Raphoe 3rd XI 6 vs 2 Bangor 5th XI

Bangor 5s made the long journey to Raphoe in County Donegal and were blessed with an uncharacteristically hot sunny day.

The game turned out to be a bit of a mis-match as the home team fielded several 1st XI players who play in the Premier League.

However, Bangor battled throughout and can be proud of large chunks of the game.

Raphoe had the early pressure and were rewarded with two goals although both were scrappy. Bangor had several counter attacks and circle penetrations but failed to turn these into goals. The visitors grew in confidence and pressed the game leading to a goal from Thompson with an aerial defection.

Half-time: Raphoe 2   Bangor 1

Bangor played really well at the start of the second half and were rewarded with 3 corners. Parker almost scored but his shot went over the legal height of the backboard. Ironically, Raphoe broke away and scored their third when a block fell right to their stick. Their fourth came from a corner following a reckless Bangor tackle in the 25. Again the ball broke kindly to to a Raphoe player who pushed the ball into the Bangor goal. Bangor were rewarded when another penalty corner was deflected high into the Raphoe goal by Blackwood from a Parker pass.

Bangor’s spirits were lifted but two basic passing errors in quick succession, both within the Raphoe half, led to two more counter attacking Raphoe goals.

Final Score: Raphoe 6 Bangor 2

NICS 2nd XI 0-2 Bangor 3rd XI

Bangor Thirds gained a deserved 3 points away at Civil Service seconds last Saturday afternoon in their latest Junior League Two fixture.

It was a contest if truth be told could have gone either way but the Thirds took their opportunities better than the home side, scoring a goal in each half for a 2-0 victory.

However, it was a towering defensive display from the experienced thirds backline that laid the foundation for this win.
The Thirds gained the lead in just the 6th minute when Roger Irvine broke free on the right side in the Service half, his cross picked out Gareth Stranaghan top circle and when the skipper swivelled and directed the ball towards the goal Ryan Garland applied the final touch. This gave the Bangor side that little bit of extra confidence and in the opening 20 minutes they seemed to have control of the game. Sweeper Allister McVicar was marshalling all in front of him, and indeed was the catalyst for many of Bangor’s attacking forays. More opportunities were created, schoolboy Isaac Hart saw an effort flash wide whilst Stranaghan was unlucky from a corner when the goalkeeper saved well. The last part of the opening half was controlled by the home side. They had good opportunities to score and indeed missed the target with one or two, but time and again the veteran trio of Roger Irvine, Graeme Patterson and Pete Hopkins made some timely tackles whilst Chris Wilkinson in goal, when called upon, was faultless.

Half time, 0-1.
The second half was somewhat disjointed. For the opening minutes the Thirds struggled to hold possession and create any fluidity to their play. The home side continued to press but again the defence and Wilkinson were equal to the task and dealt with all that came before him. Hopkins showed great technique with one goal line clearance, whilst McVicar continued to read the danger and show great assurance when on the ball. As the half wore on the Thirds began to find their feet again and threaten more and more. David Stewart, industrious throughout, was instrumental in some of these attacks with his tenacity in holding possession of the ball at times. The second goal game after again good work on the right which resulted in Hart squaring the ball to his skipper at the back post, and Stranaghan duly slotted home with ease. In the closing minutes Garland suffered a nasty gash to the head after a coming together and that needed stitched up at the nearby Ulster hospital, whilst the Thirds probably had the better chances to increase their lead but this time the skipper could not finish.

Full time, 0-2.
All in all it was a hard working performance from the experienced Thirds team on the day, built on solid defense and an eagerness to try and do the simple things on the pitch. Next up is the same opponents, this time at Aurora on Saturday, and no doubt another difficult game will be expected with the visitors eager to make sure they take their chances better this time and reverse the scoreline.
Man of the Match for the Bangor team was Graeme Patterson.
Team: C.Wilkinson, G.Stranaghan (c), A.McVicar, S.Robinson. G.Patterson, R.Garland, D.Stewart, I.Hart, J.Macafee, S.Ferguson, R.Irvine, P.Hopkins.

QUB 3 v 0 Bangor

Bangor stumble in bid for League success

After a week off due to The Hockey World League 2 being held at Stormont, Bangor made the short trip to Malone Road to face Queens University. Previous games between both sides made for a close encounter and a physical game.

Queens started the better team, controlling possession and intensity of the game with Bangor struggling to keep up with their movement and speed in midfield and upfront. Bangor continually gave the ball away which didn’t help absorb the pressure that Queens were applying.

Queens made the first breakthrough when Bangor once again caught in possession and Queens broke on the counter and this time Seay who kept the scores at 0-0 didn’t have any chance with the finish.

The game began to die down midway through the 1st half with Queens looking the more likely to score, shortly before the half-time break Queens grabbed a 2nd when a long crash ball into Bangor’s circle somehow made it to the back post for a tap in.

Half Time: Queens 2-0 Bangor

Unfortunately, for Bangor they still struggled to get a foothold into the game with Queens continually controlling the possession and intensity of the game, throughout the 2nd half chances were far and few to come by with Queens once again having the best opportunities with Andy Seay in the Bangor net having an yet another outstanding game.

Queens grabbed a 3rd whenever the game got stretched with Bangor looking to get back into the game which killed the game off and gave Queens a deserved 3 points.

Full Time: Queens 3-0 Bangor

Bangor 5th XI 0 vs 1 NICS 4th XI

On a mild but damp afternoon, Bangor 5s entertained NICS 4s, who had beaten league leaders, PSNI, the previous week.

The opening quarter was fairly even with both teams sharing possession but the visitors were the more dangerous in attack. A couple of penalty corners were also shared but without goals.

NICS look the lead when the visiting umpire awarded a dubious free against Bangor and the home team were caught on the hop, enabling the visitors to outnumber the home defence and score the opening goal. Bangor’s best chance fell to Wilson but his shot was weak and saved by the NICS keeper.

Bangor began the second half in better shape and had a lot of possession but lacked a cutting edge in the final third. NICS were dangerous on the counter attack and Kent was in superb form to prevent further goals. Squance made some telling interceptions at the back and Parker worked tirelessly in midfield.

The second half ended scoreless with Bangor disappointed not to turn better play into goals but also thankful foe heroic goalkeeping.

Final Score Bangor 0 NICS 1

Harlequins 3rd XI 2 vs 3 Bangor 4th XI

4s come back to win at Harlequins

In a familiar theme, Bangor started strongly with the midfield of Parker, Irvine and Hopkins neatly controlling the flow of the game and denying Quins early possession.

However Bangor lacked composure in the final 3rd of the pitch and could not convert their dominance into scoring chances. Harlequins grew in confidence as the half progressed and punished Bangor, first from a short corner and then a breakaway goal a small Bangor went into the half 2-0 down.

This was very similar to how the cup game between the sides has gone earlier in the year where Bangor were the better side in large parts of the game but had left Deramore losing 5-0!

However co-captains McMillan and Hopkins were determined this wasn’t happening this time and after some stern words and some positional changes, Bangor immediately looked much more threatening. With the influential Holley orchestrating matters on midfield, Bangor began to pepper the Quins goal It wasn’t long before the impressive Parker  slotted home and Bangor had their tails up.Coglin appeared from the back and got the 2nd soon after a d Bangor could sense the gave way theirs for the taking Young Jack Riordan, who has worked so well with Hart and Squance all afternoon, deservedly was the man who got the goal and Bangor held on for a great victory.

The 3 points propels up the table and continues the momentum gathered in recent weeks to ensure safety in the league and even push for promotion.

Thanks to Quins for an enjoyable match and thanks again to Chris Harte for umpiring.

Man of the Match: Ricky Parker

Annadale 2nd XI 2 vs 6 Bangor 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds provided one of their best performances of the season as they travelled to play Annadale Seconds and walloped them 6-2.

Last season away points were thin on the ground but Mark Lappin has his men more focused and organised this year.

The Seasiders played with discipline in defence and counter-attacked ruthlessly to tear apart their much younger opponents.

And it was the skipper Lappin who led the way. After just five minutes he turned at the top of the circle and fired an unstoppable reverse stick shot past the home goalkeeper.

But the majority of the first half followed a pattern. Annadale had the ball, Bangor worked hard to frustrate them. And in the final few minutes the sides traded goals.

Firstly, Annadale equalised when for once Bangor lost their defensive shape and Sam Moore in goal slipped. But within two minutes Bangor retained their lead. From their first penalty corner the ever dependable Adam Reading scored with the help of a deflection.

Bangor started the second period well but just couldn’t find the right final pass or accurate finish to score a third. And Annadale took advantage when they raided down the right and crossed the ball only to see it rebound into the goal off the hapless Adam Watson.

It was sink or swim time but Bangor responded magnificently to streak ahead of their more celebrated opposition.

The third goal came from Zach McKee, who scored from a tight angle after Simon Hunter had bullied the two centre backs to create the chance.

Just minutes later Reading scored again from his second penalty corner to give Bangor some daylight.

Bangor’s fourth goal epitomised their performance. The energetic Simon Cox, Chris Campbell and Hunter hounded the Annadale captain until he turned over possession. Campbell played in Hunter who drew the keeper to leave the midfielder an easy finish for the fifth goal.

Annadale still threatened and Moore made a couple of very impressive saves, James Trimble continued his fine form at left back and young Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez belied his years at centre back.

There was time for one more goal and again it came from a penalty corner. This time it was Andrew Creane who got the goal his all round display deserved, taking a touch, dummying the goalkeeper and flicking high into the net.

Bangor face Banbridge tonight (Thursday) as the scourge of rearranged games hits the fixture list. It will be another challenge but Lappin’s men are in good form and should fear no one if they are on their game.

Bangor 4th XI 6 vs 0 Cookstown 6th XI

With Co-captain McMillan “taking in a West End show” in London, it was left to Captain Hopkins to rally the troops in a vital contest in which Bangor desperately needed to secure their first win of 2017.

Throughout this season Bangor have started matches strongly only to then lose concentration and allow some spells of poor play to deny them victory.

So, it was heartening to see Bangor start strongly once again but continue in that vein, with Parker, Irvine and Alfred causing difficulty in midfield and the effervescent Patterson rolling back the years at centre forward.

The first goal was no more than Bangor deserved after Callum Thompson broke strongly down the right flank (as he has done often this season) and his pass into the circle picked out Calvin Alfred who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net: 1-0 Bangor.  The was followed after by a similarly well-worked goal in which Steven Ferguson put the ball through to Mark Squance, who put it under the advancing Cookstown keeper: 2-0 Bangor.  It was 3-0 by half time when Ferguson himself got on the score sheet and the Bangor front three put the Cookstown defence under repeated pressure whilstthe dangerous Cookstown centre forward was kept under control, and effectively marked out of the game, by Moore and then Morris.  Michael Coghlin organised the troops from the back and Ross Miller was largely a spectator in the Bangor goal.

Half time: 3-0 Bangor.

There was always a danger with such an advantage, and the play breaking up, that Bangor would lose shape and allow Cookstown back into the game in pushing for extra goals.  However, after the break Bangor maintained their discipline and continued to move the ball nicely throughout the team, with Marcus Ross working particularly hard in midfield.  There was a second goal for Alfred and then one for Ross, before the skipper stepped up and put the result beyond any doubt with a thunderbolt into the back of the Cookstown net.  The game finished 6-0 to Bangor, with a rare clean sheet for the Bangor defence bringing as much satisfaction as the 6 goals scored at the other end.

Thanks to both Steven Robinson and Chris Kent for umpiring.

Man of the match: Calvin Alfred.

Team:  Miller, Coghlin, Hopkins, Moore, Thompson, Maurice, Irvine, Parker, Alfred, Ross, Ferguson, Squance, Patterson, Bell.

Bangor 3rd XI 2 vs 6 Mossley 2nd XI

Bangor Thirds welcomed Mossley Seconds to Bangor Aurora last Saturday afternoon for their latest Junior League Two instalment, and it was an afternoon to forget for Gareth Stranaghans’ side.

They conceded within the first minute, never really recovered, and eventually went down by 6 goals to 2 to a far more hungrier side in Mossley.

Back to the opening goal within the first 60 seconds, and Bangor only had themselves to blame.  A sideline hit high in the home half of the pitch was not closed down as the Mossley forward advanced towards the circle, picked out his man with a simple pass who deftly touched home past a sleeping Thirds rearguard.  The opening half was dominated by the visitors as they controlled the ball with ease, and found their passes so simply as their off the ball running was not matched by the home side.  When the Thirds did gain possession in advanced positions, the passing was astray and any momentum was lost. Mossley added 3 further goals before the half, the home team just not up to the same level of play.

The Thirds improved a little in the second half, but by this point Mossley were simply going through the motions as the game was over as a contest.  They made it 5-0 soon after the restart, this goal coming about yet again via a misplaced Bangor pass further up the pitch.  The Thirds did add a couple of consolation goals in the last quarter of the game, Jack Riordan finding the net after exchanging passes with Patrick Boyd, whilst Steven Ferguson showed some willingness to force home.  Mossley also scored a sixth, and if truth be told they were unlucky not to score seven, eight or nine.  A bad day at the office for the Thirds who will be looking for much better in their remaining games this season.

Man of the Match for the Bangor team was Jack Riordan.  Many thanks to Timmy Campbell for umpiring.

Team: C.Wilkinson, G.Stranaghan (c), Ri.Parker, S.Robinson. G.Patterson, R.Garland, D.Edge, A.Bell, I.Hart, C.Thompson, P.Boyd, S.Ferguson, A.Hamilton, J.Riordan.

Instonians 2nd XI 5 vs 2 Bangor 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds run of good results came to a sudden halt with a 5-2 defeat to a strong Instonians team at Shaw’s Bridge.

The Seasiders fought valiantly but the large squad Instonians could field on a non-Irish Hockey League weekend was probably the decisive factor.

With 15 minutes to go Bangor were in the lead but Instonians finished the stronger, scoring four goals without reply to give a flattering gloss to the final scoreline.

But the game was significantly closer than that. The sides drew in Bangor before Christmas and during the opening exchanges both probed for weaknesses.

Midway through the half Instonians took the lead from their second penalty corner with a flick high into the top right of the goal.

That appeared to shock Bangor into action and they steadily improved for the remainder of the first period. With Simon Cox and Chris Campbell leading the charge from midfield penalty corners were won and half-chances were created. And it was from one such corner that Bangor equalised with Adam Reading powering the ball under the home goalkeeper.

Bangor started the second half the quicker and took the lead with their best move of the game. The ball started with young Isaac Hart on the wing and was moved across the pitch by Simon Hunter, Stephen McLean and Chris Campbell, who found Robin Coughlan in the circle. He drew the goalkeeper and unselfishly squared to Hunter for the simplest of tap-ins to make it 2-1.

The rest of the game took on a familiar pattern. Instonians dominated possession whilst Bangor worked hard in defence and tried to catch them out on the counter-attack. Sam Moore in goal made a number of sharp saves and James Trimble had his best game of the season, halting countless Instonians attacks.

But Bangor could only hold back the tide for so long. After a mix up in the circle Instonians smashed an equaliser home and just minutes later a misplaced touch in midfield allowed them in again and Moore could do nothing to stop them.

The Seasiders did still have chances on the counter with Campbell having a shot well saved and Hunter flicking wide but in the final few minutes the legs had gone and spaces opened up. Instonians grabbed one more goal from open play and in virtually the final act of the game scored another penalty corner into the bottom right corner to make it 5-2.

This week the Seconds face another challenging away trip to Annadale at Lough Moss. A cup game between the sides before Christmas was close with the Carryduff men winning in the end but skipper Mark Lappin will still be hopeful his side can gain something for the game.

Antrim 2 vs 1 Bangor

Bangor stumble in race for League success.

Bangor made the trip up North to Antrim Forum to face Antrim, a win would see Bangor move into 2nd but Bangor knew this ground was previously an obstacle in recent campaigns.

The game started as expected with some heavy tackling, both teams turning the ball over and a very physical game. Antrim arguably started the better team creating a few chances but couldn’t test Seay in the Bangor goal. Bangor eventually got into the game with Burgess making a few long runs resulting in Bangors first short corner, unfortunately the shot from Burgess fired wide.

Antrim made the initial breakthrough when the umpires missed an Antrim foot which led to them breaking into the circle and converting their chance.  Towards the end of the first half the game began to heat up with the umpires being put in tough situations from the Antrim players.

Half time: Antrim 1 – 0 Bangor

The 2nd half started as the 1st half ended, with many cards now being awarded to Antrim players including a harsh red shown to one of the Antrim players. Bangor knew they were right back into it with having to play much of the 2nd half against 10 men.

Bangor began to have most of the possession but couldn’t take advantage of this due to lack of execution. Bangor continued to build pressure but couldn’t get the breakthrough

Antrim doubled their lead when the game became stretched, when Antrim made it to the baseline and slipped the ball back for an easy tap in.

Burgess got one back through and impressive reverse stick shot but unfortunately there was no time available to get an equaliser resulting in a disappointing lose for Bangor.

Full-Time: Antrim 2-1 Bangor

Scorer: Burgess

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