Penalty drama as battling Banbridge Town clinch point

BANBRIDGE Town bagged a stoppage time equaliser to earn a point from Coagh United at Hagan Park.
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COAGH 1 TOWN 1

There was only one change to the squad which defeated Warrenpoint two weeks ago, Benji McKeown replacing the suspended Andy Martin at centre-half.

The rain which fell from mid-morning Saturday led to water lying in many parts of the pitch. However, it was deemed playable.

Town skipper Stephen McCavitt rarely misses from the spot and he produced the goods again at the weekend - his added time penalty clinching a point at Coagh. Picture: Colin Lavery.Town skipper Stephen McCavitt rarely misses from the spot and he produced the goods again at the weekend - his added time penalty clinching a point at Coagh. Picture: Colin Lavery.
Town skipper Stephen McCavitt rarely misses from the spot and he produced the goods again at the weekend - his added time penalty clinching a point at Coagh. Picture: Colin Lavery.
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The early stages of the match were cagey as the players adjusted to the difficult conditions underfoot and sussed each other out.

Coagh tested the Town defence with some early corners which were comfortably dealt with.

Stephen McCavitt went close, heading a Downey free kick just over the bar. He had another chance soon after, Taylor winning the ball in midfield and playing a great through ball which McCavitt ran on to and got his shot away but it was stopped by the keeper. The rain began to fall more heavily with the ball holding up on the sodden pitch.

The home side went ahead shortly before half-time, a break from midfield and some quick passed creating the space for O’Boyle to score into the far corner from the edge of the area.

Conor Downey battles through the tricky conditions.Conor Downey battles through the tricky conditions.
Conor Downey battles through the tricky conditions.
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The rain increased as the players came out for the second half. Coagh almost got a second in a goalmouth scramble but the ball was cleared upfield. Town’s Purvis was the busier of the two keepers, coming off his line and bravely diving to smother the ball and snuff out the danger on a number of occasions. On 60 minutes Reece Doyle went over on his ankle and was replaced by Ryan Gourley while Vaughan came on for McNally.

Town thought they had levelled things up on 65 minutes, a break from midfield by Michael McCavitt saw him cross the ball which a defender tried to cut out but didn’t get a good contact and there was Gourley to slot the ball home. However, the goal was ruled out for offside, much to disbelief of the Town but to the delight of the home fans! Manager Mark Kerr picked up a booking for questioning the referee’s decision. With players tiring on the heavy pitch both teams made subs, Kerr going all out for an equaliser bringing on attackers Shearer and Deeney for Campbell and Michael McCavitt with Lundy replacing Curran.

Town survived a couple of scares with Rendina and Purvis clearing the danger. Town kept battling though and two minutes into added time they got their reward. Gourley picked up the ball from midfield on the right and his cross was stopped by the outstretched arm of a defender – penalty!

Coagh did their best to put off Town’s penalty taker, skipper Stephen McCavitt. A melee resulted in Taylor and two Coagh players being booked.

Ryan Gourley's goal was ruled out, for a disputed off-side.Ryan Gourley's goal was ruled out, for a disputed off-side.
Ryan Gourley's goal was ruled out, for a disputed off-side.
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McCavitt kept his composure and when calm was restored he blasted the ball into the net for a point which was the least Town deserved.

On Saturday Town are at home to Ballymacash Rangers in the PIL, KO 3pm. With only five games to go, four of which are at Crystal Park, Town sit in seventh place in the league and their focus remains to finish as high as possible.

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