Bangor 4th XI 3 vs 4 South Antrim 5th XI


Unfortunately the new year ultimately did not herald a new start for the 4th XI and the frustrating pre-Christmas routine of mixing good play with bad continued and ultimately resulted in the first league defeat for the team.

Despite the impassioned entreaties of the captain to start strongly, the long break from hockey and the excesses of the festive period were evident as a sluggish Bangor saw South Antrim move the ball freely and create chances with ease.

Sloppy marking meant Bangor found themselves 2-0 down after only 20 minutes.   A Patterson short corner reduced the deficit to 2-1 at half time and Bangor finished the half the brighter of the two sides.

The spell of good play continued after the break and a lovely through ball from Irvine put Calvin Alfred on a jinking run through the flat-footed South Antrim defence before he call finished it to level the scores at 2-2.  Unfortunately the pendulum soon swung back the other way and Bangor were slow to react to the breakdown of a South Antrim short corner, leaving the energetic Kent stranded and allowing South Antrim to slot their third from close range: 2-3.

Credit to Bangor, they didn’t lie down and it was not long before they netted the equaliser with a stunning overhead finish from Isaac Hart: 3-3.  Whilst Bangor were in the ascendancy, South Antrim always looked threatening on the break, and on one such foray an airshot from the South Antrim centre forward was missed by their umpire and in the melee they put in a fourth, leaving Bangor trailing once again: 3-4.

Once again Bangor showed no shortage of effort and commitment and South Antrim seemed to have run out of steam and were happy to sit behind the ball for the last 10 minutes and soak up the constant Bangor pressure.  Patterson began to probe down the middle from the back whilst Coghlin felt it was time he was unshackled from defence and allowed to roam free in the opposition half.  Jamie Parke led some probing runs down the right, linking with Irvine, Hart and Squance, but ultimately Bangor could not convert and time ran out before they could find the back of the net for the deserved equaliser.  Unfortunately a familiar feeling of missed opportunity for the team.

Thanks again to Mickey Smyth for umpiring.  Man of the match: Isaac Hart

Team: Kent, Patterson, Coghlin, Parker, Park, Hopkins, Alfred, Ross, Irvine, Squance, Ayton, Hart, Jeffrey.


Bangor 3rd XI 2 vs 2 Raphoe 2nd XI

Thirds Salvage a Point


Bangor Thirds welcomed Raphoe seconds to Bangor Grammar School last Saturday afternoon for their first fixture of 2017 and despite a somewhat lacklustre performance at times, it was a vital point earned thanks to a late goal from the thirds skipper Gareth Stranaghan.

After the holiday period the thirds started this game very slowly and it was Raphoe who were bossing the early exchanges.  Time and again they were pressing the thirds’ rearguard, and the visitors duly got their reward when they scored from a short corner which was not cleared sufficiently at the first attempt.  Indeed for most of the first half the Bangor side struggled to find any fluidity with their play, and as a result created very few opportunities.  Chris Wilkinson in the home goal was the much busier of the 2 goalkeepers and a couple of timely stops combined with some poor Raphoe finishing ensured that the thirds still had the contest within their reach come the half time interval.

Stranaghan changed the formation for the second period to try and stifle the Raphoe midfield and contain their first half domination, however in the first minute of the half Raphoe had a gilt edged opportunity to double their lead but again spurned the chance.  Eventually the thirds began to improve and were penetrating the Raphoe defence with more regularity.  Schoolboys Jack Riordan and Patrick Boyd were instrumental on the right, whilst Andy Hamilton and Stevie Robinson in midfield were picking out some through passes to the front running duo of Stranaghan and Scott Parker.  David Edge also assumed responsibility at the back in this second period, and showed immense maturity with his reading of the game and timely interventions when called upon.  A couple of penalty corners were gained, but Raphoe held firm with some excellent tackling and good goalkeeping.  Midway through the half though the thirds did get back on level terms, and as had been threatening it came from the right side.  Good work from Riordan resulted in Parker exchanging passes with Patrick Boyd, and the youngster finished with aplomb from the top of the circle.  1-1.   After this steady period of improvement the thirds made the cardinal error of conceding again soon after.  With less than 10 minutes to play the Donegal men regained the advantage, scoring from close in after penetrating from their right side.   So the points looked to be heading to Donegal but there was a final twist just as 2 minutes had been signalled by the umpires.  David Stewart showed tremendous desire to pickpocket the young Raphoe schoolboy in the left back position with a fair tackle, released Parker who in turn spotted his captain, in the right place at the right time, and Stranaghan calmly slotted past the Raphoe custodian.  Final score, 2-2.

Thanks to George Blackwood and Timmy Campbell for umpiring.  Man of the Match for the Bangor team was David Edge.

Team: Wilkinson, Stranaghan (c), Edge, Stewart, G.Boyd, J Riordan, Thompson, Hamilton, Robinson, Alfred, S Parker, P Boyd, Garland.

Bangor 2nd XI 2 vs 1 Instonians 2nd XI

Bangor Seconds got 2017 off to a flying start with a determined and professional 2-1 win over Instonians Seconds at the Aurora on Saturday.

In a game of fine margins Bangor held their nerve in the closing stages to make sure they grabbed all three points and maintain their unbeaten start to the league campaign.

The win over the Belfast side moved Bangor up to third in Junior One with almost a third of the season played. There is still a long way to go but Mark Lappin’s side have made an excellent start to the league season.

However, they didn’t make such a good start to Saturday’s game and in the first 10 minutes the Christmas cobwebs needed dusted off. But they kept at it and as the experienced midfield of Lappin, Adam Reading and Stephen McLean got to grips with the game Bangor took control.

The Seasiders opened the scoring after 15 minutes and although Chris Campbell got the goal, he owed a huge debt of gratitude to fellow striker Robin Coughlin. Coughlin took a quick free on the right wing, catching out the Instonians defence. He skipped past two challenges before crossing to Campbell who fired an unstoppable shot high into the net.

Bangor doubled their lead five minutes later and the goal was also created on the right wing. Adam Watson made great progress and Campbell then found teenager Andrew Creane in the circle. At the second attempt Creane scored the goal his excellent all-round performance merited.

Instonians upped their game in the second half and Bangor found themselves under consistent pressure. Bangor struggled to retain the ball and the back four of Alistair McVicar, James Trimble, Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez and Watson were kept busy. And when they were beaten Instonians found goalkeeper Ross Miller in fine form.

But eventually Miller was beaten to make it 2-1 and with 12 minutes to go it was a question of whether Bangor could hold on. After a few wobbles and some poor finishing from Instonians, Bangor rode out the storm and actually spent the final few minutes in the opposition circle looking for a third goal.

There was no hiding the relief when the final whistle went and although Instonians can rightfully feel disappointed to get nothing from the game, Bangor truly earned their three points. This weekend Bangor travel to play Banbridge Seconds. It will be another big test but the Seconds will go into the game confident of causing an upset.

Bangor 3 vs 0 Armagh

Bangor begin 2017 with a comfortable 3-0 win over Armagh.

Bangor hosted Armagh for their first fixtures after their long Christmas break. Bangor knew it would be no easy task as Armagh claimed the Linden Cup on New Years Day.

In the early minutes neither team seemed to take control of the game and ball with both teams unable to contain possession. Bangor began to find their flow in the game with good distribution from Edwards and Tate linking with the forwards well. The first chance of the game fell to McClune with Burgess doing excellent work down the right-hand side before giving a diagonal pass to McClune who found himself unmarked at the top of the circle, with his reverse shot being well saved by the Armagh keeper.

Bangor began to build the pressure creating chance after chance but the Armagh goalkeeper was in fine form. Bangor scored first with Burgess nicking the ball in midfield and breaking towards the circle when he found McClune unmarked in the circle, the composed McClune then squared the ball bag to Burgess who had continued his run to slot the ball into an open net.

Half-Time: Bangor 1 – 0 Armagh

Bangor spoke of being patient in the 2nd half and knew more chances would come. The 2nd half started similarly to the 1st, both teams giving the ball away needlessly and neither team could control the game. Bangor again began to build the pressure with good linking between Shevlin, Burgess and McComb in midfield with the forwards McClune, Cunningham, Riordan and McKee.

Bangor eventually made it 2-0 halfway through the 2nd half after Cunningham played the ball to Riordan down the right hand-side before cutting in and squaring the ball to McComb who slotted the ball past the Armagh keeper who had been excellent all game.

Armagh made minimal chances throughout the game with them winning short corners but Seay who had a quiet game was up to the task. Bangor made it 3-0 towards the end with Burgess and McClune linking once again which they had done so effectively throughout the game. Burgess won a free just outside the 25 when McClune made a lead to the keeper’s right hand post, Burgess saw the lead and fired the ball hard and low towards McClune who guided the ball into the Armagh net making it a comfortable 3-0 victory for Bangor.

Full-Time: Bangor 3 – 0 Armagh

Scorers: Burgess, McComb, McClune

Bangor 4th XI 2 – 2 NICS 3rd XI

After the bruising and disappointing defeat in the cup semi-final last week the chance for revenge presented itself just a week later with a league encounter against Civil Service 3rd XI at Aurora.

Once again Bangor started strongly and moved the ball calmly around the park, probing down the flanks through Alfred and Irvine with Aaron Stubbs pulling the strings from the middle. However, the Civil Service defence proved hard to crack and all that industry resulted in just one short corner, which Graeme Patterson duly converted only for it be ruled out by the umpire.  Unfortunately a slight lack of patience is the recurring them this season for Bangor and soon the play became more disjointed and less fruitful as Bangor resorted to through balls and direct runs at the Service defence, seemingly convinced such a change of approach would yield results.

The teams went into the break at 0-0 and Bangor came back out with more shape and composure.  However, it was Service who took the lead when some sloppy defending from the otherwise impenetrable back four let the Service centre forward slot a reverse strike from the top of the circle.

One thing this team can’t be faulted for is effort and commitment, and Bangor rallied well and began to move the ball well from McMillan, Coghlin and Parker at the back through to the tirelesss Boyd, with Jeffrey, Squance and Riordan running nice lines off him.

Bangor were soon rewarded for their industry and Mark Squance netted the equaliser before Marc Jeffrey put Bangor ahead shortly after.  With less than 4 minutes to go it looked line Bangor would take the points, but a lack of concentration presented Service with a gilt-edge chance which they duly took and despite some late pressure there was no time for Bangor to strike back.  Probably a fair result in the end and a vast improvement on last week.

Thanks again to Jon Scott for umpiring.  Man of the match: Graeme Patterson

Team: Wilkinson, Patterson, Coghlin, Parker, McMillan, Hopkins, Alfred, Stubbs, Irvine, Squance, Riordan, Boyd, Jeffrey.

Bangor 2nd XI 2 vs 2 Lisnagarvey 3rd XI


Bangor Seconds hosted Lisnagarvey’s 3rd XI at the Aurora Leisure Centre on Saturday for their Junior League 1 tie.  Bangor hoped to continue their recent good form which has seen them remain unbeaten in the league this season.

Following comprehensive wins against North Down and South Antrim in recent weeks, Bangor’s second string went into the game with high hopes of victory. This was in spite of the unavailability of a number of the teams more seasoned campaigners.

Bangor, for the first time this season were ‘slow out of the traps’, unable to maintain possession and spending the long periods in their defensive quarter being overrun by the visitors. The visitors took the lead on the ten-minute mark through Ryan Kee’s deflected back post effort, no more than they deserved from the opening exchanges.

To Bangor’s credit this early setback seemed to jolt the home side into action, leading to improved periods of possession and a grittier defensive display. As the half progressed the hosts gradually started to find their rhythm. Fine work led to Bangor’s opening goal, firstly by Mark Lappin, dispossessing his opposite number and secondly by Adam Reading, whose inspired supporting midfield run, left him well placed to convert Lappin’s bye line cross. The score-line was to remain 1-1 until the half time whistle, a fair reflection on an even and entertaining first period.

The second half started with Bangor in the ascendancy with Chris Campbell constantly probing the opponents circle without reward. Just as it looked as though Bangor would add to their tally, the visitors again took the lead; an error in the Bangor defence leaving Garvey’s Stuart Chisholm with a goal scoring chance which he duly converted.

Bangor again showed great character in the final quarter continuing to press their opponents, looking for an equaliser. Eventually the home side felt they got the break-through following Lappin’s initial run and Dan McNulty’s measured finish, only for the goal to be disallowed as an apologetic visiting umpire failed to play adequate advantage. As the contest entered the final five minutes, all hope of Bangor sharing the spoils appeared lost, with their opponents camped in their own twenty-five happy to breakdown each Bangor attack. Bangor were not to be denied again. Good work from Campbell and Reading led to Lappin’s penetrating run eventually leading to a Robin Coglin equaliser. This was to be the final score, a fair yet disappointing final result for the home side.

Bangor travel to Lough Moss this Saturday as their league campaign continues against Annadale seconds.

South Antim 6 vs 3 Bangor

Bangor make unfortunate stumble in league campaign in a 9-goal thriller against South Antrim.

Bangor made the trip to Lisburn to face a strong South Antrim team knowing that a win would strengthen their title challenging bid. This was a game for the spectators with 9 goals between both teams who displayed both some great attack combined with some average defending from both sides.

Bangors started on the front foot and within the first 5 minutes found themselves 1-0 up after great work from McClune and Riordan to find Cunningham in the circle who beat his defender and slotted it past the keeper. Bangor kept up the pressure and deservedly won a few short corners which they couldn’t convert. Bangor then made it 2-0 through McKee, Burgess found Cunningham who unselfishly squared it past the keeper to McKee who put it into an empty net.

The remainder of the half became scrappy from Bangors perspective and allowed South Antrim back into the game with South Antrim making it 2-2 through several reverse stick shots that left the Bangor keeper Andy Seay with no chance.

Half Time: South Antrim 2 – 2 Bangor

Unfortunately for Bangor the 2nd half didn’t get much better after speaking about staying positive considering they had given a 2 goal lead up. South Antrim continued to press and control the game and within the space of 5 minutes’ half-way through the 2nd half they scored 3 goals leaving Bangor shell-shocked.

However, Bangor replied minutes later from a short corner when the initial shot from Burgess was blocked but the ball settled after the block for him hammer a reverse shot into the roof of the net to give Bangor hope of getting a result. Bangor couldn’t get into the game after this and South Antrim controlled the game and finished Bangor of by scoring a 6th.

Full Time: South Antrim 6 – 3 Bangor

Scorers: Cunningham, McKee, Burgess

Armagh 2nd XI 4 vs 0 Bangor 5th XI

On a 2nd consecutive mild Saturday, following last week’s victory over Ballymena 2s, Bangor 5s travelled to play another 2nds team, this time Armagh.

Bangor started confidently, passing the ball around the back 4 and into midfield.

They had the majority of the goal scoring chances but found the Armagh goalkeeper in great form. Armagh had a few chances but could not find a way past Kent in the Bangor goal. However, just before the half-time whistle, a turnover led to Armagh scoring to make the half-time score 0-1

The second half was poor with Bangor continually losing possession due to poor passing. Armagh scored 3 goals in quick concession, 2 from direct shots at penalty corners. Bangor did have several golden opportunities to make the score line more respectable. Despite the score, the game was played in a really sporting manner.

Bangor man of the match was Jordan Polden.

NICS 3rd XI 6 v 0 Bangor 4th XI

Fourths lose out in Semi Finals

On Saturday at Stormont, Bangor 4s cup run came to an end in very disappointing fashion as they lost out to a strong NICS 3rd in the semi-final of the league cup.

After a week off last week, a youthful Bangor, were very wary of the threat that previously unbeaten NICS would cause and so it proved. However Bangor started off well, with Hopkins, Irvine and Ayton industrious in midfield and the Bangor defence rarely troubled. However after some poor communication in the Bangor defence, Bangor went one down and despite some pressure and Isaac Hart in particular going close, Bangor could not equalise and went into the break behind.

After a rousing team talk by coach Rachel Cairns, Bangor began the second half confident they could wrestle the advantage and get into a Christmas final for the second year in a row. However Bangor did the unthinkable and conceding an early goal through sloppy play and this was to be the story of the half. Bangor’s structure which had been strong in the opening exchanges totally broke down as NICS ran riot and Bangor’s cup run entered the ‘Final Countdown’ .The score finished 6-0 to NICS but  without the efforts of the exceptional Charlie Quinn in goal, the score could have been more expected to be seen at the nearby cricket pitch.

Bangor were disappointed with how the game went but are looking forward to right some wrongs as the teams meet again in the league this Saturday at Aurora.

Thanks to Andrew Gowdy for umpiring.

Man of the match Charlie Quinn

Annadale 3rd XI 5-3 Bangor 3rd XI

Thirds Second Best​​​​​


Bangor Thirds made the trip to Lough Moss Leisure Centre in Carryduff last Saturday afternoon for their latest Junior League 2 fixture against Annadale thirds, whom they had beaten the previous week at Bangor Aurora.  This time though it was a different story as the home side ran out easy winners against Gareth Stranaghans’ charges, who were simply second best on the day.

The thirds were undone as early as the second minute when an Annadale forward weaved his way along the bye line and beat Ross Miller in goal from an acute angle, a disappointing goal that could so easily have been avoided.  During the early exchanges it was the home side that were dominant as the Bangor side were constantly disjointed in their passing, as well as constant failure to close down the Annadale players.  Annadale added a second midway through the half from mid circle, and again the Bangor side contributed to their own downfall.  The deficit however was reduced when Jeremy Macafee pounced on a loose pass in the Annadale defence and fired home, and it appeared the thirds were back in it.  However probably the worst half of their season so far was compounded for the thirds when within 60 seconds of getting back in the game at 2-1, they allowed the home side to score again to make it 3-1 at half time.

Stranaghan tried to rally his troops at the half time interval knowing all too well that too many of his players were off the pace, but on this occasion the captain was unable to bring out that little bit extra that was needed.  Time and again Annadale were quicker to the ball, and most disappointingly for the thirds, they appeared to have too much time with the ball.  The home side added a well worked fourth goal, whilst the Bangor attacks continued in the same vein in the second half with lots of running and effort, but too many misplaced passes and poor decisions.  That said, ten minutes from time Gareth Boyd’s right wing cross was right on the money when Stranaghan controlled and turned in at the far post and there was for a minute or two just a glimmer of hope that something could be salvaged.  That was quickly extinguished when Annadale made it 5-2, whilst two minutes from time a well worked corner routine was despatched by David Stewart to make it a more respectable final scoreline of 5-3.  If truth be told the final result probably flatters the thirds, and certainly skipper Stranaghan will be looking for much more from his players when they next take the field on Saturday week at home to Lisnagarvey in their final league game before the Christmas break.

Man of the Match for the Bangor team was the tireless Jeremy Macafee.

Team: Miller, Stranaghan (c), Armstrong-Sanchez, Larmour, Stewart, G.Boyd, J Riordan, Garland, M Squance, Macafee, Hamilton, Robinson.

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