Banbridge Town travelled to Coagh Utd on Saturday hoping to build on last weeks cup win. Both teams were without a win in the league this season and hoping to change that. Conor Downey and Stephen Greene came back into the starting line up.
Town started the game well, pushing forward at pace and stretching the home defence. Captain Ryan Moffat got on the end of a Downey pass but Hassan in the Coagh goal pulled off a good save. Ryan Gourley was having a great game and was involved in every Town attack, with Kinsberry, McGrath and Buchanan all going close to opening the scoring. On 15 minutes Hassan raced out of his goal to clear but fluffed his kick as Downey closed him down; Gourley picked up the loose ball but his first time shot was just over. Tuda Murphy had little to do for the first 25 minutes until a Coagh attack saw him make a diving save at the feet of Coagh's Gillespie. Unfortunately he picked up an injury in doing so and despite getting treatment on the pitch was unable to continue, being replaced by Stephen Croft. Coagh were coming more into the game now but Greene and Waddell were strong in defence, the latter playing through the pain barrier after picking up an ankle injury last week. Croft made the first of a number of important saves on 35 minutes. Downey went close with a flick header from another quality Gourley cross as Town went after the all important first goal. The half ended 0-0 with Coagh's Forest the first player to be booked for a foul Moffatt.
Town started the second half as they had the first, attacking in numbers and forcing Hassan into 2 saves in as many minutes. On 55 minutes Todd was booked for bringing down Moffatt half way into Coagh's half but Downey's free kick went wide of the left post. Two minutes later Town went in front as Downey picked up a through ball and raced clear of the Coagh defence before slotting the ball beneath the helpless Coagh keeper. The lead was almost doubled on 65 minutes as a Ferguson cross was headed just wide by McGrath. Coagh weren't giving up as they looked for the equaliser and won a couple of corners which Croft dealt with comfortably.
With 10 minutes left Downey and Coagh's Andrew Neill battled for the ball on the right touch line midway into Coagh's half...Downey went to ground and was clearly kicked by the Coagh player, a clear red card offence. To the disbelief of everyone watching the ref booked both players! Coagh made the most of the refs leniency and put Towns defence under intense pressure. Downey was replaced by Jordan Hayes and a foul on McGrath saw Gillespie booked. With 5 minutes remaining Coagh were level as a sustained attack saw a defensive header fall to Neill, the player who should have walked 10 minutes earlier, and his low shot from the left edge of the Town's box beat the diving Croft at the near post. Coagh went close again in injury time, Croft tipping a free kick over the bar. The game ended 1-1, a result that suited neither team but Town can consider themselves very unlucky to only get one point from a match in which they were the better team.