Banbridge Rangers 7
BANBRIDGE Rangers cruised back to the top of the Mid Ulster Intermediate B League at a canter on Saturday past with seven goals against league newcomers Broomhill.
Banbridge Rangers had previously played the Richhill based team twice when in Division Three of Mid Ulster with Broomhill making the switch to Intermediate status at the start of the season.
Broomhill got off to the worst start imaginable when they conceded in the first minute with Gareth Fulton converting a Colin Cousins cross before Jason Gourley added a second goal from a Chris Chambers cross before the game was five minutes old.
Banbridge Rangers were content to knock the ball about at a slower tempo than usual and should have had an offside decision go in their favour on 12 minutes when the Broomhill striker went through on goal and slotted past Ivon Blevins into the far corner of the net.
Banbridge Rangers looked in control and created wave after wave of attack with the next clear chance falling to Fulton who saw his shot come off the left hand upright with the keeper beaten from fifteen yards out.
Rangers’ third goal of the game arrived on thirty one minutes with Chris Chambers sending in a pinpoint cross from a free kick on the half way line which was headed into the top corner by the prolific Jason Gourley.
Three minutes later Colin Cousins added a fourth goal to Rangers tally taking on the left back and slotting home after latching onto a ball over the top from Richie McMinn.
Cousins got onto the scoresheet again two minutes later only this time converting a cross from marauding full back Willie Frazer to give Banbridge Rangers a 5-1 lead heading into half time.
The second half was only seven minutes in when McCallister made a double swap, taking off Loney and McMinn and bringing John McCahon and Aaron Buchanan into the fray.
After a lengthy layoff Rangers manager McCallister will be delighted to have a player of Buchanan’s caliber back in the squad as the team heads into the final third of the season.
On the hour mark Banbridge Rangers almost saw the Broomhill keeper see Red when he handled on the edge of the area but was given the benefit of the doubt by the referee who played advantage with John McCahon seeing his effort cleared off the line.
With 15 minutes remaining Jason Gourley did add a sixth goal and also sealed his hattrick with a superb third headed goal of the day and took his goal tally to sixteen for the season edging to the top of the clubs top scorers charts.
Stephen Copes was brought on up front and didn’t disappoint again with some enthusiastic running and scored his second goal for the first team when he volleyed ina McCahon cross in the dying minutes to increase Banbridge Rangers goal difference to thirty five for the season which takes them eight goals clear of Lisanally Rangers who could only manage a draw away to Hanover at the weekend.
This Saturday Banbridge Rangers will travel to Carrick Rangers as underdogs in the Intermediate Cup and will be intent on keeping their dream alive and hopefully a large traveling support will make the 1.30pm kick off. Supporters buses are all fully subscribed and are leaving the Imperial Inn car park at 11.30am this Saturday morning.