Banbridge Town’s league visit to Portstewart on Saturday last was abandoned after 52 minutes which was completely understandable given the horrendous conditions confronting the players.
Referee Ken Gibbons (Carrickfergus) quite rightly brought things to a halt after indicating sometime prior to this that playing conditions were deteriorating and becoming dangerous for all concerned.
The pitch was deemed playable at kick-off but the high winds and continuous driving rain quickly churned up the surface with players slipping and sliding everywhere and impossible to play football on.
Indeed the Official made the only decision available to him. Mattie McCartan had sustained a facial injury as early as the third minute and while the Town Captain was receiving attention Ryan Doherty put the home side ahead.
With Ryan Gourley, Michael Ferguson and Mark Teggart unavailable David Gray and Conor Downey returned to the starting eleven. Despite the conditions Ryan Evans supplied a series of inviting crosses with Gray going close to equalising from one of these after 19 minutes.
A heavy tackle on Evans on 35 minutes resulted in the winger having to retire with Adam Dennison replacing him.
The horrible underfoot conditions were definitely not suited to Town’s attractive ground football and they were decidedly unlucky to fall further behind after 41 minutes.
Visibility was now bad with the Referee failing to notice his linesman with his flag raised for offside. Portstewart forced a corner as a result of this and despite Stephen Greene hooking clear the home sides’s Richard Vauls chipped over Stephen Croft and into the far corner much to his surprise and delight.
Although the Referee commenced the second half it was no surprise when he called things to a halt after only seven minutes much to everyone’s relief.
In the circumstances Banbridge Town will not complain as they were 2-0 behind and it is doubtful if they could have got anything out of the game.
This game will now be re-arranged at a later date and will give Town a second chance to claim some points which could well be vital.
The abandonment may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Team: Stephen Croft, James Wilson, Stephen Greene, Martin Buchanan, Glen Waddell, Stephen Jones, Ryan Evans, Mattie McCartan, Ally Wilson, Conor Downey, David Gray, Sub: Adam Dennison (for Evans 35 mins.)
Next Saturday it’s back to Crystal Park when Limavady Utd will be visitors (Kick-Off 3.00 p.m.).
The Roesiders are in a rich veil of form at present and are chasing Lurgan Celtic for the League Title.
Having come down from Championship One they are determined to return back quickly so this will be a big task for Banbridge Town but Ryan Watson’s men have proved in the past that on their day they are a match for anyone. Let’s hope Saturday is one of those days.