Skipper leads Town to the quarters

Ryan Moffatt scored two on Saturday. INBL1617-253PB
Ryan Moffatt scored two on Saturday. INBL1617-253PB

Two goals from skipper Ryan Moffatt helped Banbridge Town to ease into the Bob Radcliffe Cup quarter-finals competition after a hard fought 3-1 win over Lurgan Town.

Winger Ryan Gourley bagged the other as Town avoided a skid on a potential banana skin.

Manager Stuart King played his strongest available side, which included a return from suspension for centre back Stephen Acheson and competitive starts for striker Ashley Gregg and teenage keeper Andrew Cullen.

Both teams started brightly and Lurgan Town attacked with vigour, disregarding the more lofty status of the visitors.

It took Banbridge a full 20 minutes before they created their first goal. Danny Devlin, who was reprieved from suspension owing to a clerical error, crossed from the left and skipper Ryan Moffatt was on hand to finish with aplomb.

Lurgan Town were having none of it and were level within two minutes of the restart. Central Striker David Hamilton lobbed the onrushing Cullen after a neat through pass from midfield. For Banbridge, strikers Gregg and Clydesdale were lively and posed a continuous threat.

The home keeper, 15 year old Tyler Boyce, made superb saves from both Banbridge strikers as the visitors attempted to regain the lead and Gregg was unlucky to see his snap shot rebound from the post with Boyce well beaten just after the half hour mark.

Try as they may, Banbridge could not force another goal and the teams went in level at 1-1 at the break.

Banbridge resumed against the stiff breeze and began to dominate the match. The home team’s attacks became more and more sporadic and it came as no surprise when Banbridge took the lead on the hour.

A ball was played into the feet of Gregg who turned his marker and was unceremoniously bundled to the ground.

Referee Mr Kelsey pointed to the spot and Moffatt made no mistake from the kick for his fifth goal of the season.

Banbridge were in total control of the match and appeared to be seeing out the game in comfort.

However, following a free kick against Banbridge in the 85th minute, Lurgan Town thought they had equalised but the ball hit the wrong side of the striker’s head and the chance rebounded to safety.

To compound this incredible miss, Banbridge broke quickly and the ball found its way to Ryan Gourley whose mazy run took him past several Lurgan Town defenders into the box where he coolly dispatched his shot past the home keeper.

Banbridge now make the journey to Coagh Utd on the 24th September for a place in the semi-finals.

TOWN: Cullen, J Wilson, Thompson, Acheson, Devlin, Gourley, King (A Wilson 86), Lavery, Moffatt, Gregg, Clydesdale (Taggart 73).

Unused substitutes: Hayes, Pedlow, McCavitt.