Banbridge Town U17 B team got their new season underway with a thrilling 3-2 victory over derby rivals Banbridge Rangers.
All the goals coming in a hectic opening 15 minute period, a Sam McAllister double followed a Jake Dennison strike to seal a narrow win for the Town.
Previously plying their trade in the Mid Ulster Youth League, the Town team were keen to test themselves in the unfamiliar territory of the Lisburn League.
The Town lads started the game at a furious pace, giving their opponents no time on the ball. With only two minutes on the clock, winger Jake Dennison was released down the right, he faked a shot before turning his man and burying the ball in the top corner.
Rangers were unphased but the Town soon got a second goal after a minute when Jake Dennison was again released by Sam McAllister. Dennison left his man for dead and finished low into the corner to give the Town a cushion.
In a frantic opening, the Town boys were asking all the questions, forcing Rangers into some early defending. With only seven minutes played, the Town won a corner which captain Jake Laffin whipped in dangerously. Striker Sam McAllister met the cross beautifully with a volley which rifled into the net.
The Town were rampant but Rangers finally settled into the game and began to press higher up the pitch. Determined to follow the trend set by the Town, Rangers clawed one back in the 10th minute when a low cross from the right was met at the far post for a tap in.
A manic opening 15 minutes was complete when Rangers found a second, with their winger picking up one a loose ball before thundering a strike into the top corner of the net.
The wake up call was one the Town needed, as they began to relax into their rhythm. The midfield combination of captain Jake Laffin, Jack Hamilton and Ryan Sloan were contesting the ball at every opportunity, while Jordan Walker was the rock at the back.
Keeper Jordan Moore, making his debut for the Town, produced some quality saves to keep his side ahead as he dealt comfortably with anything that came his way.
The second half began with Rangers searching for a way back into the game, however some strong organised defending from the Town ensured the door remained firmly shut.
The Town found their feet again after the restart and began pressing forward once more. Some tactical adjustments kept things fresh and with the introduction of another débutante in the form of Rhys Jones, the Town looked like scoring again.
The two sides fought hard to gain control but both sides defended astutely. Rangers threatened with some late pressure but the Town were in no mood to concede their advantage and took all three points. The match was a fantastic advertisement for local football.
Town’s man of the match was Jordan Walker for a spectacular showing in the heart of the Town defence, not giving his man an a touch and he proved the driving force from the back.