Banbridge Rangers’ start to the new year was a fruitless one when they were beaten 3-1 by St Mary’s last Friday night.
It was very much a game of two halves with the timing of the opening goal being key just before the half time whistle.
The opening half an hour saw some direct football by the away the away side and several good chances thwarted by the St Marys keeper who pulled off several good saves.
A shot on the turn in the ninth minute by striker Colin Cunningham forced the keeper into his first save and in the 17th minute he pulled off an even better one to deny full back Colin Cousins who struck a thunderous volley towards the top corner but was denied by a fingertip save.
Within two minutes Rangers had struck the crossbar through Dean Gordon when he was played in on goal by strike partner Cunningham.
St Marys looked dangerous on the counter with Ruairi Feeney constantly testing the offside trap without much success.
Andy Mallen had a shot from distance sail over the bar after nobody closed him down in the 24th minute and three minutes later the same player worked his way to the byline and pulled back but a drilled shot from 10 yards was blocked on the line by a combination of the St Marys keeper and his defender.
Ivon Blevins was called into action five minutes before the break to save a three on one which developed from a swift counter attack for St Marys who had looked second best to everything in the first half.
But as fate would have it the home side opened the scoring second before the half time whistl, when a throw in was headed into the far bottom corner.
The timing of the goal gave the home team a confidence boost and they came out looking like a different side in the second half restricting the ‘Gers from playing flowing football and causing the backline more than a few problems.
The game looked to be heading to a solitary goal win as neither side created a clear cut chance until the 80th minute when Rangers equalised unexpectedly through Stephen Teggart.
The young midfielder arrived into the box at the right moment to pick up a loose clearance and found the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
After the goal Banbridge Rangers went for the win but pushing forward left them exposed at the back and a break away down the left hand side was squared for Feeney who restored the advantage within three minutes.
The closest the ‘Gers came to a second equaliser was through Chris Chambers who was well placed in the final minute but sidefooted his shot over. Deep in stoppage time St Marys added a third goal to reverse the scoreline inflicted by the ‘Gers last year.
The next game for e Rangers is a home fixture at Cheney Park against high flying Valley Rangers (kick off 2pm).