BANBRIDGE Rangers Swifts travelled to Aghalee Playing Fields on Saturday to take on Broomhedge Reserves in the return league fixture only two weeks after the Gers third string had put seven past the Lisburn outfit without reply.
This was a much changed Broomhedge side from the previous game as their first team were called off well in advance of this fixture and they strengthened accordingly.
It took a while for the pitch to be declared playable as it was covered with large patches of lying water but the referee allowed to game to proceed after the brushes and forks removed some of the excess water. In the opening 15 minutes neither side had any fluency as they tried to get to grips with the surface which was sticky in patches but hard in others.
The surface played a major part in the opening goal when a kick out from keeper Jonny Parkes bounced high over the last defender and allowed John McCahon to go clear on the goalkeeper who pulled off two good stops before McCahon sealed the goal at the third attempt.
On 25 minutes Rangers doubled their advantage when Davy Rogers released McCahon through on goal and he obliged at the first time of asking to make it 2-0 to Banbridge Rangers.
With eight minutes remaining off the half a miscommunication between centre half and keeper allowed the Broomhedge striker to latch onto the ball and tap in unopposed to make it 2-1 going into half time.
After the break Broomhedge should have drew level when their winger fired over the bar from close range after being picked out by a cross field ball.
This acted as a wake up call to the promotion chasing Gers and they extended their lead to 3-1 soon after when Chrissy McGladdery cracked an effort off the post and Dean Gordon was quickest to react and slotted home the rebound.
Just after the hour mark Banbridge Rangers took control of the game by making it 4-1 when a mistake by the Broomhedge centre half allowed McGladdery to net. The defender had attempted to prevent a corner by attempting to drill the ball off McCahons legs at the byline but the striker jumped out off the way and the ball fell for McGladdery who curled into the far corner from the edge of the box.
With 20 minutes remaining the Swifts extended their lead by notching the fifth goal which was scored by Dean Gordon who curled around the keeper after being released past the last defender by McCahon. After several changes to personnel the game slowed down somewhat and Broomhedge were able to exert some pressure which paid off as they grabbed a second consolation goal in the dying minutes.
This Saturday the Swifts have a free week but will remain in second place as Lurgan Town Reserves have no scheduled fixture but sit two points off the Gers with a game in hand.