Vital 3 Points for Thirds
Bangor Thirds welcomed Annadale thirds to the Aurora last Saturday afternoon for their latest Junior League 2 fixture, and Gareth Stranaghans’ side produced a workmanlike performance to claim all 3 points thanks to a 3-0 victory.
The contest began with Annadale pulling all the strings and pressuring the thirds defence, but Graham Larmour assumed the lead role as he marshalled the Bangor rearguard action. Chris Wilkinson in goal, when called upon, was able to deny the visiting forwards with some fine stops, and it was a total team effort for the thirds to keep the visitors at bay in these early exchanges. However as the game settled the thirds soon began to impose themselves, particularly on the right side of the pitch where stalwart Allister McVicar was time and again combining with schoolboy Patrick Boyd. Scott Parker had the first decent chance but his shot just shaded the post, but minutes later he turned provider for young Boyd to score from close in and give his side the lead.
Half time, 1-0.
The game was now more evenly poised, as Bangor had got to grips with the Annadale style of play and were nullifying their opponents extremely well. That said, the visitors did press again at the beginning of the second half, but again the thirds held on with some excellent defending. David Stewart was tireless in the middle of the park as he closed down in defence, and was the catalyst for the counters as he time and again found willing runners in Robin Coughlin and youngsters Andrew Creane and Calvin Alfred. The thirds doubled their advantage midway through the half when a long overhead from Larmour wasn’t cleared by the Annadale defence, and when McVicar broke with the ball on the right side of the circle he spotted his skipper lurking at the left post, and a rasping pass evaded the goalkeeper and duly left Stranaghan with the simplest of tasks. 2-0. This second goal only added to the home sides confidence and the last 10 or 15 minutes saw the game open up a bit as Annadale were also now pressing at every opportunity in an attempt to get back in the game. However it was the thirds that added to their lead with an exquisite third goal. This time Gareth Boyd picked up the ball in midfield, fed Stranaghan on the right who once in the circle spotted the rampaging Coughlin who dived and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the goal. Full time, 3-0.
A tremendous and deserved victory for the thirds against a decent and experienced Annadale side, and of course a much valued 3 points. Next week it’s the same opponent, this time in Carryduff, and no doubt the team will need to produce something similar to have any hope of coming away with any sort of reward.
Man of the Match for the Bangor team was David Stewart, and a word of mention also to Callum Thompson who had a steady debut for the thirds. Many thanks to Timmy Campbell and Jon Scott for umpiring.
Team: Wilkinson, Stranaghan (c), Armstrong-Sanchez, Larmour, Stewart, G.Boyd, Patterson, Boyd P, Creane. McVicar, Coughlin R, Thompson, Alfred, Parker.