Banbridge Rangers took part in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday past at Cheney Park against Championship 2 side Killymoon Rangers.
Andy Frazer had several new faces debuting for Banbridge Rangers including goalkeeper Davy Crawford, defender Jeff McClure, midfielder Jonny Gilchrist and wide men Ryan McIlroy and Craig McVicker.
Neither side created many clear cut chances in the opening half an hour but the Banbridge players looked sharp and hungry for the ball with two weeks training under their belt already.
Killymoon’s high line kept Rangers’ chances at bay but the Cookstown based side rarely threatened with Ivon Blevins having very little to do in front of a back four of Jonny Porter, Chris Chambers, Ryan Gregg and Willie Frazer, who has returned to the team after a year on the sidelines through injury.
In the second half rafts of changes to both teams killed some of the fluency of the game with Killymoon Rangers best effort coming from Jason Ferry who sent a looping shot just over the bar after coming in from the right hand side. Frazer’s understanding with McIlroy on the left flank started to reap dividends for Banbridge Rangers and Frazer saw a shot from close ranger hit the side netting after a lung busting run down the wing.
The game was physical throughout and provided a good test for Banbridge Rangers who were unfortunate not to snatch a winner late on in the game when Andy McLarty broke the offside trap but his shot went just wide of the upright after curling past the Killymoon keeper.
McLarty got another bite at the cherry in the final minute and finished confidently but the goal didn’t stand as he was fractionally offside.
Plenty of positives to take out of the first warm up game against a team from the third tier of NI football but Saturdays game against Ards will provide a sterner test. Training continues at Banbridge Academy through July every Monday and Thursday from 7pm and all new players are welcome to come on board.