Banbridge Rangers exited the Premier Cup on Saturday at the quarter-final stage after going down 2-1 to Tandragee Rovers.
Colin Cunningham made his first start in over a month as the Gers were in need of a focal point to their attack due to several key injuries within the squad.
Cunningham looked sharp and worked a shooting opportunity after six minutes which went past the upright and in the 13th minute the Gers went inches away from taking the lead after Andy Mallen’s dinked shot from the edge of the box left McGivern flat footed but shaved the outside of the post.
Tandragee Rovers then started to come back into the game and had their first shot on target from Corbett via a swift counter attack. The warning wasn’t heeded and in the 21st minute Rovers broke from a corner with Dobbs eventually teeing up AJ Gallagher who made no mistake from six yards.
Both teams were creating chances in equal measure with Rovers going clear but being denied by a quick thinking Blevins whilst at the other end Colin Cunningham rattled the bar for Rangers with the help of a slight deflection after a neat turn at the edge of the box.
The equaliser then arrived just before half time with Jonny Porter driving into the box and when he was upended by Whiteside the ball fell into the path of Cunningham and he picked his spot at the front post.
In stoppage time at the end of the half Banbridge Rangers went agonisingly close to taking the lead after O’Neill took advantage of McGivern spilling a corner but his shot was cleared off the line.
The second half started with both teams playing more conservatively. A goalmouth scramble for Tandragee was cleared by Chambers whilst Rangers went close at the far end through Matty McKnight who let a low cross run by him with his back to goal before turning to see his shot deflected for a corner.
From the next phase of play Tandragee scored the winning goal with a direct ball into the box from Wells being headed up in the air by Corbett and as it came down near the six yard box Jonny Black was able to nod into the side netting.
Tandragee could have wrapped the game up twice on the counter but struck the post and were denied by Blevins. In stoppage time an indirect free kick offered the Gers their clearest chance to take the game to extra time. When the ball was rolled to Teggart his drilled shot was stopped from heading into the back of the net by a Rovers forearm but the referee was in a poor position to award a spot kick and left the Gers heading out of the Premier Cup.
It was a valiant effort but unfortunately the key decisions failed to go the way of Banbridge Rangers who now have an Irish Cup third round tie to look forward to this weekend. A lunchtime kick off in Londonderry will see an early start from Banbridge to take on Trojans. There are no spaces left on the supporters bus which has all spaces filled and leaves the Coach Car Park at 9am.
RANGERS: Blevins, Cousins, Chambers, Gregg, Frazer, Porter, Ward (O’Neill), Teggart, Mallen (Dodds), McKnight, Cunningham (Clydesdale).