Kernoghan ends goal drought but leaky defence leads to another defeat

A crunching challenge between Moyola Park and Banbridge
A crunching challenge between Moyola Park and Banbridge

Have the wheels fallen off the wagon?

That is surely the question most Banbridge Town supporters will be asking after this latest defeat, albeit by a single goal yet again.

True, Town ended their recent goal drought with three strikes, two from Jonny Kernoghan and another from Neil Watson, but conceded four at the other end - due in no small way to the absence of the unavailable defensive colossus Stephen Greene.

Therefore, they came away from the Castledawson venue empty handed. Banbridge did open brightly playing a nice brand of ground football and when Mattie McCartan found Mark Teggart with a deft pass, the latter’s cross to the back post found Johnny Kernoghan and he produced a fine save from Moyola keeper Farniok.

Things got better for Town and they took a deserved lead after 10 minutes when Kernoghan showed a sharpness to react quickly at the near post to a Conor Downey corner to blast past the home keeper. Kernoghan was Banbridge’s man-of-the-match and was showing his strikers how to finish.

Moyola slowly worked their way into the game and when Kelly split the Town’s rearguard, Stephen Cairnduff came to their rescue with a smart save from Kenning. The home side equalised in the 20th minute through Kenning after a great cross from the impressive Sean McConnell had been missed by the usually reliable Cairnduff. Town continued to hold sway and on 31 minutes Mattie McCartan was unlucky not to put Town ahead again when he met a Mark Teggart cross with a great volley which skimmed past the post with the home keeper beaten.

However, four minutes later it was 2-1 to Moyola when McConnell, who had tormented Town all afternoon, finished well. Things went from bad to worse for Banbridge after 40 minutes when a Moyola counter-attack resulted in a penalty award for the home side. A Glen Waddell foul on Kenning after the Town backline had been caught flat footed set-up the spot-kick and McConnell stepped up to send Cairnduff the wrong way.

Although now in deep trouble, Town have always shown spirit in adversity and were right back in the game after 44 minutes. A Downey corner was met by the head of Gary Boyle who forced keeper Farniok to push his effort out into the path of Johnny Kernoghan who steered his shot to the net.

It was end to end stuff in the second half, although very few clear-cut chances were created. Damian McParland came close when he rose highest to a cross and headed narrowly wide after 62 minutes.

However, Town were rocked back on their heels on 73 minutes when that man McConnell turned Martin Buchanan with too much ease and slotted wide of Cairnduff to make it 4-2. Five minutes later, Town introduced Keith McVittie and Neil Watson in place of Conor Downey and Gary Boyle with Watson making a big impact almost straight away.

After 84 minutes, Johnny Kernoghan was denied his hat-trick when his brilliant chip was clawed away by the home keeper with goal written all over it.

One minute later, Kernoghan’s free kick found Neil Watson lurking at the back post and the canny striker finished well to reduce the arrears again. It was game on again with a 4-3 scoreline and Glen Waddell had a header off the line as Town threw everything at Moyola.

However, it wasn’t to be and the home side held on to collect the points. Although Town have lost their way slightly in the quest for league honours lately they have the spirit and determination to claw their way back and with the return of Steven O’Neill, Adam Pedlow and Stephen Greene imminent things are not all doom and gloom.

MOYOLA PARK: Farniok, Maguire, Stewart, McQuillan, Waddell, Kelly, McConnell, Gallagher, Dowie, Kenning, Walls.

Subs: Paul, Curtis (Dowie), Kilpatrick (Maguire), McAllister (Walls).

BANBRIDGE TOWN: Cairnduff, Ferguson, Wilson, Waddell, Buchanan, McParland, Teggart, McCartan, Boyle, Downey, Kernoghan.

Subs: Baird, Drainey, McVittie (Downey), Watson (Boyle), Pedlow.

Referee: Paddy McFadden.