Banbridge Seconds began the new season with a Friday night fixture away to Cookstown with the anticipation of better things after their struggle last season and they kicked off with a credible 2-2 draw.
With the introduction of much needed older heads, Bann began on the front foot, winning a short corner in the first minute thanks to great interplay between Dane Ward, making his return from injury, and Simon Magowan.
The corner was narrowly wide but nonetheless it was a good start from the Bann side. Following continued pressure, Banbridge took the lead after great work from Bill Malcolmson and David McCracken led to their second corner of the game which SMagowan despatched high into the net.
From the restart, Cookstown pressed high and after a continued spell of pressure they won two short corners in quick succession, the second smashed into the roof of the net.
Cookstown’s tails were up and they continued to dominate for a lengthy period of time only to be met by some resolute defending from Timmy Watt, Ben Knox and Junior Burns. Despite this, Cookstown took the lead after a goalmouth scramble led to the ball trickling in. Bingham in the Bann goal continued from where he’d left off last season with a couple of world class saves to keep Bann in the game.
The visitors began the second half with renewed optimism and after a good spell of possession they came close. Fantastic strength from Sam Farson lead to Mark Campbell slipping a great ball to Magowan only for the latter to see his shot come agonisingly back off the post.
The dangerous Dane Ward came closest for Bann showing great skills to allow him a shot that went narrowly wide. With Cookstown ever dangerous on the counter, the solidarity of Colin Dowds and Adam Marshall in the centre of midfield thwarted numerous attacks.
However, after a rare Cookstown foray into the Bann D, a short corner resulted in Matthew Hurst having to brilliantly take a drag flick off the line.
With time running out, a fantastic run from Josh Rowe lead to him slipping a brilliant pass to his brother Jake who span and fired an excellent ball to David Armstrong. His great pace won Bann a corner with only one min 30 to play, and from the second phase the ball fell kindly to Magowan who lifted it over the keeper for the equaliser.
Bann came close straight from the restart but the final whistle went and Bann claimed a good point away from home.