Rangers through to Marshall Cup semi-final
Banbridge Rangers set up a semi final date with Newry City AFC at the Showgrounds after a superb win over Broomhill in the Marshall Cup on Saturday.
With several key players missing due to commitments with the junior teams in the club, there was still a very strong squad at Richhill Recreational Centre and they put in one of the most comprehensive performances of the season.
Scott Ward made his first start in six weeks and grabbed the game by the scuff of the neck from the off and was rewarded with a goal after ten minutes with his shot at the end of a driving run going through the keepers grasp and into the bottom corner.
In the 17th minute referee Ruth-Anne Wright blew for a free kick on Mark Wilton right on the edge of the box as he slipped Colin Cousins in behind for a one on one with the keeper and it looked like a clear advantage going against the ‘Gers, but dead ball king Neil Clydesdale managed to get the ball up and over the wall and into the roof of the net for the second goal.
The second half started well for Banbridge Rangers who made it 3-0 within ninety seconds. A driving run by Wilton saw McKnight go clear and when his shot was blocked, Cousins retrieved the ball but fired off the post.
Thankfully the instigator of the attack Wilton was following up and was able to drill low with his left foot past a host of bodies on the line.
The tempo slowed down and allowed Broomhill to get a foothold in the game with Jason Harper attempting a lob over William Maxwell which went well over the bar.
The home team were then given a lifeline with 14 minutes to play when a cross from the right flank saw Chris Chambers stretch a toe out to block the cross but he inadvertently diverted the ball up and over his own keeper and into the top corner.
The three goal advantage was restored almost immediately when Jonny Porter was able to blast home after a goal mouth scramble with ten minutes to go.
Broomhill made a late rally forcing Maxwell into a fine stop with their first shot on target and then scored a second goal late on after turning in a low cross from close range.
The ‘Gers progress to the final four to meet Newry City at the Showgrounds but will not take any fear from the current league leaders after going toe to toe with the former Irish League side twice this season.
An intriguing game awaits but first up is a tricky home tie this Saturday against Crewe United with kick off at 2.15pm at Cheney Park.
BRFC Team: William Maxwell, Jonny O’Neill (Matthew McCrum ‘65), Kyle Sergeant, Christopher Chambers, William Frazer, Jonny Porter, Mark Wilton (James McCann ‘80), Scott Ward, Neil Clydesdale, Colin Cousins (c) & Colin Cunningham (Matthew McKnight ‘30).