South Thirds enjoy trip to Bangor



SOUTH Antrim Thirds were the only Club side to survive the wintery conditions last weekend with a trip to Bangor Seconds at the sunny seaside town. This was a match that South needed to get something from to keep ahead of the relegation zone in Junior II.

South built on last week’s improved performance and looked comfortable for the first five minutes retaining possession well. Complacency set in and as players ball watched instead of picking up their men Bangor punished the Lisburn outfit with two moves down the right hand side giving Ashley Sloan no chance in the South net.

With South trailing 2-0 after 10 minutes their heads could have easily dropped. Instead, South showed great character as they dug deep and worked their way back into the game. South had a chance to pull one back as Paddy Cochrane’s shot come cross evaded Gary Pattersons’s outstretched stick.

Much to the displeasure of team manger, Gordon McCandless the South defence pushed higher up the pitch to support their midfielders leaving themselves light at the back. This risky tactic paid off as Jonny Sykes planted a close range effort past the Bangor keeper. With their tails now up, South sustained the pressure with Jonny Dalton continually threatening down the right wing and was justly rewarded with South’s equaliser just before the half time interval.

With the momentum behind South at the beginning of the second half the Thirds should have pushed on but instead as so often has happened this season they sat back and let their opposition retain possession. Bangor controlled the midfield from the restart but fortunately they didn’t really threaten the South circle with Gary Stewart, Chris O’Hara and Steve McKechnie snuffing out any danger.

The Lisburn side forced their way back into the game and Paddy Cochrane’s efforts were rewarded when he gave the Thirds the lead. Jonny Sykes added his second and South’s fourth as South continued to push forward and add to their tally. Gary Patterson missed a sitter from 3 inches out and Andrew Brown should have converted his two short corners both of which were just off target. Rob Barnes was unlucky not to score after a fine solo effort was saved by the Bangor keeper late on.

With two minutes left the white fluffy stuff eventually arrived in Bangor but this was not going to curtail South bringing home a very valuable 3 points. This win takes the Thirds to 19 points and another win from their final 6 games should be enough to ensure their survival in Junior II which will be a great accomplishment for the Lisburn side in the Club’s Centenary season and the first time the Thirds have been in Junior II.

Thanks go to Eric Cunningham for making the trip to Bangor to umpire.