BANBRIDGE Town’s recent winning spell came to an abrupt end on a bumpy pitch at Ballymoney on Saturday last against fourth placed Glebe Rangers who trounced a thoroughly disappointing and shell shocked Town side.
The game was effectively over after only 27 minutes when Banbridge found themselves 3-0 down as a result of some inept defending.
It was ironic as Town started brightly and Timmy Grant had a first minute effort go just wide. However one minute later and in the homesters first attack left winger, Ian Parkhill, raced onto a ball over the Town’s square back line leaving Neil Alderdice in his wake and giving Stephen Croft no chance to put Glebe 1-0 ahead.
Even at this early stage Town were not competing and found themselves in more trouble after 14 minutes when Tommy Elder was too pacy for the struggling rearguard to put the homesters into a 2-0 lead.
It was the stuff of nightmares for Banbridge with the full backs in particular having a torrid time. The midfield struggled to assert any authority with last week’s man-of-the-match strangely ineffective.
The onslaught from Glebe continued and it was no surprise to see them increase their lead after 27 minutes. A free kick over the top of Town’s defence was weakly headed clear by Thompson and centre half McCart scored after Town ‘keeper Croft had bravely saved the initial drive. Banbridge finally threatened one minute later but home ‘keeper Kane saved Stuart Thompson’s header from a Mattie McCartan delivery.
Glenn Waddell then replaced Paul Walsh after 33 minutes and his first contribution was a crunching tackle on Glebe’s dangerous right winger.
Town’s play improved considerably and they pressurised the home side with constant attacks one of which produced a Chris Kingsberry goal after a surging Glenn Waddell run on 36 minutes.
At 3-1 Town’s confidence grew for the first time although Croft was forced to make a good stop at the feet of Kennoway in a quick counter attack.
However any new found optimism was soon dispelled when Town found themselves reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Glenn Waddell who was only on the pitch less than ten minutes. Another ball over Town’s square defence left Waddell as the last man and when he fouled thevonrushing Glebe Rangers forward the referee was left with no option but to red card the Banbridge left back.
Town’s Thompson and McGrath went into the referee’s book as the visitors seemed to lose their discipline just before the interval.
With little option but to go three at the back Town forced the pace in the early stages of the second half but were rocked when Parkhill notched his sides fourth goal with a snap shot which perhaps Croft could have done better.
A double substitution saw Neil King and Willie Herron replace Stephen Greene and Mattie McCartan. Chris McGrath fired over the bar after good work from Stevie McArdle and Timmy Grant and the latter had a shot saved by Kane at the base of the post as ten man Town fought hard.
They did get a deserved goal in the 62nd minute through Grant who finished well after being put through by McArdle. Town continued to push forward but there is always a danger when you do that with ten men that you will get caught out at the back and that is exactly what happened.
Midfielder McLaughlin made it 5-2 after 80 minutes and the rot was completed in the 90th minute when the referee gave a harsh penalty decision against Stuart Thompson for alleged handball. Croft brilliantly saved Kane’s spot kick but was amazed when the referee awarded a second penalty after he alleged that the Town ‘keeper had fouled Kane as he tried to block the rebound. Elder then stepped up to blast to the Town net and bring an end to the scoring.
Worse was to follow for Town in the 93rd minute with Thompson’s dismissal for a second yellow card leaving Banbridge to finish with nine men.
TEAM: Stephen Croft, Stuart Thompson, Paul Walsh, Neil Alderdice, Stephen Greene, Barry Tumilty, Mattie McCartan, Chris McGrath, Timmy Grant, Chris Kingsberry, Stevie McArdle. Subs: Glenn Waddell (for Walsh 33 mins.), Willie Herron (for McCartan 45 mins.), Neil King (for Greene 45 mins.), Conor Downey, Adam Pedlow.
Supporters are asked to ring the Club (Tel: 40622081) re. next Saturday’s (February 9) fixture. The situation is this: If Larne defeat Lurgan Celtic in their Irish Cup replay on Monday night then the Lurgan men will travel to Crystal Park on Saturday for a league fixture (kick-off 3pm). However if Lurgan Celtic defeat Larne then Town wiil have a free Saturday as they will have an Irish Cup match on Feb. 9th.
However what is certain is that on Saturday 16th Feb. Town will be at Crystal Park to face Dundonald in the Fifth Round of the Intermediate Cup (kick-off 1.30pm). This will be a tough encounter as Dundonald defeated Glebe Rangers in a previous round.