Banbridge Rangers moved into the top four in Intermediate A with a hard earned win over St Marys at Cheney Park on Friday evening.
Despite the blustery, arctic conditions, there was a good turnout of supporters who weren’t exactly treated to a footballing spectacle in the first half as the wind caused havoc and resulted in few chances.
After the break though, the home side looked more composed on the ball and started to put the Saints under pressure by keeping it on the deck.
On 51 minutes, the opening goal arrived when, from a corner, striker Jerry Philip deflected home from two yards to keep up an incredible record of scoring in every league game in which he has played since signing for Rangers at the start of October.
The big St Lucian forward was proving a handful for the St Marys defence and should have made it 2-0 as he nipped in between defender and keeper to steal the ball at the edge of the box but sliced his shot wide when off balance.
Within 90 seconds, Philip had another good chance to double the advantage when he controlled a cross on the chest before committing keeper Savage to the ground with a shimmy but then dragged his half volley inches wide.
As the game moved into the final ten minutes, Philip had a fourth clear chance at goal when substitute Stuart Cairns flicked on a header but the resultant shot went flying past the top corner.
With five minutes to go, the spurned opportunities could have come back to haunt Rangers when St Marys midfielder caught a clearance on the half volley from 30 yards and his driven shot looked destined for the top corner but Chrissy Davison pulled a save out of the very top drawer to keep his side ahead and secure a second consecutive clean sheet.
In the final minute, the win was secured. A long throw from Coly Cousins saw Jonny O’Neill power a header goalwards from 15 yards as it bounced in off the bar.
The Gers have only dropped two points out of the last 15 with that draw coming against Lower Maze, who happen to be Saturday’s opponents. Kick-off at The Mills in Lisburn is at 2pm.
RANGERS: Davison, Sergeant, Gregg, Chambers, Frazer, Cousins (c), Beattie (Mallen 76), O’Neill, Gordon (Cairns 70), Mallen, Philip.