Banbridge Rangers progressed to the last 16 of the Marshall Cup with a 2-1 win over Sporting Lisburn at Barbour Playing Fields on Saturday.
As expected the Division Four side set their stall out from the first whistle with a flat back five and two holding midfielders to nullify an early goal.
In blustery conditions Rangers were playing uphill in the first half, putting plenty of pressure on their opponents with four corners and numerous crosses into the box all coming to nothing in the opening quarter of an hour.
Colin Cunningham did find the net in the 12th minute with a rebound from a McKnight shot but he was in an offside position.
In the 22nd minute the ‘Gers opened the scoring after Matty McKnight worked a shooting opportunity inside the box from an acute angle and when the ball bounced off the keeper’s skins it fell fortuitously to Colin Cousins for a simple tap in.
Within a couple of minutes Sporting cleared a header by Ryan Gregg off the line from a corner as Rangers pushed for a second goal, which may have opened the floodgates but the Lisburn side defended resolutely until half time.
The second half began in the same fashion with Sporting at times playing almost entirely on their 18 yard line with only a solitary striker.
In the 58th minute substitute Jamie Crooks struck the foot of the post with a curling shot when played in by a quick thinking Chris Chambers.
Just after the hour mark saw Cunningham upended at the edge of the box and when his resultant free kick struck the wall it fell to Andy Mallen who drilled his towards the top corner but was denied by a top drawer save by the Sporting Lisburn keeper.
Both McKnight and Cousins went close to converting crosses and Cunningham spurned his second good chance of the half by blasting over.
In the 68th minute the second goal arrived when a speculative drive from Cousins beat the keeper at his near post but came back off the post to the feet of Colin Cunningham who scored his tenth goal of the season for Banbridge Rangers.
A lack of discipline evaded the Sporting left winger with a quarter of an hour left with an off the ball incident which forced Jonny Porter to be substituted after taking a boot to the shins.
Eventually the home side had to attack and with ten minutes to go a three on two situation arose by substitute Wayne McAllister was on hand to cut out the cross.
In the final minute a goalmouth scramble saw the home team reduce the arrears when their captain slotted home from eight yards out.
Banbridge Rangers will now face Windmill Stars at Holm Park in Armagh in the new year for the Fourth Round tie of the Marshall Cup.
This Saturday the ‘Gers are away for a league game against Ballymacash Rangers which kicks off at 2pm.