Under 16s can’t hold their lead and lose season opener

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Banbridge Town Juniors U16 Lisburn League team got their new season underway with a surprise 2-1 defeat to Downpatrick on Thursday night at Crystal Park.

Following an exciting pre-season and several new signings, hopes were high for a great start to the league campaign, but on the night the boys failed to live up to the expectations.

The Juniors came out of the blocks like a house on fire and played some great attacking football which had been evident all pre-season. They soon went one up when Fearon latched onto McKinstry’s delicate chipped pass and slotted the ball past the keeper with ease.

However, instead of hammering home their advantage, Town took their foot of the pedal and Downpatrick looked a threat on the break with two excellent forwards causing the Town problems in their new look defence of Morgan, Houston and Ellison.

One long ball caught the Town defence napping and allowed the centre forward to level the game after 20 minutes.

Town failed to create any chances of note in the final period of the first half and the sides went in level at half time.

The second half saw the Juniors up their commitment but nothing was falling into place in the final third.

Downpatrick remained dangerous on the counter attack but with Ellison thriving on his competitive debut, Banbridge seemed relatively comfortable. However, on one such occasion Town allowed the forward to run from the halfway line, beating three defenders and firing past the helpless Leckey in goal.

This shocked the Town Juniors into life in the final ten minutes and with a little bit of luck, they may have snatched an equaliser when McAtamney rattled the crossbar from long range. Despite constant pressure, Downpatrick managed to hold on in the final few minutes to take all three points.

Although disappointed at the result, Town can take heart from their spirited performance with the knowledge they can play better and with the games coming thick and fast, can get back on track sooner rather than later.

TOWN: Colin Leckey, Paul Morgan, David Houston, Jason Ellison, Cormac Downey, Gavin Fearon, Daniel McKinstry, Jamie McAtamney, Eoin Byrne, Padraig Fitzimmons, Odhran McKibben, Ryan Devlin, Mark Burke, Michael Rafferty, William Irwin