Banbridge Head Coach Mark Tumilty was full of praise for his young side after they earned a 1-1 draw with Monkstown.
After falling behind in the first quarter, Fraser Mills struck to earn a valuable point in a game that could have gone either way.
“We played very well,” said Tumilty. “It was an excellent game of hockey. played at a really high tempo.
“I thought we shaded it, to be honest. We had four corners but our corners aren’t great at the minute. It’s disappointing but it’s not anybody’s fault.
“Nothing’s falling for us. In the third quarter on Saturday, Bruce hit the crossbar from six yards out. I thought it was in. Everybody did.”
Tumilty was also delighted that their hard work in training had begun to bear fruit on the pitch.
He said: “We had made some errors over the last few weeks but we identified the areas in which we needed to improve and we’ve managed to fix those.
“Neil Gilmore didn’t get a whole lot of game time but he influenced the game to create the goal,” Mark said. “Matthew Bell was good, Brad (Logan) was impressive and so was Drew (Carlisle). Gareth Lennox made a world class save from a one-on-one as well.
“Overall, I was pleased. We managed the game well, got our tactics right and we played well.”
Bann had fallen behind early on as Monkstown’s Johnny Bruton drove briskly left into the D and unleashed a low shot into the bottom right in the 14th minute.
The second quarter saw Banbridge come much more into the game and they found an equalising goal in the 28th minute.
A mistake from Monkstown saw them give the ball away in midfield and Bann took full advantage on the counter attack.
A four on three in Bann’s favour saw Neil Gilmore drive into the D along the left byline and his cross found Mills who finished into the roof of the net from four yards out.
Banbridge had plenty of chances to increase their tally but the Monkstown goalkeeper was in superb form.
A Magee drag from a short corner in the 33rd minute was well saved by Fitzgerald but the rebound fell for Dowds whose flick hit the bar and went over.
Banbridge pushed forward as Monkstown pick up a couple of clumsy greens. They forced a couple more corners but nothing came of them.
Monkstown had chances of their own and in the 44th minute a driving run by Watkins earned a short corner and when Sykes’ drag rebounded to Geoff Cole, he struck hard and low only to see Banbridge goalkeeper Lennox makes an excellent right foot save.
Monkstown finished strongly in the fourth quarter and either team could have edged ahead to grab the win.
Both sides picked up a yellow for over zealous tackles as they sought a winner.
And both created late chances to snatch the points but it wasn’t to be as the game ended a hard-fought draw.