Bangor 4th XI 6 vs 2 Antrim 3rd XI

Emphatic win for the 4ths

Bangor fourths continued their winning ways in emphatic style at Aurora against Antrim 3s on Saturday

Antrim started the stronger and dominated the early stages as Bangor needlessly give the ball away, and deservedly took the lead through defensive lapses in the Bangor rear-guard.

Bangor gradually got into the game but spurned, many chances until firstly Parker skilfully reversed past the keeper to level the scores and then the returning Roger Irvine gave Bangor fortunate lead going into half time.

After a few stern words at half time, Bangor improved massively as Antrim’s heads went down and Bangor ran out eventual winners 6-2 to assure them of Junior 5 status and give them an outside chance of promotion if they can win their remaining 3 games this season.

Thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring

Man of the match

Calvin Alfred

Bangor 2nd XI 1 vs 2 Lisnagarvey 4th XI

Bangor Seconds completed a very successful season in disappointing fashion with a 2-1 loss to Lisnagarvey Fourths in the McClements Cup Final on Saturday.

Earlier in the week a 3-2 win over Banbridge – with skipper Mark Lappin scoring a last minute winner – had secured the Seconds third place in Junior League One

A superb achievement when competing against the might of the Irish Hockey League clubs but it proved to be the high point of the season as the Seconds failed to live up to expectations in the cup final.

Lisnagarvey were worth their win and proved far harder to break down than many teams Bangor had faced in the league and cup this season. The Seconds were well supported on finals day but the biggest crowd of the season couldn’t roar Bangor over the line.

The Hillsborough men were the quicker out of the traps and dominated the opening exchanges. In fact, it wasn’t until they took the lead after 15 minutes that Bangor began to play. A long cross from the right was deflected twice and left Sam Moore in goal stranded.

This clearly focused minds and Bangor began to find some tempo. Chris Campbell was driving the team forward from midfield and on several occasions the Lisnagarvey defence resorted to foul means to stop him. In the first half alone Lisnagarvey had four men sent to the sin-bin.

But Bangor got better as the half progressed and drew level from their fourth penalty corner. It was Campbell who scored, turning skilfully after receiving a pass from Lappin.

The second half was a scrappy, unstructured midfield tussle. Bangor had more ball, Lisnagarvey were content to frustrate and slow the game down. Simon Hunter went close after being played in by Simon Cox but chances for the Seasiders were at a premium.

Lisnagarvey created even fewer opportunities but critically, midway through the half, they did what Bangor could not and capitalised on one such chance with a close in deflection making it 2-1.

For the remaining 15 minutes Bangor tried to impose themselves on the game. Campbell went close at the end of the swift counter-attack but the Lisnagarvey goalkeeper was rarely tested and as time ran out it was apparent that Bangor weren’t going to end the season with a cup win.

Losing the final was a bitter pill to swallow after a very successful season but Lappin’s team can be very proud of their achievements in both league and cup. The finished three places higher in the league, scored more goals and conceded fewer than last season. The also had to win three tight games to get to the final and perhaps the core of the squad ran out of the steam by the time they got there.

South Antrim 5th XI 2 vs 5 Bangor 4th XI

Important win for the 4ths

Bangor fourths returned to winning way in emphatic style at a sun soaked Friends School Lisburn on Saturday against a strong South Antrim 5s.

Bangor travelled to Lisburn with a mixture of apprehension and a cloudy haze as a result of the excesses of a very enjoyable club dinner and the co-captains 40 birthday the night before, and thoughts of an important victory were somewhat optimistic!!

South Antrim started the stronger and dominated the early stages as Bangor needlessly give the ball away, however Bangor gradually got back into the game due the strong running of youngsters Marcus Ross, Mark Squance and Ross McCoey Allen and the stout defence of Hopkins, McMillan and Patterson.

McCoey-Allen’s hard running was rewarded soon after as he latched on to a through ball from McMillan and expertly found the net in sublime fashion to give Bangor a vital lead before half time.

After a ‘rousing’ team talk at half time from the co-captains on how Bangor needed to keep it tight for the first 10 minutes of the second half…Bangor conceded a goal within the first minute of the half and the game was in the balance again with the next goal vital.

Bangor won a short corner soon after through good work from the impressive Parker and Squance which led to a rasping effort from Patterson getting stopped on the line by a defender’s foot and it was Patterson himself who coolly slotted the penalty flick to give Bangor the advantage again.

Again the call was to ‘keep it tight’ and again South Antrim broke and scored through some sloppy defending and many would have thought the previous night’s excesses would now take its toll.

Happily it was to prove the opposite as Bangor then played arguably their best hockey of the season as they totally dominated the last quarter of the game. Hopkins scored from a short corner rebound and then Squance skilfully turned in a Patterson short corner to make it 4-2 and the vital 3 points in the bag.

However the moment of the match and perhaps the season was still to come as a beautifully flowing move started from the back and with a series of intricate passing between Parker, Ross, McCoey Allen and finished off in style by Squance, provided the icing on the cake for a weary but jubilant Bangor 4s.

With most of the province’s hockey players having retired their sticks for the season, Bangor 4s are still in the business end of their season with 4 games still to play and promotion or relegation still possible outcomes and have a important game on Saturday at home to Antrim 3s at 1pm.

 

Man of the match

Mark Squance

 

 

Cookstown 2nd XI 3 vs 3 Bangor 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds earned a hard fought point in an entertaining 3-3 draw away to Cookstown on Saturday.

On a scorching hot day the Seconds battled for every ball and grabbed a draw in an end-to-end game.

It was the beginning of a hectic end to the season as they play three games in eight days, ending their league campaign and taking part in the McClements Cup Final at Stormont on Saturday. They face Lisnagarvey Fourths at 3pm.

But before the excitement of the cup final there’s the league to finish and the point picked up in Cookstown means Mark Lappin’s men have more points than last season with one game still to go. The previous midweek Bangor had scrapped their way to another 3-3 draw with Lisnagarvey Seconds in Hillsborough with Sam Moore outstanding in goal and Simon Hunter scoring all three goals.

So they travelled to Cookstown with confidence and this was immediately reflected when Bangor took an early lead through Player of the Year, Chris Campbell. The livewire midfielder carving his own opening by running through the home defence and powering the ball past the goalkeeper from an acute angle.

Cookstown had more possession in the first half but Bangor were content to sit tight, frustrate them and strike on the counter attack. Alistair McVicar organised his back four well and the midfield in front of them ran hard against opponents who moved the ball quickly.

And Cookstown never really looked like scoring until Bangor gifted them the ball 30 yards from goal. Two quick passes later Moore was left exposed and the Cookstown forward fired the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1.

On an extremely sapping day the second half proved more open with chances regularly at both ends. Cookstown took an early lead just minutes into the second period but Bangor responded magnificently.

They tightened up at the back and used the ball more sensibly on the break. And most importantly started winning penalty corners. From their second set-piece Bangor drew level when skipper Lappin, stepping in for the absent Adam Reading, scored with a flick that appeared to take two or three deflections to wrong-foot the Cookstown goalkeeper.

And then eight minutes later Bangor regained the lead from another penalty corner. This time the ball was switched to Hunter and he beat the goalkeeper at the near post to make it 3-2.

Both sides had chances to score but it was probably fair that Cookstown were the team to grab the next, and final, goal. Moore had made several saves and Ryan Garland always seemed to be on hand to clear his lines, but a lucky ricochet teed up the Cookstown centre forward and his superb finish on his reverse side left Moore with no chance.

Before the game Bangor would have perhaps settled for a draw but given they twice led against good quality opposition there was a slight sense of disappointment at the final whistle. Still, it’s on to the next challenge of a midweek game against Banbridge and then the McClements Cup Final on Saturday.

Having beaten Lisnagarvey Thirds already on the cup run and recently drawn with their Seconds in the league Bangor must enter the final against their Fourths as favourites but they would be wise to rid themselves of any complacency. No Lisnagarvey team is ever a pushover and the list of cup final upsets across all sports is plentiful. The final starts at 3pm on the water-based pitch at Stormont. All support is very welcome.

South Antrim 4th XI 8 vs 1 Bangor 5th XI

Bangor travelled to Lisburn on a glorious afternoon to face South Antrim 4s who are in a division above.

The home team were by far the better team at the start and went 2-0 up in the first half with a lovely move in open play and a fortuitous corner.

Bangor came close when Wilson was one on one with the keeper but his shot was saved.

Half Time South Antrim 2 Bangor 0

The second half was a strange affair with Bangor having possession but conceding goals despite the heroics of Wilkinson in goal. The home team ended up scoring 3 more, mostly tap ins, before Jeffers scored from a well taken drag flick at a corner.

Despite Bangor making great efforts, another 3 goals we’re conceded ending in a 8-1 victory for the stronger team by quite a distance.

Full Time

South Antrim 8 Bangor 1

The second half was a strange affair with Bangor having possession but conceding goals despite the heroics of Wilkinson in goal. The home team ended up scoring 3 more, mostly tap ins, before Jeffers scored from a well taken drag flick at a corner.

Despite Bangor making great efforts, another 3 goals we’re conceded ending in a 8-1 victory for the stronger team by quite a distance.

Full Time

South Antrim 8 Bangor 1

Antrim 3rd XI 2 v 1 Bangor 4th XI

The Fourths travelled to Lough Neagh Sports Forum on Saturday to face Antrim Thirds in the Cup.

With both teams sitting mid-table in the league it was going to be a close affair.  And travelling with only 11 players, half of which are regulars for the 5s, it was to prove a tough challenge.

Over recent games Bangor have developed a habit of starting games slow, inviting the opposition to boss the play. This has inevitably given teams a one or two goal advantage and Saturday was no different.  The opening 5 minutes saw Antrim move the ball with more confidence and precision from the defence, through the midfield to the attackers.

From one such attack Bangor gifted Antrim a penalty corner with a poor tackle which they took advantage of.  1-0 Antrim.  Bangor re-grouped quickly, and with the experienced partnership of Duncan Morris & Dave Impey in defence, & Gavin Moore & Ricky Parker in midfield, they began to control the game and move the ball with greater focus and speed.  Marcus Ross & Mark Squance created space with their interlinking runs allowing for quick counter attacks.

Bangor were rewarded for their efforts mid-way through the 1st half when Ricky Parker played a direct ball into the circle for Marcus to control and pass to Mark Squance who slotted in with ease. 1-1.

Antrim piled the pressure on Bangor for the remainder of the half however some strong defending from young Matthew Squance, Lewis Ayton & Ross Mc-Coey Allen stopped Antrim from threatening Bangor’s goal from open play.  Bangor were glad to be going in to the interval all square following a barrage of penalty-corners from Antrim shortly before the interval.  The speed of Squance off the line but huge pressure on the Nos 1 hitter who only managed one effort on goal which was saved by Tim Acheson.

The second half started in a similar manner to the first with Antrim dictating the play.  Bangor defended deeper than planned however this did allow for some great counter attacking by Stevie Ferguson, Marcus & Mark.  One such attack started with a quick ball out from Duncan to Stevie who controlled the ball then spread it to Marcus on the left.  Squance made a defence splitting run into the circle where he received a lovely through ball from Marcus only to be forced wide by the keeper.  More pressure followed with Bangor having several short corners, two of which tested the Antrim keeper.

As the players began to tire in the heat, the team began to lose it’s structure. Antrim threatened the Bangor goal with some direct balls with a number of direct balls into the circle. One such ball was lifted into a Bangor players knee in the circle only for a short corner to be rewarded to the home team.  After challenging the umpire on the decision the penalty corner remained and Antrim, possibly realising their luck, took advantage with a strike bottom left of the Bangor goal.  2-1 Antrim

Bangor’s frustration grew as some ’50/50’s decisions didn’t seem to be going their way. Despite this they continued to attack with pace and determination however Bangor couldn’t find the equaliser to take the game to extra time.  Bangor will now turn their focus back to the league where the face table-toppers Civil Service on Wednesday evening.

Congratulations to Man of the Match & goalscorer Mark Squance who put in a great effort

Lisnagarvey 4th XI 5 vs 0 Bangor 3rd XI

Thirds Crash Out of Cup

The Thirds made the trip to a sun kissed Comber Road, Hillsborough last Saturday afternoon to take on Lisnagarvey Fourths in the quarter final of this years McClements Cup.

A match in which the Bangor side were never going to be favourites to progress from, was duly justified by the final whistle as the home side ran out comfortable 5-0 winners.

In the first half the Thirds did hold their own for the most part, but that was largely thanks to schoolboy Ross Miller in goal who made some fine stops. It was only a minute from the interval when Lisnagarvey broke the deadlock from a penalty corner, an award that really ought to have been prevented by the visiting defence.

Whilst there was only one goal in it the Thirds always had a chance, but 10 minutes into the second period that chance was quickly erased. The Hillsborough men upped the tempo, scored twice in quick succession, and were just too good on the day against a very lacklustre Bangor side. Lisnagarvey added a further 2 goals before the end, whilst the Thirds struggled to create a single chance in their opponents circle.

A bad day at the office for Gareth Stranaghans  men where it appeared many were already on their summer holidays.  One league fixture remains for the Thirds, away to Mossley seconds on Tuesday 25th, and the team no doubt will want to finish what has been a successful league campaign with a much improved performance than what was served up last Saturday. Especially on a night when their skipper calls time on his playing career.

Player of the match last Saturday was again Ross Miller.

Team: R Miller, G.Patterson, G.Boyd, R.Irvine, C.Thompson, S.Robinson, D.Stewart, J.Riordan, J.Macafee, P.Boyd, G.Stranaghan (c), I.Hart.

Bangor 2nd XI 4 v 3 Lisnagarvey 3rd XI

A dramatic late, late winner from Chris Campbell propelled Bangor Seconds into the semi-finals of the McClements Cup on Saturday as they beat Lisnagarvey Thirds 4-3.

At one stage Bangor looked comfortable at 3-1 but Lisnagarvey bounced back to level an entertaining game with five minutes to go.

However, they couldn’t stop the undoubted man of the match Campbell as he surged through their defence and slammed an unstoppable reverse stick past the goalkeeper to give Bangor the win.

The Seasiders had started the game slowly and after 12 minutes Lisnagarvey took the lead when their centre forward deflected home from a left wing cross.

But Bangor stuck to their task making good progress down the right flank and gradually the chances started to come. It was no surprise when Campbell burst through the visitors defence and crossed for Zach McKee to finish well at the back post and level the score.

Other first half chances weren’t taken and the sides turned around all square. The second half opened up as both sides tired on a draining, hot day and it was Bangor that exploited the spaces better.

As Alistair McVicar kept his back four solid the attacking players prospered from the firm base and started to create good opportunities. From one such move Adam Reading fed Simon Hunter in the circle and from his pull-back Campbell slapped home to give Bangor the lead for the first time.

And Campbell returned the favour just minutes later to extend the home side’s lead. A Bangor penalty corner seemed to have gone wrong and Lisnagarvey counter-attacked, only to be stopped by McVicar. The ball was then transferred quickly from McLean to Campbell to Hunter and the centre-forward deflected the ball past the diving Lisnagarvey goalkeeper.

Bangor seemed to be cruising towards the semi-finals at this stage but a brief spell of panic almost cost them. Out of nowhere Lisnagarvey scrambled a second goal and just two minutes later from a penalty corner they forced home a third.

The home side appeared to be reeling and Lisnagarvey’s dander was definitely up. They were suddenly back in the game after being on the back foot for most of it. But Campbell almost immediately extinguished that hope with a fine solo goal and Bangor held on in the final few minutes to keep their cup dream alive.

The Seconds had played a Junior League One game midweek as they beat Annadale 2-1 at Bangor Grammar. Again, it was that man Campbell with a late winner after Hunter had equalised midway through the second half. It meant Bangor had beaten Annadale home and away in the league, fitting revenge for losing to them in the Irish Junior Cup before Christmas.

It also briefly pushed them up to third in Junior League One with three games left to play. There’s no game this weekend because of Easter but Bangor are next in action away to Banbridge on Saturday April 22nd.

Bangor 1 vs 3 Antrim

Bangor continue poor run with frustrating lose against Antrim

Bangor welcomed Antrim to Bangor Aurora on Saturday and knew a defeat would end their chances of promotion this season.

The game started in the worst way possible for Bangor with them yet again conceding a goal within the first 5 minutes which immediately put the pressure on them. The first half fizzed out with neither team creating clear cut chances but Bangor arguably having better possession and more attacks into the Antrim circle but couldn’t capitalise.

Half-Time: Bangor 0 – 1 Antrim

Bangor started the 2nd half better creating a few chances but there were no clear-cut chances being created. Bangor began to build the pressure on Antrim with much of the play being in their half. Then Antrim handed Bangor a sucker punch when they broke on the counter attack and an excellent team goal saw Seay stranded and Antrim scored their 2nd. Minutes later Antrim had a 3rd when the attacking spun at the top and fire the ball high past Seay.

Bangor’s best moment of the match came in the last minute when McClune, McComb and Cunningham linked to score an excellent team goal in the dying seconds.

Full Time: Bangor 1 – 3 Antrim

Scorer: McComb

Bangor 4th XI 3 vs 2 Instonians 4th XI

Bangor 4ths took to the pitch at BGS keen to avenge the 3-2 defeat by Instonians earlier in the season, when Bangor had played so well but lost to an unusually strong Friday night Inst 4th XI side.

It was a different looking line up for Inst this Saturday afternoon, but the visitors started strongly and ran hard at Bangor who were far too passive and disoragnised in their shape and marking.

A needless foul in the Bangor half resulted in an early short corner for Inst and they duly converted from the breakdown of the corner to take a 1-0 lead. Whilst Bangor started to improve their play, the ball was lost (again needlessly) in the Bangor half and Inst quickly broke forward to overrun the defence and take an early 2-0 lead.

As the half wore on Bangor improved and Coghlin marshaled the defence of Thompson, Moore and McMillan who soon stifled the visitors’ attacking options. Holley began to pull the strings in midfield, assisted by the hard running of Irvine and Bell, but it took some time before Bangor began to threaten the Instonians goal. Alfred’s transition to the front line – ably supported by Squance, Riordan and Ross – soon paid off when he got the first Bangor goal.

The second goal for Bangor, and for Alfred, followed soon after and Inst were now looking a bit rattled. Bangor didn’t have to wait long for their third and it was Riordan (who had caused the Inst defence problems all day) who calmly netted a lovely ball from Ross. Half time score: 3-2

Bangor could, and probably should have had more in the second half, but numerous short corners went unrewarded due to a combination of a solid Inst keeper and the occasional case of the Yips from the Bangor injector. Inst finished the stronger of the teams after a late surge but in all honesty did not directly threaten the Bangor goal much in the second half and Bangor escaped with a much needed three points which were almost squandered against the bottom side in the league.

Thanks to Timmy Campbell for umpiring.

Man of the match: Calvin Alfred.

Team: Wilkinson, Coghlin, Hopkins, Moore, Thompson, McMillan, Irvine, Alfred, Ross, Riordan, Ferguson, Squance, Holley, Bell.

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