Banbridge continued their fine form last weekend by trimphing 7-0 in Dublin over a depleted UCD squad.
The Dublin men got off to good start knowing they face a tough challenge. Bann managed to hold off UCD’s firery start with a goal early on from in-form Neil Gilmore after great linking play in the circle with his Portadown team-mate Jamie Wright and Hugh McShane.
Bann continued to put pressure on the Dublin side with a shot wide two minutes later. The northern men were keeping possession well not letting UCD have much chance to create anything.
As Bann’s pressure continued, they were unlucky not to get another early goal as a pass across the face of goal from Matthew Bell failed to find a Bann player. Another chance from Bruce McCandless soon followed as he flashed a shot just wide of the UCD goal.
With the score still at just 1-0, UCD weren’t down and out yet. A pacey run from Kirk Shimmins and seemingly harmless tackle from Peter Brown gave UCD their first corner of the game with 17 minutes gone. Bann stopper Gareth Lennox saved the resulting shot well to Banbridge’s relief.
Within two minutes of the second quarter getting underway Bann won their first short corner which was well saved and cleared. The resulting clearance created a quick counter-attack for the Dublin men nearly catching Bann out but they defended well. Bann then created a counter-attack for themselves with Gilmore winning Bann their second corner.
Kyle Marshall finished the short corner through a second phase shot at the back post giving Bann their second goal of the day.
That put daylight between the teams but UCD had some fight left and created a chance against the flow of play with a threatening pass into Bann circle which goes untouched easing Bann nerves.
At the start of the second half, Bann continued to dominate and Gilmore bagged their third goal with a great first time reverse finish. Soon after, Gilmore turned provider, finding Jamie Wright inside the circle where he netted to make it 4-0.
After the UCD keeper saved a Matthew Bell flick from a short corner and McKee’s dazzling run ended with a near miss, Bann got their fifth. This time it was Stevie Dowds who slotted home a corner to continue his goal-scoring form.
A double effort from Ward at the end of the quarter forced two good saves from the keeper, who was at least keeping the score down a bit for the hosts.
There was little he could do when a good ball across the keeper from Hugh McShane found Ward at the back post, where he slotted easily home. As the game opened up, Phillip Brown found himself in the circle one on one with the keeper and did well to take it round him but unfortunately for Bann, hit the post.
Bann didn’t let up and continued to pile on the pressure with a three on one created by Stevie Dowds but he took it on himself instead of finding the other two at back post. He made amends by completing the scoring, converting after a good Bann move.
It was a comfortable victory in the end in a game in which Bann could and perhaps should have bagged more goals than they did.