Thirds Beaten in Donegal
Bangor Thirds made the long journey to County Donegal last Saturday afternoon to take on Raphoe Seconds in their latest Junior League Two fixture.
A highly competitive contest ensued, but it was the home side who claimed all 3 points following a close 3-2 victory.
From the outset the Raphoe team dominated proceedings. Time and again they were getting to the ball first and penetrating the Bangor defence, and on the flip side when the Thirds did gain possession of the ball it was squandered much too easily with a series of misplaced passes. Within 10 minutes of the start Raphoe had taken the lead, a through ball from midfield found a willing runner in a white shirt, and he slotted home past a wrong footed Ross Miller in the Bangor goal. The lead was soon doubled midway through the half, and again it was a soft one to concede from the Thirds’ point a view, a home forward going unchallenged and scoring from an acute angle. The thirds did see plenty of the ball in the opening half, but lacked any real penetration at the business end, a sole short corner award all they had to show for their endeavours. Half time, 2-0.
In their defence one thing Gareth Stranaghans’ side cannot be accused of this season is ever giving in. Stranaghan rallied his troops during the interval, challenging them to get the next goal to put them right back in the game. After an early scare in the opening minutes of the second half, in general the Thirds dominated for large periods and did indeed force their way back into the game when they pulled it back to 2-1. And what a beautifully crafted goal it was too. Stevie Robinson picked up the ball in the Raphoe half and drove forward, weighted a delightful through ball to schoolboy Patrick Boyd and when he squared to his strike partner Stranaghan, the captain had the simplest of tasks to find the net. The Thirds continued to increase in confidence, and were now creating numerous problems for the Raphoe defence. Jack Riordan was tireless in his running across the front, whilst Andy Hamilton was tenacious just behind him and the catalyst for many of the Bangor attacks. Stranaghan ought to have made it 2-2 but fluffed his lines at a penalty corner, whilst a David Stewart high effort was tipped over by the home custodian. Another well orchestrated attack resulted in a Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez effort slipping agonisingly inches wide of the post. In defence the Thirds looked more assured, with Calvin Alfred impressive in this second period as he read the danger signs, intercepted and released the ball to a yellow shirt with such simplicity time and time again. However, the Thirds were then hit with a sucker punch with just 10 minutes to play, a Raphoe counter attack leaving the defence exposed and when Miller advanced the Raphoe forward was able to direct it past him and into the net. Minutes later the Thirds again reduced the deficit, Andy Hamilton firing home from a short corner, but it was all too late. The homes side comfortably held on for the victory as time just ran out for the battling Bangor side. Final score, 3-2.
Many thanks to Desi Mitchell for transporting the team there and back, and for his support on the day.
Man of the Match for the Bangor team was Andy Hamilton.
Team: R.Miller, G.Stranaghan (c), D.Stewart, R.Garland, J Riordan, A.Hamilton, M.Armstrong-Sanchez, C.Alfred, P.Boyd, M.Coughlin, Ri.Parker, S.Robinson.