Cookstowns 2nd XI 2 vs 1 Bangor 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds confirmed they will finish in a very creditable sixth place in the Junior League One on Saturday, despite losing 2-1 in a tight game away to Cookstown.

Overall it has been a hugely successful first season at this level for the Seconds and one the entire team can quite rightly be very proud of.

But it could have been even better on Saturday if they had just managed to get something from their final game of the season in Cookstown.

Once again, Bangor travelled with a severely weakened team for a variety of reasons. This consistent problem and a constantly changing team has made it very difficult to pick up points on the road.

However, like the Banbridge away game a month before, Bangor’s effort could not be faulted and they were perhaps unlucky to travel home empty handed.

The home side started the stronger and took an early lead when a deflected chance left Sam Moore helpless in goal. But Bangor also had their chances despite a disjointed first half performance. Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez had two good opportunities and Simon Hunter had the ball in the net only for the ‘goal’ to be ruled out for a high ball.

With Cookstown having more of the ball Bangor had to work extremely hard defensively and the midfield of Ryan Garland, James Mottashaw and Mark Lappin put in a tremendous amount of energy to protect their defence.

Cookstown may have had the better of the first half but Bangor turned it around in the second. They dealt much more comfortably with the home side’s attacks and then countered them with the pace of Adam Watson. Youngsters Calvin Alfred and Jack Riordan shared duties at left back and continued to show much promise.

Hunter was finding space at inside left and it was no surprise when Bangor scored from that area. As he has done hundreds, if not thousands of times, over the years, Lappin found Hunter peeling out to the wing, he burst past his man and bundled the ball between the advancing goalkeeper and the near post to make it 1-1.

Bangor then had the chances to snatch a lead. Hunter and Armstrong-Sanchez both had opportunities and Andrew Creane also came close. But when the goal did come it was at the other end and once again it was a deflected effort that Moore could do nothing about.

In the closing minutes Bangor did put more pressure on the Cookstown goal and could have snatched a draw at the death but the Cookstown goalkeeper was in determined form and they held on for the 2-1 win.

It was perhaps a disappointing end to a very pleasing season but the game was a welcome reminder of the areas the Seconds can still improve on for next year. Getting the strongest possible team out every week must be a start and picking up more points away from home will also help tremendously in warding off any potential ‘second season syndrome’.

But for now the Seconds can relax and reflect on an excellent seven months’ work in Junior League One.

Bangor MHC 1 vs 2 Campbellians

Bangor MHC concluded their league campaign with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Campbell on Saturday afternoon.

In many ways the result was indicative of the league season, one in which Bangor started well but ultimately faltered, allowing Campbell to take the points and set up their chance at promotion. It was a cruel way to bow out and will leave the squad asking the question what might have been in 2015/16.

Bangor fielded a depleted side as once more injuries and lack of availability took its toll on selection. Nevertheless they started the match in fine form, limiting the number of chances Campbell had and looking confident on the break. Bangor welcomed back Adam Reading in the centre of midfield and his calming influence allowed Bangor to have the best of the early exchanges. Nerves were evident clearly in the Campbell side who struggled to get into the match.

Bangor took a deserved lead when fine play in the attacking third found a foot in the circle. As has been the case on so many occasions this season Ryan Burgess took dead aim from the short corner. The net bulged and Bangor had the lead and they it was a deserved one. Bangor looked comfortable at this stage. They had a further chance to extend their lead with another short corner but this time the keeper was up to the task.

Whether it was a lack of concentration or a sense of complacency, Campbell came back into the match. Failure to challenge in the middle of the park led to the Campbell forward three bisecting the Bangor defence and allowing a simple finish for the Campbell striker. Five minutes later Campbell took the lead with a free flowing move that found the back of Bangor’s goal. The half ended with the home side in control and Bangor were left wondering how the match had got away from them.

Half Time: Campbellians 2-1 Bangor MHC

The second half was a massively disappointing affair. Campbell were dominant in the main and held Bangor at bay rather comfortably. Bangor had a few chances towards the end of the half with the keeper saving comfortably from another Burgess short corner. The score line remained the same and the final whistle blew with Bangor in despair and Campbell jubilant. It has been a disappointing end to the season but the foundations have been laid for the future and hopefully this harshest of learning curves will only serve to make Bangor stronger in the long run.

Full time: Campbellians 2-1 Bangor MHC

Scorer: Burgess

 

 

Mossley 3rd XI 4-1 Bangor 3rd XI – 2nd April 2016

Thirds Finish Season in Defeat​​​​​

Bangor thirds finally played their last league fixture of their Junior League 3 campaign away at The Glade, Mossley last Saturday afternoon against the home club’s third string.  The thirds had not been in competitive action since 20 February, and there is no doubt this rustiness contributed to the 4-1 defeat although the home side were deserved winners on the day.

The seasiders probably had the better of the opening exchanges and indeed the Mossley custodian denied both of Bangor’s evergreen forwards, Gareth Stranaghan and Jeremy Macafee, with a couple of point blank saves early on.  Mossley were soon to gain a foothold and indeed gained the ascendancy just before the interval when they quickly moved the ball upfield from a hit out and the visitors were outnumbered at the back.  Half time, 1-0.

The home side came out the stronger in the second period, and after a fine save from youngster Ross Miller in the Bangor goal, he had no chance to prevent the lead from being doubled.  However time and again the thirds have fought back this season, and when Macafee reduced the arrears from close in there was still hope that Stranaghan’s side could again turn things around.  This time though it was not to be.  Despite lots of endeavour that final pass always seem to be cut out and dealt with astutely by the home defence.  Mossley did create several opportunities themselves to score, and did take a couple in the last 10 minutes to make their victory all that more comfortable.

Now the thirds must wait and see what their final fate will be as the Lisnagarvey and Cookstown teams complete their fixtures.  What is guaranteed is a top 3 finish, but after topping the league since back in November there will likely be a sense of disappointment if the team were to miss out on promotion.  That said, a tremendous effort throughout the campaign from the mix of experience and youth that skipper Gareth Stranaghan assembled.

Man of the Match for the Bangor team was Allister McVicar.  Many thanks to Chris McLean for umpiring.

Team: Miller, Elliott, Bell, McVicar, Stewart, Robinson, Stranaghan (c), Alfred, Toogood, Macafee, Stubbs, Sanchez.

Antrim 2 v 8 Bangor MHC

Bangor got back to winning ways under highly controversial circumstances with an 8-2 victory over Antrim at the Forum on Saturday afternoon.

It was a match marred by a lack of discipline from the home side. Bangor did well to hold their concentration in the midst of the self destruction from the home side. The win keeps alive Bangor’s slim chances of gaining a play off place for promotion to the Premier League.

Bangor arrived at the Antrim Forum in high spirits. A series of injuries led to the visiting side being depleted but Antrim had problems of their own, only having 11 available to play. Bangor took to the field with happy hearts and were 1-0 up with five minutes. Great hustle from Harry Dow up front freed the ball up for Ryan Tate to sweep the ball home. It was no more than Bangor deserved given their bright start. The next 20 minutes were a nervous affair given that Bangor had struggled to hold on to a lead for quite some while.

Disaster struck when Antrim were awarded a flick for the ball striking a foot on the line. All Bangor’s hard work over the opening half hour looked to have been in vain. Antrim had not counted on the indomitable Andy Seay. Buoyed by being stand in captain in the absence of James Trimble, Seay dived leopard-like to his right palming the ball away. Two minutes later a fine break led by McClune through the centre resulted in a pinpoint pass to Dow who subsequently squared the ball for Riordan to finish. Bangor celebrated and looked to keep it tight up until the break.

As half-time approached, Antrim halved the deficit, with a smart finish inside the circle. Bangor were not to be denied their two goal advantage for long. Harry Dow capped a fine first half performance with a great individual effort right on the whistle. Bangor were great value for their lead but nothing could prepare them for what was to come in the second half.

Half Time: Bangor MHC 3-1 Antrim

The second half began as the first had ended with Bangor on the attack. Coach Parker introduced young Andrew Crean to the proceedings with immediate effect as he scored within five minutes of the restart. This goal sparked a chain of events that are unlikely to be witnessed at a Senior hockey match ever again. The Antrim keeper thought he had seen an infringement in the build up to Bangor’s fourth goal. He complained bitterly to the umpire and in his state of over-exuberance he may have used some choice language. A yellow card followed meaning that the Antrim keeper was consigned to the dugout, which he proceed to destroy. He rained down angry blows with his stick on the dugout leaving it in tatters. At this stage the umpires had no option but to give him a red card. The action resumed but then had to be stopped once more as the keeper started walking across the field of play. It was a bizarre set of circumstances and made for interesting viewing.

This made the rest of the day pretty easy for Bangor. They scored at regular intervals with second goals from Dow, Crean and Riordan, all of whom were excellent in attack. Michael McComb added an eighth to complete the rout. Although Antrim scored a flick, for an offence that nobody could really work out, Bangor ran out easy winners 8-2.

Full Time: Bangor MHC 8-2

Scorers: Creane 2, Dow 2, Riordan 2, McComb, Tate

Bangor 2nd XI 2 v 0 Newry 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds returned to fourth in Junior League One with a 2-0 win over Newry at the Aurora on Saturday.

Robin Coughlin was the difference between the sides with a well taken goal in each half. Whilst others’ finishing was well below par Coughlin two first time goals ensured Bangor took the points and ended a bad run of recent results.

Newry are towards the bottom of the league and started the game with just 10 players. This meant Bangor completely dominated possession and territory for most of the game but the scoreline never reflected their superiority.

The lack of a cutting edge can perhaps be put down to rustiness but Bangor were still very disappointed with the first half. The one goal came when Stephen McLean found Coughlin in the circle and he skilfully deflected the ball high into the Newry goal.

Things improved in the second half as the players passing found its range but still a failure to be clinical in the Newry circle cost them a more comprehensive win. Again it was Coughlin who showed them how to do it with a fantastic deflection that flew past the goalkeeper from a Ryan Garland pass.

But many more chances went abegging. Top scorer Simon Hunter was the biggest culprit but others also failed to ram home Bangor’s advantage. Coughlin even had a glorious chance to round off his hat-trick with a shot on the half volley but his effort blazed over the bar.
On the rare occasion when Newry did venture forward they found an organised Bangor defence with skipper James Mottashaw and McLean keeping thing tight. Sam Moore in goal was rarely troubled as a result.

Bangor trooped off the field with a slightly disappointed air but the victory ruled out any chance whatsoever that they could get drawn into a later relegation dogfight. Now, they have just one game left against Cookstown in a fortnight. The performance level will have to increase significantly but if it does, a win would mean the Seconds finish the league season having won half their games. That would be a superb achievement for a team just promoted into the division.

Banbridge 2nd XI 3 – 1 Bangor 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds returned to action at the weekend and lost 3-1 away to Banbridge at Havelock Park.

But that result was only half the story as a severely weakened team put in a quite tremendous performance to compete with one of the biggest club’s in Ireland from first whistle to last.

There were more Seconds regulars missing than playing but those that were available showed the way to players stepping up from the Thirds and Fourths and the result was a battling, determined rearguard action that could have snatched a draw with a little luck.

In fact, Bangor were just 2-1 down with five minutes to go when the tireless Mark Lappin had a chance and his shot grazed the outside of the post.

That Bangor stayed in the game was in no small part to being well set-up, organised and using all the experience at their disposal. But alongside that experience the youth of John Darragh, Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez and Calvin Alfred played superbly. Young Patrick Boyd on the wing was excellent, eclipsing even his father Gareth who also ran himself to a standstill.

In the first half Bangor absorbed a tremendous amount of pressure with veteran full-backs Graeme Patterson and Rickie Parker setting the standard. And when the defence was breached Banbridge found Sam Moore in excellent form in goal.

But Banbridge did turn around at the break ahead with a one goal lead when their pressure and possession was rewarded with a reverse stick goal struck from the very edge of the circle.

Bangor got to half-time, reassessed and came out in the second half to play even better hockey. Lappin and the non-stop Ryan Garland were dominating midfield and Bangor were starting to make their mark at the other end of the field. Roger Irvine chased everything on the wings and the introduction of Alfred gave Bangor a new attacking threat.

Their goal came when Simon Hunter won a penalty corner and skipper James Mottashaw did what he has been doing to teams in Junior League One all season, powering the ball past the goalkeeper into the bottom corner.

Bangor had other half chances but as Banbridge turned the screw the pressure began to tell. Just once a tackle was missed and the Bangor scramble defence couldn’t cover, leaving Moore exposed and Banbridge’s centre forward made it 2-1.

For the last five minutes Bangor threw men forward but in truth they had run their race and were picked off on the counter attack in the final seconds for a third home goal that made the game look much easier for Banbridge than it truly was.

There are no games this weekend because of Easter but the Seconds are back in action against Newry on April 2nd. Mottashaw is keen to finish the season on a high note with a couple of positive performances and if the effort levels match those of last week he might just get what he wants.

Many thanks to those that stepped up to help the Seconds last weekend. Either playing in Junior One for the first time or the first time in a couple of decades. It was much appreciated by the team and shows the depth of talent the club can still call upon. Many of them will play for the Seconds, if not the Firsts, much more.

Bangor MHC 1 vs 2 Campbellians

Bangor lost 2-1 to Campbell on Saturday afternoon at the Aurora Sports Complex in a hugely frustrating afternoon for the home side.

Bangor put in their best performance of the second half of the season but a couple of key decisions did not go their way and eventually Campbell ran out fortunate winners. Scott Parker will now need to look to the future with his young side, with promotion all but ruled out for this season.

Bangor started the match promisingly playing much the better hockey. A change in formation had seen Ryan Burgess move to sweeper and James Trimble marking Campbell danger man Joel Eastlea out of the match. These changes in tactics provided instant results as Bangor dominated possession in the first half with Campbell rarely providing an attacking threat. Bangor poured forward at every opportunity but struggled to find the final ball that would unlock the Campbell defence.

The breakthrough came in the 21st minute with a fine Bangor move. The imperious Bryan Hamilton won the ball in defence before slipping it down the line to Michael McComb. McComb sprinted for the by line and fired the ball across the box for Harry Dow to finish smartly past the Campbell goalkeeper. It was no more than the home side deserved and the visitors were rocking. Bangor continued to heap pressure upon the Campbell defence but could not add to their lead. Nevertheless it had been a great first half from Bangor as they took the lead into the break.

Half Time: Bangor 1-0 Campbell

The second half proved to be the most controversial of the season so far. Bangor started it on the front foot, attacking at will. At this stage, if anything, it looked as if it would be the home side that would double their advantage and take a decisive lead in the match. That moment looked to have arrived in the 45th minute when the ball broke in the box to Andrew Crean, playing his first Senior League match, and he forced it home. The goal was awarded and Bangor celebrated before taking their places back in their own half for the push back. The joy was short-lived however as the other umpire ruled the goal out as it had appeared to have hit a Bangor foot in the run up to the goal.

Bangor took this with good grace and accepted the umpire’s decision. Less than three minutes later the ball hit a Campbell foot before it was smashed into a Bangor foot in the Bangor circle. Instead of giving a free out, as everyone in the ground was expecting, the umpires collectively awarded a short corner after consultation. From the short corner, Campbell equalised. It is true when you are down, bad decisions seem to go your way and this shocking decision changed the whole momentum of this match as it was now the visitors who were on the front foot.

Campbell were now on top as the game entered the last ten minutes. They forced in a winner with eight minutes to go, again with a suspicion of obstruction in the build up that was overlooked. Although Campbell won the match, Bangor can be extremely proud of there efforts. With many key players missing this was a fine performance and one that bodes well for the future.

Full Time: Bangor 1-2 Campbell

Scorer: Dow

Annual Club Dinner – Friday 22nd April

The Annual Club Dinner has been confirmed as Friday 22nd April 2016 at Carnalea Golf Club, 7pm for 7.30pm sit down.

Jacket and Tie – contact Timmy Campbell for Club Tie (£10) ~ new stock recently received.

Please contact Ryan Tate (077 0839 2311) to confirm your attendance and make payment.

As with every year, this event tends to be a sell out so confirm your attendance and make payment as soon as possible.

Bangor 1 v 4 QUB

Bangor slumped to another crushing league defeat against QUB at the Dub on Saturday.

The 4-1 reverse means that Bangor will now have to win their remaining matches and rely on other results going their way if they are to gain promotion to the Premier League next season. Disappointing as this game was Bangor are now looking to the future and will look back on a season that promised so much.

Bangor started the match brightly but tragically found themselves behind after only five minutes. Queens forced a short corner after finding a foot on the edge of the circle before converting from the drag flick. Six minutes later it was 2-0 after QUB fired home from close range. It would have been easy for Bangor to be dejected and throw in the towel but they tallied valiantly. Throughout the remainder of the first half Bangor were arguably the better side.

The visitors got a reprieve after fine work by the lion-hearted David Edwards unlocked the Queens defence feeding the rabid Michael McComb who slotted home with aplomb of a defender. Bangor pressed and pressed to get back on to level terms but the final ball was found lacking and they could not muster an equaliser. Tragedy struck on the stoke of half time when Queens added a third and took what looked like an unassailable lead. The third goal was harsh on Bangor but the clinical finishing of the Queens forwards had to be admired.

Half Time: Queens 3-1 Bangor MHC

Queens killed the game early in the second half by adding a fourth. This devastating blow meant that the game was over as a contest. Bangor battled to get back into the match but alas it was to no avail. The game petered out as Queens withstood any pressure that Bangor could bring to bear. It has been a disappointing period and the season, but the Bangor team now must believe they can get a win against Campbell on Saturday.

Full Time: Queens 4-1

Scorer: McComb

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