Firsts held to a stalemate

Banbridge v Cookstown � Edward Byrne Photography INBL07-222EB
Banbridge v Cookstown � Edward Byrne Photography INBL07-222EB

FROM the start whistle the Bann side were up against it from a Raphoe side who have only lost one match at home all season.

Straight away Raphoe put the Bann defence of Ash Bell, Alex Gordon, Megan McKenna and Sarah McCracken under pressure. Despite good work this lead to an early short corner put away well from a tight angle to bring the score to 1-0.

The Raphoe side still pushed on hard, forcing Bann onto the back foot. Banbridge began to gain composure on the ball and hold onto possession. This led to good passing between the midfield line-up of Debbie Smith, Orla Magee, Alannah Magee and Cathy Rees feeding the ball well to the forwards.

Neat passing play between Naomi Robb and Anna Moore created space in the oppositions ‘D’ for a pass to Rachel Cairns who was waiting back post to slot the ball into the goal.

The game continued end to end with both teams attacking well, but Bann were the ones to edge ahead thanks to a perfect 3D pass from Alannah Magee into the circle which Naomi Robb picked up well and forcefully slotted into the net.

Quick attacks by Raphoe players found Bann players caught watching which resulted in numerous short corners which Sarah McCabe did well to keep out, well assisted by the defence to clear the lines. This ended the first half.

In the second half Bann continued to work the ball well but Raphoe were still building attacks and putting the defence under pressure. On one of these occasions the Bann defence failed to pick up their players in the ‘D’ giving the Raphoe side an easy finish that goalie Sarah McCabe could do very little about.

At 2-2 the ‘at home’ crowd started to make a lot of noise encouraging the Raphoe side to carry forward. The mentality of the Bann players, to their credit, helped them deal with a lot of pressure.

On a well worked counter attack, Megan McKenna and Anna Moore worked well together on the right hand side to feed the ball in to the ‘D’ where Amy Atkinson was positioned well to win a short corner which was finished by Rachel Cairns.

The now voice-ful home crowd began putting pressure on for decisions to be made. Despite digging deep, the Banbridge team were unable to keep out the barrage of short corners that were awarded which resulted in a third equaliser goal for Raphoe before the full time whistle blew.

Whilst pleased to come away with a point given the circumstances, Bann will be looking to regain their winning form next week against Priorians. Thanks to Sheree Totton for umpiring and Coach Simon Jess.