Banbridge had an early chance from a corner but it was the visitors who created the better chances when they squandered two golden first half opportunities to take the lead, the better of which saw Dollingstown’s McCabe hit the post when clean through.
Banbridge also had a fine opportunity when Stephen McCavitt burst through down the right only for his shot to be saved by the legs of Buchannon in the visitors’ goal. Stephen McCavitt’s participation in the tie ended prematurely when injury forced him off in the 38th minute.
Banbridge Town improved in the second period with the pace of Doyle and substitute Ronan Casey causing problems for the visitors’ defence. Sadly for the Town when they did get into good positions, some of the delivery from the wide areas was found wanting. Banbridge substituted Downey for the returning Brendan Tumilty and gave a debut in midfield to Dean Morgan.
As time wore on, it seemed that extra-time and potentially penalty kicks was inevitable but with a late twist, Banbridge scored the winner in the 86th minute. Casey won a corner on Town’s right and Cowan’s accurate set piece was bravely headed home at the near post by Chris McMahon. Dollingstown made substitutions to give themselves more attacking options in an attempt to save the tie but Town held on
This match was determined by the Irish Football Association as the “Tie of the Round” and in truth the visiting Officials from the National body may have had some difficulty presenting the traditional “Man of the Match” trophy. However, his late winner and his overall midfield play swayed the panel and McMahon left the field to rapturous applause from the Town’s supporters clutching a well earned memento.
Banbridge Town v Dollingstown
Lewis Hunter (GK)
Conor Downey (Replaced by Brendan Tumilty – 68 mins)
Stephen McCavitt (Replaced by Ronan Casey - 38 mins.)
Reece Doyle (Replaced by Dean Morgan - 68 mins.)
Unused subs – Mark McCullough; James Irwin
Referee: Mr Gary Thompson
Next Saturday, Banbridge Town will face Lisburn Distillery at Crystal Park in a Lough41 Premier Intermediate League fixture. Supporters are reminded that this match will kick-off at 3.00pm.
Banbridge Town’s reserve team had no fixture last weekend but the U19’s gave a fine performance to beat a very strong Craigavon City side 1-0 in the semi-final of the Savage Cup where they will face TTBS FC and which is expected to be sometime around the Christmas period.
Despite being reduced to 10 men following a red card, a superb second half strike from Joshua Kerr saw the Town’s “Young Guns” through.
Neither the Town’s first team nor the U19s have fixtures this coming weekend, but the reserves will be in action against Glenavy in a Mid Ulster Shield Round 2 tie at Crystal Park on Saturday. Kick-off for this match is 2.00pm.