Posted 6 years ago.
It was honours even in this friendly meeting of Bangor's finest on a frosty Tuesday night at Clandeboye Park.
As open and entertaining as a free ride on the rollercoaster at Barry's this match didn't disappoint in terms of spectacle. Bangor FC fielding a strong side looked to put their recent league form behind them against a team several leagues below them while 1st Bangor looked to build on their recent good run of form.
Some may have been forgiven to thinking Rory Hammill had put on the wrong coloured shirt as he lined up for 1st Bangor against his old side but this is a mark of how ambitious 1st Bangor is and of how strong the squad has become. Rumour has it enquiries have also been made on Johnny Evans availability...
Onto the match, the first half resembling a meeting of two heavyweight boxers determined to slug it out until only one remained standing. Andy Morrow dropping into a central midfield role pulled the strings for Bangor while his opposite number Martyn Robinson did likewise for 1st Bangor, both dictating the tempo of the match like orchestral conductors, care-free and able to express themselves in this open air concert of football at Clandeboye Park.
Carl O'Neill in the 1st Bangor goal was kept busy, the Bangor frontline and wingers showing pace, quality, keen to get their shots away and each time on target but O'Neill and the 1st Bangor defence stood firm, a Chinese wall protecting against the Bangor onslaught. Gourley and Corkum blocked well and O'Neill stood tall, saving well at his near post then tipping another over the bar.
But like Trojans 1st Bangor began sneaking back into this tie, Hammill and McCormick combining well with the pacey Oliver a constant threat. Bangor suddenly exposed at the back, a whipped ball in from Oliver, McCormick denied, chance gone.
Half-time and a change up of personnel but a smilar flow to the game. Sproule, Bryson, Corkum and Gourley all over the Bangor frontline like a cheap suit. Robinson and Scott battling hard against the lively Bangor midfield and Caldwell and Oliver exploiting the space out wide.
The pressure building and John McIlveen, on for O'Neill in the second half, began to see his goal under threat. A neat turn at the edge of the box by the Bangor striker and a pin-point shot into the top corner eventually breaking the deadlock and sending Bangor 1-0 up.
Chances now for 1st Bangor: Scott and McPhillips exchange a one-two in the box and Scott sees his shot saved; Oliver finds himself alone at the back stick but volleys over; Scott header somehow cleared off the line. Eventually a breakthrough comes, Oliver striding clear into the box and finding the bottom corner to give 1st Bangor the equaliser.
Now the game becomes really stretched as it comes to its bruising, exhausting conclusion... but wait, Johnny Hill, lifelong Bangor fan intercepts possession and races clear of the Bangor defence, he dinks it over the onrushing keeper.........the capacity crowd holds its collective breath..........the ball rises then falls as if in slow motion..........surely its in............CROSSBAR........heartbreak for young Hill as his shot rebounds down off the crossbar, onto the line and clear.
The full-time whistle goes and despite the great result 1st Bangor look to the heavens and wonder "what if".