Banbridge Rangers 5
Lower Maze 2
Banbridge Rangers made it three wins out of three games in the space of a week when they put five past Lower Maze at Cheney Park on Saturday.
The Gers went in high on confidence after picking up some good results in recent weeks, including a 3-2 win at AFC Craigavon last Wednesday, but knew Lower Maze were one of the most consistent teams in the division.
The home side woke up after a slow start and grabbed the opening goal after just six minutes when Chris Chambers arrowed a free kick onto the head of Jonny Porter and his cushioned header set Coly Cousins up for a shot from the edge of the area. Cousins’ shot beat the keeper but came back off the post where William Frazer was on hand to tap in from a couple of yards.
On 27 minutes Cousins did get his goal when Jonny Porter won the ball out wide and drove infield looking to pick out the run of Frazer but a defender got an outstretched boot to the ball but fortuitously sent it straight to Cousins who took one touch before burying it past the keeper.
It was all one way traffic at the end of the first half and when Cousins played a through ball between the Lower Maze defence it was picked up by Frazer before Wilton took advantage of a loose ball and poked into the bottom corner to make it 3-0 at the interval.
Banbridge Rangers started the second period with about as much confidence as they have shown all season and were freely moving the ball with one touch passing and controlling the tempo.
With half an hour to go Rangers found the fourth goal when Weir released Cousins with the run of the half and his tame shot was unable to be saved by a flat footed keeper.
The dominance of the second half also invited some complacency and on 64 minutes Lower Maze pulled a goal back. With just over fifteen minutes to go a carbon copy of the previous goal occurred and Maze reduced the arrears to two goals.
The gloss was put on the game in stoppage time when Mark Wilton curled in a superb free kick from 25 yards out to see the Gers finish 5-2 and cap a very successful week for Manager Richard McMinn.
With only two games to go Rangers have secured a top 10 finish and with that any doubts about being caught in the bottom three who may all be relegated come the end of the season. The two matches are away starting with Camlough Rovers on Tuesday at 7.00pm followed by an away trip to Lisanally Rangers.