TOWN Juniors Under-17s were very unlucky not to have claimed all three points against Willowbank last Saturday morning.
The first half started slowly, with chances for both sides being few and far between and much of the action played in midfield - where Aaron Heaney and Michael Mallon battled hard to give Banbridge the lead.
Throughout the first half, the centre-back pairing of Ben McDowell and Dominic Donnelly played a very solid game to stop the Willowbank forwards having any chances on goal and additionally, when called upon, Chris Coleman in nets was equal to Willowbank’s efforts.
Ryan Finnegan had some excellent play down the right wing, trying to create chances for the forwards Chris Orr and Matthew Millar, the latter being unlucky not to find the back of the net on a couple of occasions. Going into half-time, the sides were level at 0-0.
Banbridge started the second half the stronger of the sides, with early chances for Michael Corden, who eventually turned provider for the opening goal of the game. After another storming run down the left wing this time, evading two challenges, Ryan Finnegan set up Corden, who whipped in a cross, which found Matthew Millar, whose deft header was enough to give the Juniors the upper hand.
Chances for both sides followed, however it was Willowbank who got the all-important second goal of the game, when a half-cleared corner found their forward, who curled a great shot into the top corner, to level the tie.
With just 10 minutes left, both sides fought hard to get the deciding goal and Banbridge were so close to doing just that, when Eoin Monaghan fired just over the bar after beating his man.
With almost the last kick of the game, Aaron Heaney found the feet of Chris Orr but just as the Town thought they had stolen all three points, the referee blew his whistle for offside. In the end, a 1-1 draw was a fair result in a very end-to-end game.
Team: Chris Coleman; Daryl King; Ben McDowell; Dominic Donnelly; Ryan Finnegan; Conor Byrne; Michael Mallon (C); Aaron Heaney; Michael Corden; Chris Orr; Matthew Millar. Subs: Eoin Monaghan; Stephen Stewart; Charlie Donaghy; Sean Kelly.