Five star Banbridge make it twelve wins from twelve

Hugh McShane closes down his man as Bann coach Mark Tumilty watches on. INBL1509-251EB
Hugh McShane closes down his man as Bann coach Mark Tumilty watches on. INBL1509-251EB

Banbridge put five past Civil Service at Havelock Park on Saturday as they charged on towards the Ulster Premier League title.

Bann looked to continue their excellent run of form despite the hindrance of poor weather and in the absence of four international players.

From the beginning, Banbridge made their ambitions known, with high pressing all over the pitch.

This was in contrast to NICS, whose game plan involved sitting back all 11 players and trying to catch Banbridge on the break.

The local side struggled to break down this wall of defence but eventually Ross Beattie grabbed the first goal. Dane Ward broke down the left hand side before intelligently playing a crossfield ball to Hugh McShane, who played in the on-rushing Beattie to finish. The second goal came from patient passing play to get into the circle, and from here a foul resulted in a short corner.

Matthew Bell’s drag-flick was low to the goalkeeper’s right before being deflected by a NICS player into the roof of the net. Banbridge were piling pressure onto the NICS defence but struggled to break through. Eventually, with five minutes to go until the break, Owen Magee beat three players at the top of the circle with quick skilful hands, to thump home a reverse shot and make it 3-0 at half-time.

The weather conditions continued to hamper the match at the start of the second half but Bann knew they had to put in more hard work to find more goals. High pressing from Banbridge meant that NICS were struggling to get out of their own half. Another penalty corner was soon gained and Matthew Bell once again scored with a low hard flick into the corner to make it 4-0.

From here, the NICS goalkeeper was kept busy, saving well from both Johnny McKee’s reverse shot and Fraser Mills flick, after beating several defenders.

With little time left, Matthew Bell broke through from the back into the circle before calming winning the penalty corner for a foot in the area. With full time blown. there was only time to complete the short corner and Dane Ward finished the scoring, brilliantly deflecting in from Bell’s drag flick.

With such testing weather conditions, Banbridge were happy to score some well work goals and keep a clean sheet.

Next up for Mark Tumilty’s team in the Ulster Premier League is an away trip to Belfast Harlequins on Saturday.