Banbridge Thirds went down 1-0 to Raphoe Seconds before Christmas.
The locals were attempting to build on their excellent win against North Down Thirds the previous week bar the absence of Douglas Anderson. Raphoe, meanwhile, had secured their first win the previous week to lift them off the bottom of the league.
Bann took the game to Raphoe from the off with great inter-linking play from McCoy and Reid in midfield with Dean and Kennedy up front. Dean was unlucky not to open the scoring from an early opportunity with the Raphoe keeper making a great save.
Bann continued to keep the pressure on with Brown eliminating several Raphoe players down the right but his final pass failed to find a Bann player.
Raphoe were defending well and using the long ball to good effect. Against the run of play Raphoe took the lead. Matthew Graham was caught in possession high up the pitch and after a fast counter attack the Raphoe forward’s shot was deflected into the Bann net by the unlucky Sam Green.
Bann tried to get back into the game and won a series of short corners but were unable to convert.
Bann continued where they left off in the first half pouring forward at every opportunity and after an early attack were awarded a penalty stroke after Dean’s shot hit a Raphoe foot with the keeper beaten. Dean stepped up to take the flick but failed to make a good connection and the keeper saved.
Gallagher and Marshall were instrumental in midfield and won several more short corners with Marshall hitting the post on one occasion and Gallagher firing just wide.
Dean was tormenting the Raphoe defence but failed on several occasions to draw Bann level with a combination of good saves from the keeper and poor finishing.
Bann will be disappointed to lose the three points and will be fired up for their next game at home to Annadale Thirds on Saturday 9th January.