‘It was hard to bite your tongue’ says Town skipper

Ryan Moffatt and his team-mates had a tough afternoon against Newington. INBL1608-228EB
Ryan Moffatt and his team-mates had a tough afternoon against Newington. INBL1608-228EB

Banbridge Town skipper Ryan Moffatt said it was ‘hard to bite your tongue’ during Town’s defeat on Saturday.

Newington arrived at Crystal Park and quickly upset the home players and supporters with heavy-handed tactics that the hosts felt were over the top.

“It was a bit feisty to say the least,” said the captain.

“They were a typical Belfast team, coming down to kick us off the park and in the first half, it worked for them.

“They really didn’t want to play at all. In the first half we really struggled as they were starting to get a bit personal and it was hard to bit your tongue.”

Tensions were high after midfielder Kevin Anderson had to withdrawn after suffering an elbow to the face.

But the skipper was full of praise for manager Ryan Watson, who refocused his troops during the half-time interval.“Ryan did well to get us calmed down at half-time,” said the former Loughgall man.

“He got us in and got us all to sit for a minute or two to collect our thoughts and get ready to go again.

“When we came in originally, we were bursting to get straight back out but we needed to compose ourselves.

“We managed to settle and played a bit of football in the second half.

“In the end, we were disappointed not to be able to get a winner. After the break, they didn’t get near us.”

Moffatt was also disappointed at the lack of protection offered to his team by the relatively inexperienced referee Damian Maguire.

“I think the game was too big for him,” he said. “He was very young. Their right-back hit Ryan Gourley with a tackle that would have been worth three red cards but he only game a yellow.”

Newington did eventually see a man sent off, but that decision caused confusion after the red card had mistakenly been shown to his opposite number, Banbridge right-back James Wilson.

Moffatt explained: “The linesman was only about 17 but he got it right. He said number two green but somehow the referee picked up number two for us and went over to James (Wilson).

“He had been nowhere near the whole thing.

“I’ve been speaking to a few referees before who have told me they send any up and coming referee down to Banbridge but they didn’t take into account the fact we were playing Newington.”

Moffatt also took the opportunity to stress the significance of the team spirit that exists in abundance in the Crystal Park changing room:

“It’s probably the most unified dressing room I’ve ever played in. Everybody gets on very well and everybody really cares about Banbridge Town.

“Everyone is champing at the bit in training and we all know that if we have a bad game, we could lose our spot in the team.

“Confidence is a big thing as well and it’s oozing out of us at the minute.”