BANN opened their season with an away trip to the Kikeel in the new look Kirk Cup, the new format limiting the amount of teams to just premier league teams.
Bann’s coach Mark Tumilty had the luxury of having nearly a full fit squad, missing Dermy Reay and Josh Moffett through injury. He welcomed back Owen Magee, Matthew Bell and Peter Brown back into the squad after their involvement in the UK School Games while debuts were handed out to Ross Beattie and Scott Caruth.
Bann opened the game as the better side and had a number of decent chances but were snuffed out by the impressive home keeper, a constant thorn to Stevie Dowds who impressed throughout only to be denied by the in-form keeper.
Bann have always been aware of the quality of Kilkeel’s counter attack and again it proved deadly in the 20th minute as William Annett broke from midfield to feed the forward who rounded Lennox and slotted home for an early lead.
Bann again went on the attack with Dane Ward and Scott Caruth going close, only for the keeper to smother and clear.
Lennox was called on upon a number of times within the half but the former Irish international proved quality to keep the scoreline at a minimum.
Tumilty had a number of issues to cover at half time but knew that if Bann did the right things that the game was there to be won.
The half time team talk obviously proved vital as Bann came out in the second half revitalised and certainly were in the ascendency throughout.
The midfield of Beattie, Carlisle and McCandless started to get a grip on the game which helped Dowds, Ward and Magee create havoc in the opposition’s 25.
The equaliser came within 10 minutes of the restart as a corner rebound was swept home by the prolific Stephen Forbes.
This goal boosted Bann’s attack with Carlisle controlling the midfield battle. Bann pinned Kilkeel into their own half with Dowds going close a number of times after some fine trickery and McCandless being denied by the keeper.
Dowds eventually beat the keeper only to be denied by a goal line clearance by Craig Cunningham.
Credit to Kilkeel, they battled hard to keep Bann out and had a snapshot of their own only to flash past Lennox’s post.
With only five minutes remaining a Bruce McCandless run won Bann’s fourth corner of the half. Short corner specialist Ross McCandless stood up only to be denied by the keeper but it was that man again, Stephen Forbes, who was there to sweep home his second of the game and his second goal in two seasons.
Bann’s coaching staff were happy with the second half performance and impressed with fighting attitude to get back in to the game. Overall it was three points gained and another 70 minutes under the players’ belt.
Team: Lennox, R McCandless, Stephen Forbes, Scott Forbes, Phillip Brown, S McCandless, M Bell, R Beattie, D Carlisle, B McCandless, H McShane, O Magee, D Ward, S Caruth, Peter Brown, S Dowds.