Banbridge Town Juniors Under-16s Lisburn League Team lost out 3-1 to Larne in the NIBFA Cup on Saturday morning at a blustery Havelock Park.
The Juniors left all they had on the pitch and thoroughly deserved a better result in a very entertaining game.
Larne from the South Belfast League were a well drilled strong outfit, but they soon realised they were in a game, with strong challenges going in early doors, especially from Danny McKinstry in the Town midfield.
Despite Larne having more of the possession in the opening 20 minutes, it was the Town who made the better openings with Odhran McKibbon firing just wide from Gavin Fearon’s great ball across the face of the goal.
Minutes later, he had another close shave, heading just over the bar after great work down the left wing involving Downey and McAtamney.
However, it was Larne took an undeserved lead minutes later, when Leckey in goal lost sight of the high ball in the difficult low sun and Larne had an easy tap in, with the Town defence left stunned.
To their credit. the Juniors again took control of the match and once more it was McKibbon who was getting into some great positions and could have equalised getting onto the end of McAtamney’s great cross.
The second half was a tense affair with Houston working hard in midfield and the back four of Devlin, Morgan, Ellison and Downey pretty much in control.
But nothing could legislate for a rare Larne shot that took a wicked deflection and gave Leckey no chance in the Town goal to put Larne 2-0 up.
With the Town throwing caution to the wind, they conceded a sloppy third goal with 15 minutes on the clock. But this Under-16 team aren’t used to defeat this season and rallied once again.
Pressing for a consolation, Fearon went close twice only to be denied by the keeper and eventually McKibbon got himself a well-deserved goal, finishing brilliantly from Houston’s quality through ball.
It was too little too late for the Juniors who on another day would certainly have emerged victorious. They need not be too disheartened and will be back to league matters next weekend.
TOWN: Colin Leckey, Ryan Devlin, Jason Ellison, Paul Morgan, Cormac Downey, Jamie McAtamney, Gavin Fearon, Odhran McKibbon, David Houston, Danny McKinstry, Owen Byrne, Padraig Fitzsimmons.