Banbridge Town kept their Intermediate Cup run goin with a narrow 1-0 win over Deriaghy CC thanks to an early strike from Ally Wilson.
Prior to kick-off, a one minutes silence was observed in honour of former Banbridge Town striker Mark Chambers, who sadly passed away at the relatively young age of 60 after a long illness.
In the game itself, Town extracted the win just about as they survived a second half penalty for the visitors. Martin Buchanan was sent off in conceding that one but Derriaghy also had a man dismissed before full-time, helping Town to see out the win against a tough and stubborn Derriaghy side managed by former Loughgall goalkeeper supreme Marc Robinson, who also showed that he still has few peers as regards his prowess between the posts.
Banbridge have now qualified for the last 16 in this season’s competition and, while they will be pleased to progress, they know that a big improvement is required if they are to go further.
This was far from one of their best performances and while it is said “it takes a good team to win while playing badly,” Town Boss Ryan Watson will expect a lot more from his charges in the coming weeks.
This was a poor game but the bottom line is that Town got the result and their name is in the hat for Round Five.
It was six minutes before a chance was created when Ally Wilson slipped the ball through to Adam Dennison on the edge of the box but the rising star’s effort was easily held by Robinson.
However, four minutes later it was a piece of individual brilliance from Wilson that was to bring about the eventual winger. The striker turned inside a helpless defender to hammer into the corner of the net - a strike that brought a rousing cheer from the home support as they saw Town take the lead. Ryan Evans, starting his first game of the season, was instrumental in the build up to the goal.
Banbridge looked confident at this stage and likely to add to that early goal but Derriaghy had other ideas and Scott saw an effort go the wrong side of Stephen Croft’s goal in a sharp counter attack after 15 minutes.
Player/Manager Robinson got down to hold a fiercely driven Ally Wilson free minutes later and his defence did well to prevent a Conor Downey shot after he had been put through by Dennison, who pounced on a loose pass close to goal. Downey was then very unlucky with a sweetly taken free that thundered off the inside of the post with Robinson stranded.
It was all Town at this stage but Derriaghy weathered the storm for Guy and the dangerous ex-Portadown forward Jordan Baker to pepper the Town’s goal with shots.
They were unfortunate after 32 minutes to see a great McKinstry header come back off the underside of Town’s crossbar before being scrambled clear and on 40 minutes Baker lobbed over after a fine run.
It was a niggly contest at times with the referee flashing yellow cards but never dirty - more a keenly contested Cup-Tie.
Conor Downey had a great opportunity on 56 minutes to increase Town’s lead but delayed when through and allowed the visitors’ defence to get back and block the chance.
He almost made amends minutes later with a good header from Ally Wilson’s cross but it flew inches over.
Banbridge were dealt a real blow after 69 minutes when Martin Buchanan was sent off after picking up his second yellow card, conceding a penalty in the process.
However, Jordan Baker saw his spot kick rebound off the bar, much to Town’s relief. It was a let off indeed.
Ryan Watson then introduced Michael Ferguson to shore up his defence and the lively Ryan Gourley came on for a tiring Ryan Evans. Banbridge, despite being reduced to ten men, remained solid and might have scored on 80 minutes when Gourley raced clear down the right but lost control with the goal at his mercy.
Derriaghy were reduced to ten as well on 85 minutes when Stronge saw red after talking himself into the book for a second time.
New signing John Murphy came on for Town and showed his physical presence with some timely clearances as the hosts held on to record the victory that takes them into the last 16.
Banbridge Town Football Club would like to sincerely thank SB Painting and Decorating for their kind sponsorship of the game.
BANBRIDGE TOWN: Stephen Croft, James Wilson, Stephen Greene, Martin Buchanan, Glen Waddell, Adam Dennison, Ryan Evans, Mattie McCartan, Ally Wilson, Conor Downey, David Gray.
Subs: Michael Ferguson (Gray 71), John Murphy (Downey 80), Ryan Gourley (Evans 67), Neil Watson, James McConville.
DERRIAGHY CC: Marc Robinson, Ryan McNaul, Matthew McKinstry, Sam McNaul, David Wilson, Connor Stronge, William Elliott, Lee Guy, Jordan Baker, Gareth Scott, Gavin McAteer.
Subs: Nathan Campbell (Wilson 55), Nathan O’Neill (Guy 78), Adam Greer (McAteer 84).