Town tame Queen’s free-scoring forwards

Queen University, fresh from a seven goal drubbing of Wakehurst, visited Crystal Park last Tuesday night.

However, they met a Banbridge Town side that has been slowly but surely regaining their confidence and they had to be content with sharing the points against a hard working home side who will count themselves unlucky not to have secured full points after a brilliant goal from Martin Buchanan was ruled out due to a marginal offside decision.

It was Buchanan who epitomised Town’s determination as early as the fourth minute with a great interception in the middle of the park which started a lightning raid that stretched the solid Queen’s rearguard.

Young David Gray and Jordan Hayes were showing well for the ball especially against the experienced Queen’s pair of Daniel Hanna (ex-Knockbreda) and Robbie Budden (ex-Ballyclare Comrades).

The visitors almost stole the lead after 11 minutes when James Lavery got through but Town custodian Stephen Croft came to the rescue.

Two minutes later Banbridge should have gone ahead when Ryan Gourley’s neat cross found Jordan Hayes, whose diving header flew over the crossbar.

It was a good game for the spectators and Queen’s keeper McCrea held a Conor Downey volley on 17 minutes after the midfielder had done well to control a long pass from Mattie McCartan.

Lavery and Beggs fought hard to put pressure on the Banbridge defence but once again they came up against a resolute back-four well marshalled by Glen Waddell.

Conor Downey shaved the upright with a typical trademark free after 28 minutes and five minutes before the break saw one of the best goals at Crystal Park all year. A left wing cross from Downey was met by the head of Martin Buchanan who rose like a stag at the far post and strongly headed into the far corner giving McCrea no chance.

However, to his dismay the linesman flagged and indicated a marginal offside decision.

The contest’s hectic pace continued in the second period and Hayes was not far away with a 48th minute header from a Michael Ferguson cross.

Five minutes later, it took a full length save from Stephen Croft to prevent a Ferrin drive putting Queen’s in front.

Ryan Gourley, who ran himself ragged for 90 minutes, had a shot parried by McCrea and Gray saw a good effort also saved late on. A draw was probably a fair result after a very entertaining encounter and it showed further evidence of Town returning to form.

TOWN: Croft, Wilson, Ferguson, Greene, Waddell, Buchanan, Downey, McCartan, Gourley, Hayes, Gray. Subs: Coleman, Watson (Hayes 77), Jones (Downey 66), Orr.