Banbridge Town boss Ryan Watson heaped praise upon recent signing John Murphy after Saturday’s action-packed 3-2 victory over Sport and Leisure Swifts.
The ex-Seapatrick man made his first start in a Town shirt and excelled at centre-back in the absence of club captain Martin Buchanan.
It was a performance that was noted by on-looking supporters and management alike with Watson giving a special mention to his recent recruit.
“John came in for his first start and didn’t put a foot wrong,” beamed the Town manager.
“He was very, very impressive up against a strong attack, especially for a guy who hasn’t played a lot of football this season.
“His performance augers well for him.”
Saturday’s victory was the first time Town had managed to get the better of Sport and Leisure since the West Belfast side were promoted to Championship Two in 2012.
They had previously been beaten twice and drawn the other three of the five meetings. The win had certainly been a long time coming and it couldn’t have come in any more thrilling fashion for the Town supporters who braved a chilly afternoon to watch their charges at Crystal Park.
“Mattie McCartan’s late winner went in up at the clubhouse end where most of the fans tend to be and it was absolutely fantastic to give the supports something to shout about,” said Watson.
“There was a great cheer went up when Mattie’s shot hit the net!
“The second half was real end to end stuff but after we had a man sent off, our idea was just to hang on and get the point. It was important that we didn’t give anything away but that’s one thing about us, we have the team spirit to keep going. Nobody sums that up better than Mattie McCartan so it was very fitting that he should be the man to find himself in the box. He fired in a really great finish which was great for him. He sums up our never say die attitude.
“It was a game that had everything. Both teams were really going at it hard, it had a bit of a controversial sending off and then the last minute winner. Thankfully we came through it and got the three points.
“Going in at 2-2 at half-time was probably a fair reflection on the game. We were playing against a strong wind in the first half and so the target was always to come in level.”
After such a strong finish from Town, even when down to ten men, Watson praised his side’s recent efforts in training.
He said: “We have worked really hard on our fitness in training over the past few weeks because we knew come this stage of the season it could make a difference.
“The lads have put in the hard work and they got their rewards on Saturday. It was just a perfect day for us.”