Banbridge Town Juniors U16s Lisburn League team got their New Year off to a winning start defeating North Belfast 2-1 at Wallace Park on Saturday morning.
The Town made it nine wins out of 10 games in all competitions - a phenomenal achievement to keep in the hunt for the League title this season.
Town totally dominated the opening exchanges and should have been at least three goals up in the opening 20 minutes, only for a lack of composure in front of goal, McKibbon, Fearon and Rafferty all guilty of missing when one on one with the keeper.
The Juniors’ quality midfield quartet of McKibbon, Houston, McKinstry and McAtamney were probing with ease the Belfast defence and eventually the pressure paid off with McKibbon setting up Fearon with a clever pass. The keeper saved but top scorer Fearon converted on the rebound to put the Town one up.
Belfast responded almost immediately with their first meaningful attack, after Banbridge gave the ball away cheaply. A long ball was spectacularly converted over the on rushing Leckey to level the scores at one each.
The second half began with McCann looking sharp up front and twice he came close to scoring after cutting in from the right wing.
McKibbon, who again was working tirelessly in midfield, fired wide after some great approach play involving Houston and McAtamney. But he was not to be denied and put the Town 2-1 up minutes later, slotting home with his weaker left foot.
North Belfast did try to rally, but were repelled by some magnificent defending by Morgan, Ellison, Downey, Fitzsimmons and Devlin who nullified their attack for most of the match.
This was a more comfortable victory than the scoreline suggests, but with so many wasted chances early in the match, Town gave themselves a nervy final 15 minutes.
Next up is a mouth-watering top of the table clash with Lisburn Distillery on Saturday morning at Fullerton.
TOWN: Leckey, Ellison, Fitzsimmons, Morgan, Downey, McAtamney, Fearon, McKibbon, Houston, McKinstry, Rafferty, Byrne, McCann, Devlin.