Banbridge Town claimed their first three point haul of the season as they narrowly defeated promotion hopefuls Tobermore Utd 2-1 at Crystal Park on Saturday.
Player-Manager Stuart King led by example, curling home the opener (perhaps with a touch of fortune) and Conor Downey netted the winner after the visitors hauled themselves level.
Town welcomed back Kevin Anderson and Matthew McCartan into midfield in place of the injured Damian McParland with Andrew Wilson on the bench.
The visitors started quickly and had their first attempt at goal after only two minutes but Winton’s shot screwed harmlessly wide.
Town eased their way into the match but with the defences well on top, the home supporters had to wait until the 25th minute before seeing their team’s first shot on goal when McCartan’s effort was well held by Keane in the visitors’ goal.
Shortly after, Town had a half chance but Acheson headed wide from a good right wing cross.
However, it wasn’t long before the home supporters had something more substantial to cheer about. King released the rampaging Devlin down the left and the full back’s run took him deep into Tobermore’s defensive area. Devlin crossed and Clydesdale’s shot cannoned off Keane’s feet for a corner.
Captain Ryan Moffatt and King worked a short kick and King’s shot-cum-cross evaded everyone and nestled into the far corner of the net to give Town the lead.
Tobermore responded and again the ball fell to Winton on the edge of Town’s area but, as earlier, the ball went wide of Cairnduff’s left post.
Tobermore started the second period well and forced corners in quick succession. From the second, full-back Wilson Tavares arrived unmarked and headed home via the post to bring the scores level after four minutes of the re-start.
Defences had a spell on top and it wasn’t until the 63rd minute that Town came close when Moffatt just failed to reach King’s left wing cross.
Two minutes later, Town regained the lead. Devlin’s pass down the left channel was chased by Conor Downey who won the ball from a defender on the edge of Tobermore’s box.
For some reason, Keane in the visitors’ goal rushed out and Downey curled the ball over him into an empty net.
Tobermore were stunned by this set-back and matters became a little more physical as both Tavares and Kearns received yellow cards for over-exuberant tackles.
The visitors came close to a second equaliser in the 78th minute when King cleared off the line and again a minute later when James Wilson’s last ditch tackle and Cairnduff’s stunning close range save kept them at bay.
Shortly after, Lavery replaced King as Tobermore applied pressure but the home defence, with the A team of Acheson and Anderson giving outstanding performances, held on for a victory that was cheered to the rafters by the delighted home supporters.
TOWN: Cairnduff; J Wilson; Acheson; Thompson; Devlin; Anderson; McCartan; King (Devlin 81); Moffett; Clydesdale; Downey (Greene 90+1)
Subs not used: Pedlow; Gregg; A Wilson