BANBRIDGE 0 LISNAGARVEY 0
THE top Premier League clash last Saturday between Banbridge and Lisnagarvey at Havelock Park ended in a disappointing 0-0- draw. In the end both teams totally cancelled each other out but it could all have been very different. During the opening 15 minutes, the home side were well on top and should have sealed the game but squandered a number of good chances as Garvey rode out the storm.
Gradually the visitors got back into contention but at no time during the final 50 minutes did either team look like taking the much coveted three points.
An early attack by Garvey led to nothing but in the 4th minute, Banbridge had a golden chance to take the lead. They broke very quickly from defence into attack and had a 3 v 1 situation approaching the Garvey circle but Magee chose the wrong option and his poor shot went weakly past the left hand post and Garvey breathed again.
At this point the Garvey defence was far from organised and the fast moving Banbridge forwards were able to penetrate on a number of occasions only for John Tormey in the Garvey goal and defenders Brian Waring and Jonny Bell to rescue the situation with some resolution.
Tormey, especially, made three fine blocks and a great interception during the siege period to keep his team in the game and he was in action again in the 15th minute when Banbridge forced the first penalty corner. The shot from Dowds was well saved by Tormey and gradually Garvey worked their way back into the game.]
They gained their first set piece in the 22nd minute but Steven Arbuthnot’s drag flick was an easy height for Bann keeper Garth Lennox and the chance was lost.
The last 10 minutes of the first half lacked action in either circle as the match was being fought out in the midfield area with any penetration totally missing.
Mark Raphael had a shot go past the post in the 28th minute and in the 32nd minute, Banbridge forced their second penalty corner of the half. This effort was wasted as the push out was slow but in the last seconds of the first period they had a great chance to lead the game at the interval. Again the move came down the Garvey left and it gave the young Bann player Moffatt an open chance to score but he totally ‘fluffed’ his shot and half time arrived with Garvey very lucky to be still on even terms with their more impressive opponents.
An early second half save from John Tormey was countered by a good move involving Andy Forrest and Stuart McNiece in the 47th minute only for the final shot to be easily dealt with by Lennox.
McNiece, working hard for Garvey had a reverse shot go high over the cross bar in the 49th minute as the game again returned to a midfield battle and into a rather scrappy affair.
Banbridge had their 3rd penalty corner in the 60th minute and Jonny Bell had to be at his brilliant best to take the Dowds shot off the goal line with keeper Tormey beaten.
Mark Raphael, surprisingly quiet during the game, had a shot saved by Lennox in the 65th minute while Banbridge had another chance to grab the points when Moffatt was again at fault when he was unmarked at the far post only for his shot to go well wide of the target.
At this point, with just five minutes left in the tight encounter, a draw was looking most likely but in the last minute with the final whistle already blown, Banbridge had a last chance with their 4th penalty corner. The resulting Dowds drag flick went yards over the bar and the top two teams in the Premier League had to be content with a point each and the outcome of the title still far from decided.
Perhaps both teams were too concerned with not losing this game but Garvey can think themselves somewhat lucky to come out of the game with a draw after Banbridge’s missed chances early in the game.