Banbridge Town B U17s lost out 4-2 to Willowbank U17s in a six point match.
Confidence had been high going into the game. Town were fresh off the back of last Monday night’s 6-1 victory away to Valley Rangers, goals coming from an own goal, one for Jordan Walker and two each for Sam McCallister and captain Jake Laffin with Jake Dermott putting in a man of the match performance.
Town started off on the back foot but Ryan Sloane and Ryan Jones were strong in the heart of defence.
Sam McCallister fought hard as the lone man in the Town attack, pressing the Willowbank defence and trying to force an error to capitalise on. With Banbridge failing to settle in the early stages, Willowbank drew first blood on five minutes when a cross from the left was met with a late run by a midfielder to score.
Banbridge failed to regroup and after a neat one-two, their striker found himself one on one to double their lead.
Banbridge managed to craft a great opportunity on the break, Liam Farrell unlucky not to score with their keeper closing him down.
Town had another great opportunity after some two touch play allowed McCallister to link with Laffin who released Jake Dennison down the left, his cross found Farrell who again was denied by the keeper in what was the move of the match so far.
Willowbank thought they had the game killed off before the half when they scored from a corner minutes from the break.
The second half began with a shuffle of the pack from Banbridge and a new lease of life as they searched for a way back into a game that was beginning to slip away.
However, Willowbank caught Town out with an incisive breakaway to made it 4-0.
Banbridge were not down and out, in contrast to the first half they began to dictate the pace of the game. A trait which has become a trademark of the team over the years is that they never know when to give up, and this attitude prevailed again when captain Laffin burst onto a perfect through ball before slotting under the rushing keeper on 18 minutes.
Town thought they had a second goal when McCallister scored from the edge of the area with a looping header, only to see his effort disallowed for offside.
With Town committing more men forward, Willowbank could have extended their lead only for the efforts of keeper Conor Ward who produced two good saves to keep his side in with a shout of a comeback.
Time was not on the side of the Banbridge boys, despite clawing a second goal back seven minutes from the end when Jonny Rodgers scored a real poacher’s effort.
Despite the second half resurgence, the damage was already done, condemning the Town to defeat.
This week’s MOTM was Ryan Jones for a composed and relentless defensive performance.