Banbridge HC Fourths, sponsored by Edina, drew 3-3 with Inst Fourths at Shaw’s Bridge on Friday evening at 8.15pm.
Thankfully the worst of the rain had passed but it was still a very cold and windy evening.
Bann started the match with Adam Crawford in nets and back four of Morrison, Gibson, Allister and Doran.
The midfield was Reid, Martin, Roleston and Calvin, with Dean and Young upfront.
The fourths started the game strongly and were the better side in the first 20 minutes of the first half, early balls to the strike partnership of Dean and Young were causing the Inst defence problems.
From one of these breaks Bann took the lead through a clinical Matthew Young finish. The Inst defence were starting to put in some firm challenges and from one of these Gary Dean had to come off having picked up a serious knock. Corey Large was on hand to come on and help out upfront.
Inst started to get more possession and their number 8 centre forward was constantly trying to cause Bann problems but Nigel Allister, Callum Gibson and Sean Doran were holding firm.
Any of the attacks that got past the defence found Adam Crawford in great form in nets and he saved numerous shots to keep it level at half time.
The second half started with Inst the stronger team and at times the Bann defence were being run ragged, but great play by the back four and in particular the man of the match Adam Crawford saw Bann hold out for some time.
Inst did win a series of short corners and a switch left at the top of the circle and straight strike saw Roger Martin taking the goal bound shot off the line.
With ten minutes to go, the home side took the lead. Bann in previous matches would have stopped chasing the game, but not this time, a great counter attack saw the ball moved swiftly from Gibson, through the midfield of Joel Reid and Daniel Calvin to find Gary Dean in the left channel.
Gary took on the Inst defence and was forced wide left in the circle having left the defenders and goalie in his wake.
He took the ball to the by-line pulled it back and somehow managed to squeeze it home from the tightest of angles. What a goal to brings the sides level.
This lifted the Bann side again and when Luke Rolston scored what seemed likely to be the winner with only minutes to go, the fourths thought they may claim the three points.
But Luke who worked tirelessly all night made one too many tackles and was shown a card with only seconds to go, meaning Bann were down to 10 players.
The Inst umpire then played four minutes extra time to make up for the continual Bann infringements.
Inst managed to get an equaliser and a few seconds later the final whistle was blown. Thanks must go to the Inst club for providing two umpires. It was a good hockey match played in the correct spirit of the game.
The fourths need to take heart from this performance and look for that elusive first victory with home games v Mossley and away to Queens.