Mallen is the hero in cup shoot-out victory for Banbridge Rangers

Andy Mallen tucked away the winning penalty for Rangers on Saturday. INBL1505-254PB
Andy Mallen tucked away the winning penalty for Rangers on Saturday. INBL1505-254PB

Banbridge Rangers got back to winning ways with a superb Marshall Cup victory over Windmill Stars in Armagh.

A very competitive match could only be decided by a penalty shootout and thankfully the Rangers players held their nerve at Holm Park.

Chris Chambers in action for Rangers. INBL1607-242PB

Chris Chambers in action for Rangers. INBL1607-242PB

The away side had a disastrous opening 15 minutes with Windmill opening the scoring in the third minute through Conor Shields.

A clearance from a corner saw the ball travel 60 yards into the path of the Stars left winger and he slotted into the bottom corner.

In the 12th minute midfielder Scott Ward fell awkwardly after a blocked shot and had to be substituted with a sore back and was eventually taken to hospital by ambulance as the pain intensified.

As the game progressed Rangers were taking control and by the 19th minute they were level through Neil Clydesdale who drilled low into the corner after a cross was only partially cleared.

The first half was dominated by Rangers who went close through Colin Cunningham twice, but he was denied by keeper Paddy Hearty.

Shots from Teggart and Brady were well saved but not taking chances came back to bite the ‘Gers when a Caolan Gray shot for Windmill Stars took a wicked deflection past William Maxwell who was making his debut in nets after his switch from Warrenpoint Town.

The equaliser for Banbridge Rangers arrived in the 57th minute when Jeff Brady threaded a ball into Colin Cunningham who controlled, turned and executed his shot with precision from the edge of the box.

Shots from outside the area was theme for the remainder of the ninety minutes, but as extra time approached there was a flurry of chances with Neil Clydesdale finding the back of the net with a left foot curler but referee Eamonn Shanks disallowed the goal for offside.

In extra time Rangers’ best chance came from Johnny O’Neill but his shot from a deep corner was deflected over. Again the clear chances came in the final seconds as Gray was denied by a goalline clearance by William Frazer and from the resultant counter attack Cunningham fizzed a shot just inches past the post before the game went to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.

The first four penalties were all scored with ease, but both teams third penalty was saved by the keepers. Teggart held his nerve after Windmill scored, then in the final round of penalties Windmill struck the bar and watched in vain as Andy Mallen confidently beat the keeper with a penalty into the left top corner.

A superb game of football from both teams played in the right spirit with Banbridge Rangers waiting to find out who their Quarter Final opponent will be, with both Crewe and Broomhill still in the mix.

There are no club fixtures this coming Saturday as two buses will be taking club members to see Glasgow Rangers take on St Mirren at Ibrox.

BRFC Team: William Maxwell, Jonny O’Neill, Kyle Sergeant, Christopher Chambers, William Frazer (Andy Mallen ‘110), Colin Cousins (c), Scott Ward (Jonny Porter ‘12) , Stephen Teggart, Jeff Brady (Matthew McCrum ‘74), Neil Clydesdale & Colin Cunningham.