IN football they say it’s a good team that can win without playing particularly well.
That certainly was the case for Banbridge Town when they travelled up the M1 to Belfast to take on PSNI last Saturday.
Brian Adair made a number of changes to his lineout from the previous game at Brantwood and introduced another three new signings - Adam Pedlow (signed from Loughgall), Kevin Henry (ex. Loughgall/Rathfriland Rangers) and Glen Waddell (ex. Loughgall/Rathfriland Rangers) who doubles as a Player/Assistant Manager.
With Stephen O’Neill starting up front alongside Timmy Grant, Chris Kingsberry started on the bench.
Only three points separated the sides in the League and after their clash at Crystal Park earlier in the season Town were assured that this would be a tough encounter.
Buoyed by their loyal travelling support and coming off the back of last week’s Intermediate Cup victory, Banbridge started the brighter and after eight minutes Timmy Grant found the side netting with a low drive.
Town kept up the pressure and were rewarded after 17 minutes when Grant was on hand to slot home the opening goal which came after a Stuart Thompson 35 yard free kick ricocheted off the wall and broke fortuitously to the industrious striker.
However, Town seemed to lose their spark after this and PSNI forced the visitors to play a long game which is completely alien to their style.
The police can feel aggrieved to have been 1-0 down at the interval after going close on three occasions.
Stevie McArdle was forced to retire after 50 minutes with a knock - Chris Kingsberry replacing him.
However it was now PSNI who were in the ascendency and they pinned Town back in search of the equaliser. This duly came in the 65th minute when Arthurs crashed home after some frantic Banbridge defending.
Town finally got their act together and felt aggrieved on two occasions when penalty calls went unheeded by the referee.
PSNI got similar treatment from the referee soon after with what they saw as a penalty call as well!
Still Town sensed they could secure victory as they enjoyed the better chances with Pedlow, Grant and a fantastic effort from another debutant - Willie Herron (ex. Loughgall/Rathfriland Rangers) - all coming close. The latter had replaced the injured Kevin Henry after 75 minutes.
It was delight for Banbridge in the 87th minute when Adam Pedlow got his foot to a superlative Timmy Grant left wing cross and steered his shot into the net to grab a terrific 2-1 win and another welcome three points for Town.
Brian Adair will be pleased with the result but knows there is still a lot of work to be done but it is without doubt a work in progress!
Timmy Grant was man-of -the-match and Kevin Henry impressed (until his injury).
This Saturday (January 19) Town are again on their travels with a League visit to Allen Park, Antrim to play Chimney Corner (Kick-Off 2pm).
TEAM: Stephen Croft, Glen Waddell, Paul Walsh, Stuart Thompson, Neil Alderdice, Kevin Henry, Stevie McArdle, Chris McGrath, Stephen O’Neill, Timmy Grant, Adam Pedlow.Subs: Chris Kingsberry (for McArdle 50 mins.), Willie Herron (for Henry 75mins), Conor Downey (for O’Neill 79 mins).