BANBRIDGE Rangers Reserves travelled to Warrenpoint on Saturday with an under strength squad and came up against a very strong Point team whose first team game was called off due to having representatives at the Regions Cup.
Despite the Gers having a makeshift team they held out a team with several players aiming for the Danske Bank Premiership until half time and even took a surprise lead after the break.
In the first half Banbridge Rangers Reserves rode their luck at times as Warrenpoint peppered them with shots from the start. Wayne Nelson marshaled an entirely new back four and had an inspired goalkeeping display from Davy Humphries behind him to keep the Point at bay.
On three occasions Humphries pulled off saves that would easily win save of the year as he clawed three shots over the bar and around the post with an amazing spring in his step. The remarkable thing is that the keeper hasn’t played a competitive game in almost a year after back problems and glandular fever kept him out until called upon on Saturday.
With the Point pressing so high it left weaknesses on the counter attack and Aaron Chambers misfired when Nelson sent him through with a pinpoint pass over the last defender. Andy Mallen continued to be a thorn in their side with good link up play but saw two snap shots go wide off the net when well placed.
After the break Warrenpoint pressed from the off but a ball into the box from left winger Peter Ogunbanwo saw Brian Chievers nip between the two defenders and read the bounce of the ball to lift it skillfully over the keeper and into the back off the net.
The goal spurred the Point on and made Rangers get complacent in the play with a tendency to over play the ball leading to Warrenpoint’s equaliser on 54 minutes and for their second goal which followed only three minutes later.
Warrenpoint continued to press for a third goal but Humphries saved three one on ones and showed tremendous reflexes to tip a shot from Mooney over the bar that looked destined for the very top corner.
The third goal did arrive with just over 20 minutes to go when Sean McMullan side footed in his second goal of the afternoon after a rash challenge by Ryan Burns on the Point’s Keith Johnston.
Rangers had several good chances to bring the game back to 3-2 with Chievers and Mallen linking well but the flurries forward left them exposed at the back and Warrenpoint sealed the points with a fourth goal on 81 minutes.
This was a spirited display against a very confident Warrenpoint side and Rangers will be looking to jump into fifth place from ninth on Saturday when they host Coagh United Reserves at the Tech and will be confident after putting four past Coagh on their travels earlier in the season.