Banbridge Town lost out 4-2 at Lakeview Park in Loughgall on Tuesday evening in the Mid-Ulster Cup Round One.
Manager Ryan Watson made two changes from Saturday’s starting line-up, Stephen Croft regained his position in goal in place of the injured Tuda Murphy and Kevin Anderson replaced Glen Waddell in the centre of defence.
Town started brightly and were on the attack from the kick-off. A throw-in on the right to Kingsberry saw the speedy winger beat two defenders and his low shot from the edge of the area found the back of the net. Two minutes gone and Town were in front.
Boosted by the early goal, Town were playing with a lot of confidence, their passing and movement giving the home side lots of problems as Downey, Moffatt, Kingsberry and McGrath all had shots on target.
Loughgall were not out of it and launched a number of attacks but Croft in the Town goal was outstanding, making a number of excellent saves.
On 30 minutes, it was 2-0 to the Town. A Croft kick out was flicked on by Buchanan and Moffatt’s pace beat the offside trap, picking up the loose ball and driving forward before unleashing a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Loughgall attacked in numbers with Rea and Taveres prominent on both wings and tall striker Ryan a handful for Town’s defence. A controversial free kick inside Town’s area with five minutes of the half left was well defended.
However, with seconds remaining another Loughgall attack saw the pacy right back Taveres cut inside and unleash a shot in to the far corner for 2-1.
Town started the second half on the attack and Downey had two chances in quick succession. The game was finely balanced as both teams pushed forward at every opportunity.
On 60 minutes David Gray replaced the tiring Kingsberry. A qickly taken Loughgall short corner was played into the centre of the where the onrushing Henderson drove a low shot which beat the defence and the keeper to level the scores.
Town weren’t finished and a neat move involving Gray, Downey and Gourley saw the latter’s shot flash just past the post.
After 75 minutes, the game turned in Loughgall’s favour when a speculative volley from the halfway line by Daniel Ryan somehow found the back of the net.
Ryan Watson replaced midfielder Buchanan with striker Barr as Town attacked in numbers as they chased an equaliser but this left them open to counter attack. With 10 minutes left a ball out of defence was picked up on the right by Loughgall’s Ryan and as he raced forward the referee adjudged Thompson’s tackle a foul and awarded a penalty which Loughgall captain Boyle placed in the bottom corner giving Croft no chance.
Adam Pedlow replaced Ryan Gourley for the last 10 minutes, his first appearance at this level for more than 12 months. The game ended 4-2 to the home team, a score which doesn’t truly reflect Town’s performance.
TOWN: Croft, Ferguson, Thompson, Greene, Anderson, Buchanan (Barr 75), Gourley (Pedlow 85), McGrath, Downey, Kingsberry (Gray 60), Moffatt. Unused sub: Hayes
On Saturday Town travel to Holm Park, Armagh for the Bob Radcliffe Cup quarter final against Armagh City. Kick-off is 3.00pm.