Defeat puts the final nail in title hopes

BANN entertained Instonians on Saturday in their latest Premier fixture looking to secure three points following the mid-week loss to Cookstown.

Bann welcomed back to the squad Colin Dowds follows his six months gloBe trottting, however they were missing centre back Stephen Forbes.

Bann started the match at an electric pace which saw them forcing the visitors to defend in depth and forcing error after error from the Inst defence. Prominent for Bann in the early exchanges were Dane Ward and Steven Dowds.

Bann continued to play some excellent attacking hockey with the  defence of Ross McCandless, Matthew Bell, Scott Forbes and Drew Carlisle providing the midfield with quality ball who in turn linked well with the forwards.

When Bann won a penalty corner 10 minutes into the half Ross McCandless made no mistake with a powerful flick high to the keeper’s right.

Bann where now totally dominant and it started to look as if the question was how many the home side would score! Five minutes later Bann extended the lead when, following a swift attack from the left, Ben Cosgrove scored from close in.

Nothing could have prepared the home support for what was to happen next. The locals appeared to believe that the match had been won and switched off completely for the following 20 minutes allowing Instonians not only to equalise but to take the lead on the stroke of half time.

The second half saw Bann play some excellent attacking hockey with Philip Brown playing an increasingly attacking role and were unlucky on several occasions not to equalise.

Wave after wave of Bann attacks were thwarted by good Inst defending or poor finishing which prevented the locals from getting the equaliser their play deserved.

Ten minutes from the end of the half Bann had possibly their best chance when Ross Beattie was unlucky to see his reverse stick shot flash past the upright with the keeper well beaten.

Bann continued to pen the visitors into their 22 but were unable to create the clear cut chance to equalise. The visitors defending became more and more desperate and unfortunately for the locals they were able to hold out to the final whistle to secure an unexpected win.

Unfortunately for the second time in four days Bann had surrendered a lead that if secured would have kept their league aspirations alive. It must be remembered that this is a very young squad that will be a major force in Irish hockey over the next ten years.

Team: A. Appleton, D.Carlisle, M.Bell, R.McCandless, Scott Forbes, R.Beattie, Ph. Brown, Peter Brown, D.Ward, S.Dowds, S. Caruth, B.Cosgrove, C.Dowds

Next Saturday Bann travel to North Down with a 4pm start.