BANBRIDGE Rangers gained promotion to Intermediate A on Saturday when they defeated Hanover 5-0 at Cheney Park in their fifth from last game.
The Gers players have been in superb form and have only dropped points in two games all season and only need to win two more games to mathematically secure the league title.
Things got off to a bright start in the early kick off when Neil Clydesdale scored a peach of a free kick after only two and half minutes of play curling in from twenty five yards out after Mark Wilton was fouled.
Banbridge Rangers moved the ball about with ease holding possession comfortably and on ten minutes Richie McMinn threaded a precision pass for Colin Cousins to run onto and slot under the keeper to make it 2-0 on the day for Rangers.
On 15 minutes the Hanover left winger came in late at the back post but was unable to test Ivon Blevins in their only chance of the first half.
Rangers’ back four of Gregg, Tate, Chambers and Porter were able to push forward and help keep the wave after wave of attacks going.
On 25 minutes a trademark Chambers sixty yard crossfield ball found McMinn who controlled and moved the ball onto Wilton who then played prolific marksman Fulton in behind the last defender and was subsequently fouled by the covering left back. Chris Chambers then stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and make it 3-0.
The move of the match created goal number four on forty minutes and involved a flowing move down the left hand side between Gregg, Cousins and McMinn with Matty McKnight controlling the resultant cross on the chest before cushioning his exquisite volley into the top corner. This was McKnight’s fifth goal for Rangers first team since his switch from Rathfriland earlier in the season and is definatley one for the future.
After the break Rangers introduced Clifford Sterritt who made his return from injury and moved into the forward line alongside Gareth Fulton. Banbridge Rangers took their foot of the gas in the second half but still managed to carve out numerous clear cut chances with Fulton shooting just wide on fifty minutes followed by Tate whose header crashed off the crossbar from a Clydesdale corner.
Ryan Weir and James Beck came on for the last twenty five minutes with Weir beating the keeper to the ball on the next attack but was adjudged to have his foot raised to high and his goal was disallowed.
Hanover had their best two chances off the second half through Bunty who narrowly put a shot wide on seventy minutes before seeing a forty yard shot hit the crossbar when he spotted Blevins off his line and was unfortunate not to add a very good goal to the scoresheet.
Fulton and Sterritt were at the heart of everything upfront with Fulton playing Sterritt in and after controlling and volleying past the keeper the striker was in disbelief as the referee gave a foul for use of the arm.
Weir followed up with a shot that went just wide and Fulton smashed the side netting as Rangers looked to add more goals in the dying minutes. Sterritt lobbed the keeper but found the roof of the net but reacted quickest in the next attack after James Becks driven shot was spilled by the keeper and Jonny Porter was on hand to score his fourth goal in the last two months.
Overall this was a very good performance for Banbridge Rangers who can now look forward to pushing for the league title and a possible double with the Alan Wilson Cup Final approaching on Friday 20th April. Before then there is the last in this seasons derby games with Moneyslane which takes place at Crystal Park on Saturday with kick off at the later time off 3.30pm.
Best on the day for Rangers was Neil Clydesdale who opened the scoring and dominated in the middle of the park yet again.