PREMIER INTERMEDIATE: Banbridge Town smash Bangor to go third

Neil Clydesdale (left) was on target again for Banbridge Town on Saturday afternoon.  INBL1630-214PB
Neil Clydesdale (left) was on target again for Banbridge Town on Saturday afternoon. INBL1630-214PB

Banbridge Town are up to third in the Premier Intermediate League - just four points off the top.

Leaders Donegal Celtic have played two games more than both Town and second placed Newry City, who are one ahead of Stuart King’s men.

Conor Downey, Neil Clydesdale and Matthew McCartan bagged the goals as they smashed Bangor 3-0 at Crystal Park.

Saturday’s victory was swift revenge as Bangor ousted Town from the Intermediate Cup 2-0 just three weeks previous. Any chance of a repeat result was scuppered by a quality performance in every aspect by the in-form hosts.

Banbridge showed one change from the victory over Queens. Daniel Devlin reclaimed the left back spot with Ross Black moving into midfield to replace the unavailable Kevin Anderson.

However, Black had to be withdrawn with an ankle injury just six minutes in. Despite this setback, Town started brightly.

Visiting keeper Gibbons had to be alert to save at Downey’s feet in the best of their early opportunities.

It wasn’t until the 25th minute that Bangor exerted a degree of pressure as they forced a series of throws and corners down the right but any ball that came into Town’s defensive area were well dealt with by Acheson and Greene. At the other end Town carved out another half chance when Downey headed wide from McCartan’s fine cross.

Eventually, in the 42nd minute, Town took the lead. Bangor conceded a free kick on their right and Downey, timing his run to perfection, glanced King’s accurate cross into the far corner.

Banbridge started the seconded period in the same vein. In the 47th minute, Downey cleverly set up King but his shot was well saved.

Immediately after, Clydesdale had the chance to make it two, seizing on a mistimed Long header before seeing his shot strike the inside of the post, run across the goal-line and wide of the opposite upright.

Banbridge began to totally dominate proceedings and Downey’s pass gave McCartan the chance to shoot. McCreanor also got in on the act but his shot was high and wide.

In the 68th minute, Town doubled their lead. McCartan picked up a loose ball and was clattered as he drove at the visitors’ defence. Clydesdale stepped up and the home supporters erupted as his sumptuous kick found the top corner of Gibbon’s net with the keeper well beaten.

Clydesdale left the field to rapturous applause as he was replaced by Stephen McCavitt and his impact was immediate. The substitute’s pace sent him clear and although his shot was brilliantly cleared off the line, he collected the rebound and cleverly crossed for McCartan to head home at full stretch for his first goal of the season and Town’s third of the day.

Just before the final whistle, the rampaging Devlin lashed a shot against the outside of the post with Gibbons nowhere to be seen.

The Town players left the field to tumultuous applause. They have now taken 13 points from a possible 15.

TOWN: Murphy; J.Wilson; Acheson; Green; Devlin; Black (McCreanor 6); McCartan; King; Moffatt (A Wilson 85); Clydesdale (McCavitt 74); Downey.

Unused Subs: Devlin; Thompson.