Town thwarted by a Newington double in Crystal season opener

Danny Devlin earned a first league start for Town on Saturday. INBL-1631-205PB TOWN FC
Danny Devlin earned a first league start for Town on Saturday. INBL-1631-205PB TOWN FC

Banbridge Town’s hope of a winning start to their Premier Intermediate League campaign were thwarted on Saturday as Newington ran out 2-0 victors at Crystal Park.

Town started the match with an unchanged line-up and it soon became obvious that Newington had done their homework as they started with a back three and pushed an extra man into midfield in order to deny Town any opportunity to get any semblance of the domination and passing movements that they experienced last week.

Nevertheless as early as the seventh minute Downey got his head to a good cross from McCartan which was well defended.

Newington began to assert some authority and their midfield started to cause problems for Town’s defence as they began to create chances with the dangerous Conal Burns at the heart of much of Newington’s attacking forays.

Indeed it was he who, in the 11th minute, came the closest to opening the scoring when Town failed to clear a corner and the ball dropped to Burns on the edge of the box and his effort went tantalisingly wide.

Town did cause the visitors problems from time to time. Danny Devlin’s exquisite pass gave Downey the opportunity to force a save from Smyth in the visitor’s goal but Newington responded immediately when Brennan headed a corner over the bar.

Newington eventually took the lead on the half hour when McFall was released down the left hand channel and he finished with ease after his pace had taken him clear of the home defence.

Town responded well to this setback and for a few minutes displayed some attacking intentions. Moffet had the best opportunity when he turned his marker in the box but he was crowded out by the visitors defence and the chance was lost.

Manager Stuart King made a tactical change at half time bringing on Neil Clydesdale at the expense of Adam Pedlow and changed the team’s shape in order to bolster the attack.

Town soon kicked on with the new addition in the thick of the action as Clydesdale was denied vociferous penalty appeals when Town felt he was flattened whilst preparing to shoot from close range.

Shortly after however, Newington forced a corner and from a training ground set piece, defender Reynolds peeled off and fired a first time shot beyond goalkeeper Cairnduff’s despairing dive.

Town replaced Matty McCartan with Ryan Gourley in the 64th minute and Town forced some opportunities on the right as Gourley’s pace caused some problems.

Sadly, Town were dealt a hammer blow when Acheson was shown a red card for a late tackle and they were forced to see out the last 12 minutes with 10 men.

Town tried desperately to get back into the game and Downey was again at the heart of the action as he just missed with another header. Newington though, held on and in truth were worthy winners.

TOWN: Cairnduff, Wilson, Acheson, Greene, Devlin, McCreanor; McCartan, (Gourley 64), Lavery, Moffett (c), Pedlow (Clydesdale 45), Downey.

Unused Subs: Barr, Thompson, Wilson.