire the ball of the other end of the pitch. Eventually Bann got the breakthrough they deserved when Scotty Forbes from left back worked his magic up the left hand side of the pitch and found a glorious pass to schoolboy Kyle Marshall who unselfishly returned the ball to Scotty to deflect home. This seemed to fire the Bann players up, as Fraser Mills and Jamie Wright began to cut through the Mossley defence on a number of occasions but couldn’t find the killer ball to put the ball into the goal.

Bann’s third goal came from a penalty corner when Stevie Dowds fired home a low drag flick to leave the score 3-1 going into the final 15 minutes. Bann did get caught out on the counter attack late on by a quick forward line of Mossley only for keeper Lennox to deny Mossley their second goal. Bann continued to control the game but were unable to add to their 3 goals. Bann will be happy with all 3 points given the current injury list and are the only team in the Ulster league to have maximum points at this stage.

Bann now leave the Ulster league for a few weeks with the Irish Senior Cup next weekend at home to local rivals Kilkeel and then the Irish Hockey League the following weekend at home to Cork Church of Ireland. These are big games for Bann and will go a long way to shaping their season ahead, even at this early stage.