In front of their biggest crowd of the season, ten man Banbridge Town came back from 1-0 down to claim a 2-1 win over Newry City.
It took a moment of individual brilliance from Kevin Anderson and a Ryan Moffatt corner to earn a victory that sent Town two points ahead of Tobermore into second.
Following last week’s defeat to Newington, manager Stuart King brought himself into the side for McCreanor, although he was to be shown a straight red shortly before Newry took the lead. Conor Downey also came in, replacing Andrew Wilson.
Down Newry’s left, Mark Hughes and Jordan King were causing early problems for Town but the hosts soon created their first chance. Full back Danny Devlin rampaged forward and fashioned a shooting chance for himself which was scrambled away by Newry’s keeper, Peter Murphy.
Newry created the first real chance of the second period when after only two minutes McMullen’s pass found Hughes in space but, to the disappointment of the Newry bench, the winger crashed his shot over the bar. That was McMullen’s last contribution as he was replaced by Mark McCabe on the hour.
And that proved to be a significant change as, within two minutes, Stuart King was shown a straight red card by Mr Banks for an x-rated challenge on Newry’s substitute.
Worse was to follow for Town, when, in the 64th minute, the effervescent Walker created space in the box and although his shot was well saved by Murphy, substitute McCabe was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Town were stunned by this set-back, but instead of licking their wounds, they responded well and equalised within a few minutes with a memorable goal.
Full back Devlin surged forward and his cross from the left wing was partially headed clear. Without breaking stride, Kevin Anderson hit a volley from 20 yards akin to an exocet missile, and the ball hit the back of the net before visiting keeper Peter Murphy could move.
Town immediately substituted Clydesdale for McCreanor in an effort to maintain midfield parity, but better was to follow. With 12 minutes left, Conor Downey, urged on by the supporters, drove into Newry’s area.
Despite being outnumbered by four to one, Downey forced a corner. Moffatt’s kick looked regulation as Peter Murphy rose above everyone to punch clear but Mr Banks had spotted a holding infringement by a Newry defender and had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.
Moffatt stepped up and the silence was broken by the roar of Town’s supporters as the spot kick nestled in the corner.
Town held out and their exultant players left the field not only with their adopted Thin Lizzy anthem bellowing from the PA but also the sound of rapturous applause to the rafters from their devoted supporters.
TOWN: Murphy; James Wilson; Acheson; Green; Devlin; Anderson (Andrew Wilson 83); McCartan; King; Moffatt; Clydesdale (McCreanor 68); Downey (McCavitt 77)
Unused Subs: Thompson; Pedlow.