Banbridge Town were unable to maintain their intensity of recent weeks and suffered their first defeat of 2017 on Saturday afternoon.
It came at the hands of Dundela, who earned a 3-1 win at crystal Park in a game overshadowed by an injury that saw Town keeper Tuda Murphy stretchered off.
Town made one change from the win over Donegal Celtic as midfielder Matthew McCartan came in to replace of Ross Black, who has returned to Rathfriland Rangers.
Both teams started well but it was the visitors who had the first glimmer of an opportunity when in the 10th minute McClelland was put through but the attentions of Devlin enabled Murphy to make a good save.
Banbridge responded when they were awarded a free-kick and Thompson found Clydesdale but visiting keeper Seargant was equal to the task. Dundela came back and after good work down Town’s left, Burrows headed just wide from the resultant cross.
In the 37th minute, Dundela came close again when McClelland knocked the ball past Murphy towards an empty net but Acheson was able to scamper back to clear.
With four minutes of the half remaining, Dundela took the lead. Devlin and Jackson challenged for the ball and as Devlin slipped, Jackson was given time to curl an excellent effort high into the far corner, giving Murphy no chance.
As expected, Banbridge came out for the second period with more purpose and were level within four minutes of the restart. Downey chased a pass into Dundela’s box and as the defender slipped he appeared to handle the ball. Referee, Mr Smyth, awarded the penalty and Moffatt completed the process to restore parity.
Town then had a period of superiority and for a while gained a degree of control without ever threatening to dominate totally.
The complex of the game changed radically in the 67th minute when Murphy had to be stretchered off after a collision with a Town player. During the course of the incident, the ball was knocked from Murphy’s arms and Ferguson was on hand to give the visitors a controversial lead.
Murphy was replaced in goal by Thompson and McCavitt came on as a substitute. Banbridge responded well and forced corners and set-pieces from free-kicks and were denied an appeal for a second penalty.
Town had a glorious chance to equalise in the 78th minute when the ball fell to Downey in the box only for the striker to blast the chance over the bar.
Minutes later, Dundela increased their advantage when, from a corner, Lewis Roy was left unmarked and headed home. Town replaced Devlin and Downey with Pedlow and Andrew Wilson in an effort to offer more attacking solutions but Dundela held on for a deserved three points.
TOWN: Murphy (McCavitt 67); James Wilson; Acheson; Thompson; Devlin (Pedlow 80); McCartan; McCreanor; Thompson; Moffatt; Clydesdale; Downey (Andrew Wilson 72). Unused Subs: Dillon; Taggart
Next week, Town visit Queens University at the DUB and the kick-off for this match is 2pm