Banbridge Town Juniors U16s Mid-Ulster side went down narrowly 2-1 to Dungannon U16s at Kernan Playing Fields last Saturday.
The Juniors were a shuffled pack in the absence of captain Jordan Walker, along with two others on the treatment table. Despite this, they started brightly as their tireless approach pressured every touch that a Dungannon player took.
The make-shift Juniors defence, which consisted of Jack Hamilton standing in at center back, stood strong with everything that came their way.
With 11 minutes on the clock, it was Dungannon who finally found a breakthrough though, arguably against the run of play. A corner was met with a thundering volley which found the net through the crowd, giving the Town keeper no chance.
From this, the Juniors rallied as they pressed Dungannon straight back. Chances were inevitable for the Juniors, mainly thanks to the presence of Sam McAllister who was dominating the midfield.
The Juniors were unlucky not to be level on more than one occasion, which was all thanks to a smart save from the Dungannon keeper to deny Jake Dennison.
The second half got underway with Dungannon looking to put the game to bed as they asked all the questions in the opening 10 minutes. Despite the pressure, some composed defending from Jack Hamilton and Ryan Jones did well to keep Dungannon at bay.
The visitors did test the keeper and captain, Conor Ward but the shot-stopper’s quality shone through as he spectacularly kept the door firmly shut.
The Juniors found their feet, and came forward in waves but the Dungannon defence were of equal quality thus far.
Dungannon found a second goal 17 minutes into the half. It came from another corner, and when an unlucky deflection wrong footed the man on the line. the ball squeezed in to make it 2-0.
The Juniors were not put off, and were pushing hard for a lifeline. The local lads got their just rewards when strong play from Ryan Sloan allowed Liam Farrell to square for the returning Jake Laffin who smashed the ball low and hard and claw one back.
Despite the Juniors pressure, Dungannon held on to claim all three points.
This week’s Town MOTM was Sam McAllister for a midfield masterclass as he bossed the game from the first whistle to the last.