Rangers Swifts lose top of the table clash

Banbridge Rangers Swifts fell four points behind the league leaders, going down 2-1 to top side Glenavy Reserves.

Both clubs had senior teams called off prior to kick-off at Aghalee but it didn’t have an impact on either squad.

The Gers couldn’t have got off to a better start when Nicky Ireland was able to score an opportunistic goal when the Glenavy keeper’s clearance hit his defender. The loose ball was curled in from the right wing and Ireland slotted in for an early goal.

Towards the end of the half, Michael Burns saved a one on one and Wayne McAllister somehow stopped the rebound on the line as the Swifts found themeselves under a barrage of pressure.

In stoppage time, keeper Burns made sure his side went into the break 1-0 up with a fine reaction save from a close range header.

Dean Gordon came on five minutes into the half to help support lone front-man Ireland who was isolated but within three minutes Glenavy had snatched an equaliser when an aerial tussle saw the ball drop to the edge of the box and their midfielder drilled low into the bottom corner.

On 70 minutes, the best chance to regain the lead fell to Ireland but the pull-back to the six yard line from Dean Gordon slowed up just enough for a defender to deny a tap-in.

Glenavy made two attacking substitutions and that move proved to be fruitful for the Co Antrim side. They launched a long ball with eight minutes to go that was laid off by their striker and one of the midfielders curled into the top corner to snatch a win.

Next up for the Swifts is an away fixture against Markethill Reserves with the first-team travelling to Lisanally Rangers on Saturday. The Reserves have a home tie at Cheney Park on Friday evening in the quarter-final of the Wilmor Johnston Cup with the winners setting up a semi-final date with Valley Rangers.