Banbridge Threes hit North for six as in-form Dean scores four

Banbridge went above rivals Garvey and into fourth spot in a tightly packed Junior Two on Saturday. INBL1544-245
Banbridge went above rivals Garvey and into fourth spot in a tightly packed Junior Two on Saturday. INBL1544-245

Banbridge Thirds smashed North Down Thirds 6-2 on Saturday as in-form forward Gary Dean hit four.

Bann were still missing the influential Sam Green through injury but welcomed Roger Martin and Matthew Graham into the squad.

Bann were dealt a blow when Douglas Anderson was ruled out in the warm up with a tight hamstring.

Bann took the game to North Down from the off with Dean and Kennedy linking up well up front, ably supported by Reid and Brown from midfield.

It wasn’t long before Bann won their first short corner and Kennedy dispatched a tremendous drag flick in off the crossbar, the first of a brace for him.

Bann continued to press forward and after Dean was released by Matson before driving into the circle and beating the keeper on his reverse.

North Down fought their way back into the match and after a spell of possession within the Bann half halved the lead.

After some comical defending and numerous chances to clear the ball, a North Down player stole it in the Bann circle and made no mistake flicking the ball over the advancing Roleston in the Bann goal.

Meanwhile, Dean was tormenting the North Down defence and restored Bann’s two goal lead after he again found himself one on one with the keeper and beat him at his front post.

Bann squandered a couple of short corners before North Down scored with a minute to go to half time. The centre of the pitch opened up for the advancing attack and the visiting striker tapped in at the back post.

With the match poised at 3-2, Bann knew they couldn’t afford to give North Down a chance to get back into the game. Roleston was called into action early in the half and made a strong save.

Brown and McConnell started to dominate exchanges in midfield and opened up the North Down midfield on numerous occasions.

Dean was unlucky not to convert an aerial into the circle with the North Down keeper pulling off an excellent save but he wasn’t to be denied for long.

After finding himself well positioned in the circle, he flicked the ball over the North Down keeper for 4-2. Matson and Martin in the centre of defence were quelling the North Down attacks and finding the Bann forwards with some excellent long balls.

Dean scored his fourth and Bann’s fifth after Reid jinked his way down the left side and along the baseline for the forward to finish from close range at the back post.

Kennedy finished Bann’s scoring with an excellent reverse stick shot from the top of the circle to claim all three points for Bann.

The Thirds now look forward to a home fixture against Raphoe seconds on Saturday after having three away games in a row.