Ballymena 2nd XI 2 v 0 Bangor 5th XI


Bangor 5ths travelled to the scenic surroundings of Ballymena Academy on a beautiful sunny autumnal afternoon but despite playing well lost 0-2.

Ballymena started brightly with the majority of possession but were unable to test stand-in keeper, Martin, with Campbell, Blackwood and Squance defending well.

Bangor gained confidence in their new system with Ross, Savage and Taylor running the Ballymena defence and restricting them to long and hopeful passes.

Despite Bangor having the better chances, Ballymena opened the scoring with a long ball into the circle and touched home at the far post.

Smyth and McCoey Allen were combining well on the right side and a cross to Ross ended with a great save from the home keeper.

The second half began as the first with Ballymena dominant but Parker, Impey and Allen gained confidence and greater possession. Bangor earned the only penalty corner of the game but missed their chance. Ballymena scored their second, similar to the first, when a long ball was deflected at the far post.

Bangor responded brightly and the move of the match ended with Bangor shooting wide when it looked more likely to score.

All in all, a very positive performance.

Cookstown 5th XI 4 – 5 Bangor 4th XI

It was an 11-man squad that made the long journey to Cookstown for a 4pm game on Saturday, with Matthew Sanchez bravely stepping in to play in nets in the absence of the regular goalkeeper.

In a man of the match display, the cat-like Sanchez pulled off save after save, keeping Bangor in contention, and was only eventually outdone by some deadly drag flicking at short corners from a Cookstown substitute.

Despite being under pressure early in the first half, it was Bangor who opened the scoring with a thunderbolt of a short corner from Captain Hopkins which reverberated around the Coolnafranky Sports Ground and silenced the Cookstown crowd of four.

A second short corner boomer followed soon after, and when Mark Squance neatly took a through ball from Callum Thompson on his reverse and turned to slot it in at the corner, Bangor found themselves 3-0 up at half time.

A resurgent Cookstown piled on the pressure early in the second half and after a string of saves from short corners, the dam finally broke and Cookstown quickly hit 4 goals without reply, 3 from a vastly improved short corner routine following a change in their line up.  Bangor were reeling and ill-discipline began to creep in but, inspired by the lyrics of “Chumbawumba”, despite being knocked down this side got back up again and came back into it.

By now the Cookstown keeper was running scared at short corners and when Hopkins got his hat trick from the top of the ‘D’ it was a tied game.

Not content with a draw, Bangor pushed forward, largely through Boyd, Hart and Irvine in midfield, and a nice combination of passes down the left saw Kyle Clarke take a ball at chest height and knock it into the back of the net.  Frantic defending marshalled by the ever-present Huw Thompson held Cookstown out, and Bangor held on to claim a valuable 5-4 scalp.

Team: Sanchez, H. Thompson, Moore, Hopkins, C. Thompson, Irvin, Parker, Hart, Boyd, Clarke, Squance.

Bangor 3rd XI 2 v 3 Raphoe 2nd XI

Thirds Suffer Last Minute Loss​​​​​

Bangor Thirds opened their season with a cup game against Raphoe seconds at a sun kissed Bangor Aurora last Saturday afternoon.

Captained again by stalwart Gareth Stranaghan, the thirds this season will find a somewhat tougher range of opponents following their promotion winning season last term.  This contest against the Donegal men fully epitomised that, as the thirds lost a two goal advantage when they were caught napping in the final quarter of the game.

The opening half was an evenly contested one, with both sides enjoying sustained periods of possession.  As the half wore on the thirds did begin to impose themselves with some threatening probings particularly on the right with both Andrew Creane and Jack Riordan at the forefront.  Scott Parker was denied twice by some excellent saves from the young visiting goalkeeper, whilst Calvin Alfred also had a decent chance thwarted from mid circle.  However the Bangor side did break the deadlock when Phil Skelly spotted a marauding Stranaghan in the circle, and when he fired towards his path the skipper added the subtle deflection goalward to claim his and his side’s opening goal of the new season.

Before the half the seasiders were dealt a double flow when first Aaron Stubbs and then Andrew Creane picked up injuries, and could no longer continue, leaving the thirds with just 11 fit players.  Nevertheless they started brightly and caught the Raphoe rearguard napping again, and Stranaghan again scored from close in following a neat lay off from Parker.  2-0. Raphoe responded almost immediately, reducing the deficit after the home defence were slow to clear their lines.  This gave the visitors the boost they needed and it was not long after when they restored parity to make it 2-2.  And the thirds misery was complete two minutes from time as a deft deflection from a Raphoe forward flew past a hapless Chris Wilkinson.

Whilst a defeat it was an encouraging performance from the thirds, and certainly one they can hopefully learn from going forward as the least they deserved was a draw.

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

Team: Wilkinson, Skelly, Stranaghan (c), Stubbs, Riordan, Moore, Alfred, Parker, Boyd P, Robinson, Patterson, Creane, Garland.

Bangor 2nd XI 5 v 3 Banbridge 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds got their season off to an impressive start with a 5-3 victory over Banbridge Seconds in the league cup at the Aurora on Saturday.

New skipper Mark Lappin led his team into battle for the first time and can be very happy with how things are shaping up for the season.

The experienced spine of the team remains but the Seconds have added some more youth to the team at both ends of the pitch and former Bangor player Chris Campbell has returned to the club after seven seasons away playing for Annadale.

Banbridge were always going to be awkward customers for the first game of the season but Lappin’s men started strongly and apart from a wobbly period before half-time were definitely the better side. Bangor took the lead after just 10 minutes when a strong Campbell tackle turned the ball over, Zack McKee found Simon Hunter and the centre forward slipped past two men in the circle and flicked past the goalkeeper at the near post.

But Banbridge were soon level when a long ball down the centre was allowed to travel too far and their centre forward nipped in to deflect the ball past Ross Miller in goal.

For the remainder of the half the game swung from end to end. Bangor looked dangerous and creative going forward but were a little too open and always likely to offer chances on the counter attack. Following a strong run by Robin Coughlin, Hunter had a shot well saved and Campbell was on hand to lash in the rebound.

Again the lead didn’t last long and again Bangor exposed a soft underbelly that Banbridge took advantage of to level the scores. However, Bangor had yet to unveil their secret weapon and when the side needed him James Mottashaw stepped up. The big defender is lethal from penalty corners and from Bangor’s first set-piece he fired an unstoppable flick into the bottom left corner of the Banbridge goal.

So Bangor were 3-2 up at the break but their second half performance guaranteed the game never become the tight contest it could have. Increasingly they controlled possession and forced Banbridge back with Stephen McLean and Adam Reading dictating the side’s tempo. Greg Shevlin came on to play well at right back and schoolboy Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez was tireless on the wing.

Chances weren’t as easy to come but Bangor kept battering away until they broke the second half deadlock. Midway through the half Mottashaw found Hunter at the top of the circle and the veteran goalscorer did the rest himself, evading three tackles before finding the bottom left corner from the middle of the circle. And a few minutes later he completed his hat-trick but this time it was due almost entirely to the work of McKee. The young winger tracked back, won the ball, carried it fully 40 metres, swapped passes with Hunter and then pulled the ball back for the centre-forward to score from close range and make it 5-2.

Banbridge did grab one goal back in the closing stages when Bangor were reduced to 10 men – Campbell getting a yellow card for a second overly enthusiastic challenge.

But that couldn’t dampen a fantastic start to the season for the Seconds. They don’t have a game this week but travel to play Lisnagarvey the following Saturday. Assignments in Junior One don’t come much more difficult than that but with the right mix of youth and experience, skill and determination, the Seconds should have nothing to fear.

Senior Coach and Junior Coach positions vacant

Dear all,

We require the following two positions for Season 2016/17 to be filled.

  1. Senior Coach (document attached)
  2. Junior Club Coach

********** For the avoidance of doubt **********

Junior Club Coach below refers to general club training for all adult playing members representing 2nd XI to 5th XI (Tuesday evenings @ 7.30pm).

If you are interest in either role we would be delighted to hear from you in advance of our AGM.

Please note that the Club AGM will be held on Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 7.30pm in Pickie Bowling Club.

Pease contact Andrew Gowdy for further information.

Positions to be filled

Dear all,

We require the following two positions for Season 2016/17 to be filled.

  1. Honorary Treasurer
  2. Honorary Secretary

If you are interest in either role we would be delighted to hear from you in advance of our AGM.

Please note that the Club AGM will be held on Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 7.30pm in Pickie Bowling Club.

Please contact Andrew Gowdy for further information.

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

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