ON THIS DAY 21 YEARS AGO: A single Philip Rogan goal in a draw against Larne at Clandeboye Park isn't enough to save Bangor from the play-offs against Newry Town

Bangor’s goal hero at Institute Ben Cushnie admits he is satisfied with a point from the visit to a sunny Ryan McBride Brandywell on Saturday afternoon.

The 22-year-old forward delivered a leveller for the Seasiders five minutes out from the end of the first half in response to Oisin Devlin’s deadlock-breaker for ‘Stute, and after the half-time pause, Cushnie felt the visitors would have been worth a victory as centre-back Lewis Francis narrowly missed the mark from a last-gasp free-kick initially soared in by Ben Walker. But a point keeps the Seasiders’ fate entirely within their own grasp; they are second-place in the Playr-Fit Championship still and know that victory at Annagh United on Friday night – irrespective of results elsewhere – will book a two-legged slot against Ballymena United in the promotion/relegation play-off.

Glentoran loanee Cushnie, who hit his sixth goal of a somewhat injury-disrupted season by connecting to Francis’ flick-on 40 minutes into proceedings, insists that after a rocky start, a draw was the least Bangor deserved on their trip to the north west against the only opponent that has went unbeaten in their clashes with the Seasiders across this term.

“I think we probably did (deserve a bit more from the game); the second half, I thought we dominated a lot of the play.

“The first 15 minutes, we struggled to settle into the game a bit. Obviously, we were coming into a tough place, big pitch, good side… early on, they were playing the ball over the top of the defence quite a lot and it wasn’t easy trying to stop that. We settled more after the (Institute goal), we began to play our own game a bit more and we got the equaliser.

“It doesn’t matter who gets the goals, just that you do get them, but for me, it’s two in two, I was in the right place for it and I feel I’ve been getting sharper in front of goal every week.

“Second half, we started it and continued in the same way that we’d ended the first, we kept control of the game, we had good possession and we managed the game well, made sure we didn’t give too much away and the defence wasn’t under too much pressure.

“Obviously, Lewis has the chance at the end, the free-kick fell nicely for him and he had the chance, but it wasn’t to be. The goals he’s scored this season, all the goals he scored coming up from the back, you’d probably have bet your house on him scoring there, but I think the ball was just a bit too far ahead of him in the end.

“But, obviously, going into the game, it was must-not-lose, so I think a draw was probably a fair enough result as well. We came in knowing ‘Stute have had a good record against us this season and they’ve been tough enough games, I think they also have a good home record this season as well, so we’ll take a point that keeps things in our hands and try to do the job against Annagh next week.”

Ben Cushnie

Having played 86 minutes of the 3-1 victory against Dundela at Wilgar Park the previous weekend, his neat free-kick kickstarting the comeback in east Belfast with Francis and Ben Arthurs adding to the goal haul, Cushnie got another 84 minutes in the book on Saturday.

Lee Feeney has been pleased to have the Hillsborough man at his disposal and fit and firing at a crucial point in the season, and with more than 60 appearances for the Glens under his belt, Cushnie’s pedigree at the top level has the tools to prove difference-making come this pulsating climax.

The striker adds that the strength of character in the dressing room furthers his belief that even if Bangor find parts of the going tough at the BMG Arena against Annagh, the panel is still able to weather any storms they face.

“Feeno had said in one of his previous interviews, I was building my way up to match fitness again, and I can feel that myself every week.

“I’ve had two games in a row now where I’ve played close to the full 90 minutes, probably as close as I’ve got throughout the season, so I’m feeling sharp and I’ve got a few goals and got a bit of momentum.

“We went 1-0 down away against the Duns at half-time, came back, won; we’ve went 1-0 down here, good side, big pitch, came back and got a draw that means it’s in our hands (play-off) going into the final day.

“I think that shows the character of the team and the mentalities that we have, we have the people in the squad that can go out and get results, and everyone has that responsibility in the team across all areas of the pitch.

“For me personally, I’m a player that can contribute more than goals and can do other stuff in the game as well, work hard for the team, and we all work for each other to get results.”

Ben Cushnie

(Posted: Monday, 22nd April 2024)

Congratulations to James Taylor, Reece Neale, Lewis Francis and Scott McArthur who picked up their awards last night for being selected in the NI Football League Championship Team of the Season.

Well done!

(Posted: Sunday, 21st April 2024)

Bangor Reserves closed out their home slate of matches in Championship/PIL Development League in some style, with eight different goal-getters putting their name on the scoresheet during Saturday morning’s 8-0 rout of PSNI Olympic at Clandeboye Park.

The Seasiders, who had earlier in the season despatched the Police side 10-0 at Breda Park, ran goal crazy in this encounter and maintained a clean sheet for their biggest home success of the season. Strikes from Callum Johnston, Jude Healy, Jack McCosh, Charley Craig, Caden McKee, Jay Boyd, Ruairi Wright and Mitchel Watterson sealed the deal for David Downes’ side in the end and ensures that, ahead of their final outing of the season at the Brandywell against Institute U21 on May 10, they kept their grip on second-place in the division.

Adding to the hard-fought success in midweek against Lisburn Distillery U21 when defender McCosh’s late strike kept the Yellows on the winning trail (3-2) despite being reduced to 10 men in the first half, Bangor look well-poised to end the season on a high and will go into that clash with ‘Stute buoyed by their return to form.

It also means they maintain a mathematical chance at title glory, too, although three defeats for league leaders H&W Welders U21 would be required for that to be so. In any case, their run of four three-pointers in a row after a rocky March inspires belief among the coaching staff and players that the best is still to come.

(Posted: Sunday, 21st April 2024)

Bangor’s promotion play-off destiny will both go right down to the final day and be entirely in their own hands following Saturday afternoon’s 1-1 draw with Institute at a sunny Ryan McBride Brandywell.

The Seasiders found themselves on the back foot just 15 minutes in when Oisin Devlin – the prodigious 17-year-old midfield talent who signed on a three-and-a-half-year deal with Larne in the January window – slid beyond James Taylor to break the deadlock for ‘Stute, but a fighting response from Lee Feeney’s men against the only team they had yet to defeat in this Playr-Fit Championship season yielded a point reward.

Ben Cushnie’s return to fitness has come as a big boost, and the Glentoran loanee struck a second goal in as many weeks five minutes before the end of the first period. A looping ball found Lewis Francis, and the centre-back hooked into the striker’s path to strike a decisive equaliser that ultimately was to remain until the end.

The popular Francis almost won it late on from a deflected Ben Walker free-kick but missed the mark at the death, and with the stalemate also confirming Portadown’s status as league champions in line with their 1-1 draw at home to Dundela, it means Bangor’s full focus is authentically on second-place. However, just a point separates the Seasiders, Dundela, Annagh (all 67) and Institute (66) ahead of what promises to be a nerve-jangling Friday night for the right to face Ballymena United in the two-legged shoot-out. The drama has only just begun.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, H.Beverland, L.Francis, B.Walker, L.Harrison(M.Bradley), T.Mulvenna, B.Cushnie(A.Neale), S.McArthur(J.Hughes), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson.
Subs: McConkey, M.Halliday, D.Hume, G.Beattie

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 26th April, ANNAGH UNITED v BANGOR, Championship, BMG ARENA, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 20th April 2024)

Bangor FC Ladies boss Chris Dougan toasted his first competitive victory as manager as one built on solid foundations, trust, familiarity and the freedom to play.

Having succeeded Ethan Boylan in the top job at the start of 2024, Dougan, stepping up from his assistant role, bagged an opening-day victory with a 6-1 success over St Oliver Plunkett in the NIWFA Championship on Wednesday night.

After Clodagh Mervyn’s opener for the west Belfast-based home team just 56 seconds into proceedings at Crumlin Leisure Centre, the Seasiders largely dominated the play thereafter, with Amber Dempster’s first-half hat-trick added to by strikes from teenagers Evarose Martin and Janine Jess as well as winger Toni Stewart that ultimately wrapped up a convincing win.

The NIWFA Division One champions had caused problems for Bangor in the not-too-distant past, but a display of heart, work-rate and energy – not to mention a number of exceptional sequences of football – meant the Yellows asserted their authority delighted Dougan, who also hailed how the new arrivals bedded into the fold.

“These guys have shown that they have the freedom now to go and play. They have the intensity to be competitive the whole way through the game, we’ve got the depth on the bench that they can come on and maintain (energy levels), or even change the game themselves.

“We’re very, very lucky with the girls that we do have, they followed the instructions and they know what to do. So, they worked their legs off in pre-season, they’ve kept the intensity through the roof and as you can see by the performance today, they trust each other.

“When you get that trust, they will go and play some beautiful football. They have that continuity, giving you a complete foundation about how you build a team this year. So, all the new girls coming in are five steps ahead because they’ve had everything built on by watching other players and understanding you’ve got perfect examples in front of you at all times.

“When they (existing players) come off, they (new players) can replicate that sort of way because they know what to do, they’ve seen it, we do it in training and the girls have all bought in and enjoying everything we do.

“When they’re playing happy… yeah, we conceded in one minute, from nerves, but after that, it was never a doubt. “I don’t think they had more than two or three shots at goal, and the girls could have been a bit more ruthless and it could’ve been an even bigger scoreline – fair play to them.”

Chris Dougan

Following a slender 3-2 victory for Bangor when they overcame Wednesday’s opponents in last season’s PwC Super Cup quarter-final at Sally Gardens in Poleglass, this fixture had the makings of a potential banana skin that the Seasiders could slip on if they weren’t careful. However, the professionalism of the performance and handling of the pressure of being a top-end team in the Championship both came in for huge praise from the manager.

“Massive banana skin, opening game, new team promoted, they’re going to be excited, they’re going to be up for the game. We’ve finally got the pressure on us to start performing because we performed so well last year, and the girls haven’t been stepping away from the pressure; they’re embracing it.

“They’re going, ‘We like to be the team that’s now being considered one of the top (teams), we’ll take that mantle, we’ll run with it’. Asked on whether he reads much into the league’s expansion to 10 teams from seven last year, Dougan adds: “No, not for me.

“I think it adds a bit more excitement, you’ve got a higher level of competition. But, the girls back themselves playing against competition from the top level, the girls are here to go and be competitive.

“I’m not sure if we will win it, but we’ll definitely be competitive and we’ve got great young players coming through that, in the next couple of years, can do some real damage as well.

“So, I’m more than happy with how they’re doing, they deserve the bigger league and they deserve more matches.”

Chris Dougan

(Posted: Saturday, 20th April 2024)

Saturday, April 20 – Bangor Reserves vs PSNI Olympic, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am

It’s the second from last outing in the Championship/PIL Development League this Saturday for Bangor Reserves, who entertain PSNI Olympic at Clandeboye Park and will be determined to sign off their home slate of fixtures in 2023/24 with three points.

David Downes’ men were forced to battle for the maximum spoils in midweek when they edged a five-goal encounter with Lisburn Distillery at Wallace Park, with Jay Boyd’s header and Kristian Trainor’s composed penalty cancelled out by a pair of second-half finishes by the Whites that levelled the scores at 2-2 – Bangor had at this stage been reduced to 10 men, too, with centre-back Mackenzie Gray shown a straight red card during the first half.

But towering defender Jack McCosh notched up his third goal since arriving in January on 82 minutes and ultimately secured the victory, with their penultimate clash with PSNI allowing them to add a third straight triumph – four, if you count the win over Warrenpoint Town via forfeit – and maintain their grip on second-place, with Harland and Wolff Welders U21 still atop the table and two points ahead of the Yellows having played a couple of games fewer.

Capitalising on any potential slip-up is the principal aim for Downes and his charges come the business end, with the second string’s curtain-closing encounter not coming for another three weeks before they visit Institute at the Brandywell on May 10. Against the league’s third-from-bottom outfit, Bangor will back themselves against a side they overcame 10-0 early doors, but they will guard against complacency seeping in while there is still something to play for.

(Posted: Friday, 19th April 2024)

Saturday, April 20 – Institute vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, 3pm

Bangor are in action for the penultimate time in the Playr-Fit Championship when they travel to the Ryan McBride Brandywell to face Institute – a crunch clash that could go a long way to deciding who competes in the promotion play-off versus, in all likelihood, Ballymena United.

The Seasiders enter Saturday afternoon’s encounter on the back of a stirring 3-1 comeback success away to Dundela last time out. After Jordan Jenkins handed the Duns the lead nine minutes in, a three-goal second half for Lee Feeney’s men in which Ben Cushnie, Lewis Francis and Ben Arthurs marked the scoresheet inspired an important win that leaves this weekend very finely poised.

The players will also be motivated to atone for their previous visit to the north west venue, a 4-0 reversal last October when Kirk McLaughlin’s second-half hat-trick added to Shaun Leppard’s headed opener for ‘Stute. Kevin Deery’s men (65 points) trail their visitors on Saturday (66) by a point and know victory is all but essential to have their play-off fate in their own hands next Friday, with Annagh United (64) – a point further back and on the road to Blanchflower Park where they play Harland and Wolff Welders – also in the frame in what is a pulsating race that’s guaranteed to go to the wire.

The players’ focus is firmly on this weekend and a big travelling support is expected to flock to the Brandywell to will Feeney and his charges to victory; this promises to be a pivotal and deciding duel in what truly feels like the business end.


LEE FEENEY - LOOKING FORWARD TO SATURDAY

There’s a certain word starting with ‘p’ on the lips of a lot of people around Bangor right now but manager Lee Feeney insists he’s not getting carried away ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Brandywell to take on Institute.

The Seasiders supremo, who takes his side into the penultimate Playr-Fit Championship duel of the season on the back of impressive 3-0 and 3-1 successes over east Belfast duo Harland and Wolff Welders and Dundela, believes his players will be fired up to deliver against ‘Stute, the only team in the division they have not got the better of.

The north west outfit won 1-0 a few weeks previously when Mikhail Kennedy headed home the only goal of the game just after the hour mark at Clandeboye Park, and Feeney – whose side lost 4-0 on their first trip back in October for what remains Bangor’s heaviest defeat in this campaign – says lessons have been learned and is in confident mood for this encounter.

The Kilkeel man also shed light on a conversation he had recently with John Boyle. The 38-year-old centre-back was a pivotal member of last term’s Steel and Sons Cup and Premier Intermediate League double-winning team, making 40 appearances and leading that squad for minutes played on 3,405, and the current Warrenpoint Town captain is a seasoned campaigner in the art of promotions through the NIFL pyramid – but after addressing that theme briefly, Feeney returned to present affairs.

“I was actually speaking to Boyler there, John Boyle over Easter. He’s been a bit of a specialist in promotions over the years, that was his sixth or seventh last year.

“He’s achieved promotion from the Championship four times, twice with Warrenpoint and twice with Newry, and he was telling me that while it was a nice feeling to win the division and make sure of it, the play-off just has a different feeling to it, and winning a play-off, it’s like winning a cup final.

“There’s a feeling with the play-off that it is a one-off, and anything can happen; any team can cause an upset on the day. But, that being said, we can’t think too far ahead of ourselves, and we have to put all our focus into winning this weekend. We just have to take it one game at a time, and it’s always been the approach that we’ve had, just to take each game as it comes.

“The last time we played Institute, I felt we were the better team in the game and we were unlucky to lose, and we’re motivated to put things right this time around.

“We went to Dundela knowing the last time we went there that we got beat, and we put in a really good performance to put things right there, and it’s the same going into this weekend.

“The last time we played Institute up there, it was a tough day for us and it was a lesson, but the players are motivated because we haven’t beaten them yet this season and we felt hard done by when they beat us last time.

“We’re not going to dwell on that result; we’re coming into this game on the back of two convincing victories and we need to keep the momentum going into this weekend.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Friday, 19th April 2024)

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Bangor Reserves in Lisburn on Wednesday evening, but they got the job done and secured a precious three points with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Lisburn Distillery Reserves in Wallace Park.

The Seasiders were two to the good in a feisty enough first half that saw a number of meaty challenges, one which saw centre-back Mackenzie Gray given his marching orders following a high lunge around 10 minutes out from the interval. By that stage, the visitors were two to the good, with Jay Boyd heading home an early opener before Kristian Trainor slotted home a cool penalty after Jude Healy was upended in the penalty area by the Distillery goalkeeper when chasing a loose ball.

On a bobbly pitch, Distillery fought back and searched for a way back into the game, levelling with two goals in two minutes midway through the second period, but the full reward was headed back with David Downes and his troops when towering defender Jack McCosh delivered the winner eight minutes from time and moved the Seasiders to within two points of league leaders Harland and Wolff Welders – albeit having played a couple of games fewer.

Bangor contest their final home match of the season on Saturday when they entertain third-from-bottom PSNI at Clandeboye Park before a break of three weeks, making the long travel to the north west where they will face Institute at the Brandywell in a rearranged match-up.

(Posted: Thursday, 18th April 2024)

Chris Dougan got off to a winning start in his first competitive outing as Bangor FC Ladies manager with a comprehensive and ruthless 6-1 victory over St Oliver Plunkett Ladies at Crumlin Leisure Centre on Wednesday night, picking up all three points in their 2024 NIWFA Championship opener.

Bangor couldn't have had a worse start to the game in truth, conceding after just 56 seconds when Plunkett forward Clodagh Mervyn raced behind the defensive line before firing into the top left corner of the net out of reach of Giulia McLaughlin – but what followed was a storming Seasiders response.

Amber Dempster, so ruthless in front of goal in 2023, picked up exactly where she left off in the new year with finishes in the 11th and 19th minutes to turn the tide back in Bangor's favour, while composed drives by Toni Stewart and Janine Jess – both around 10 yards from goal, the former from a well-worked sequence down the left and the latter with a fierce rebound after Dempster's initial shot from a corner was blocked — made it 4-1 before the half-hour.

Dempster then completed her hat-trick five minutes out from the interval from the penalty spot, and a second half that started on a less frenetic note than the first offered Dougan the chance to introduce three fresh faces to the fold to a starting XI that entirely comprised familiar faces from 2023's crusade. Substitute Evarose Martin, a summer arrival last term, then struck a sublime free-kick from 25 yards that nestled beautifully in the top left corner and rubber-stamped the scoring on a fine night.


AMBER DEMPSTER'S THOUGHTS ON WEDNESDAY WIN

They say the best things some in threes, and that was certainly the case on opening night for Amber Dempster, who delivered a fine first-half hat-trick to help Bangor FC Ladies to victory in their 2024 NIWFA Championship opener on Wednesday night.

The Seasiders faced St Oliver Plunkett Ladies at Crumlin Leisure Centre for what looked like a potential banana skin, having only narrowly overcome the west Belfast outfit in last season’s PwC Super Cup quarter-final 3-2, and that reputation was living true inside the first minute when Plunkett forward Clodagh Mervyn stroked in a beauty to give the home side the lead.

But a fired-up Bangor responded fearlessly and hit the Lenadoon club for six, with Dempster hitting a treble either side of finishes from impressive midfielder Janine Jess and agile winger Toni Stewart before the half-hour mark.

Substitute left-back Evarose Martin delivered the cherry on top and the finish of the night to round off the goal count 10 minutes from time, the teenager’s fabulous 25-yard free-kick picking out the top left corner in spectacular style, and 31-year-old Dempster hailed the grit and determination the Yellows showed to clinch victory in Chris Dougan’s first competitive clash in charge as manager.

“Yeah, definitely, the girls battled hard… you know, we went behind pretty early on, and I think we were finding our feet, first game of the season.

“You know, Plunkett are always a difficult team to come away to, you know, obviously travelling an hour out to Crumlin, too. Kind of heavy legs, obviously, whenever you first get going but, yeah, obviously from when we conceded, we managed to pull one back, and from there, it was just a really professional performance from the girls.

“We managed to get good squad rotation on today, too, which was excellent, and everybody really worked hard. We’ve been playing some tough friendlies in pre-season, it’s really had us ready for this moment, you know, whenever we do go one or two behind.

“The team always shows really great resilience, and it’s something even last year that we really demonstrated a lot throughout the season. Definitely, the girls, you know, No.1 right through to 18 that were there today really gave their all, which was fantastic.

“Even having the fans down to support us and having them behind us, too, always really helps as well.”

Amber Dempster

Dempster, who, alongside ever-reliable Seasiders skipper Sarah Crooks, recently scored for Northern Ireland Futsal in a memorable 4-1 victory over Belgium in Newry, believes those more fresh-faced to the fold showed their quality, too.

Namechecking respected ex-Larne and Crusaders midfielder Amanda Morton (35) and teen talent Emi Wynne, who both debuted off the bench against Plunkett, she feels the familiarity of a starting XI entirely comprised first-team mainstays from 2023 combined with new faces can help the Seasiders take their talents to new heights.

“We’ve made some new additions this year, which has been fantastic, you know, with the likes of Emi and Amanda coming in. I think Emi, obviously, so young, being able to get on there and get her first senior minutes for Bangor was excellent, and she really held her own whenever she went out there too.

“She almost managed to grab herself a goal in the process so, yeah, definitely, nice to have a mix of new additions and experience in there. We’ve kept the majority of the squad together from last year, obviously there’s a few have went travelling or went off to university but, apart from that, we’ve kept the squad together, we’ve continued to go from strength to strength, so we’re excited to see what the rest of the season brings.

“I think it was great to be able to have that squad rotation today and be able to obviously use all our subs, get them on, get them game time, get them minutes. You know, it is fantastic for players last year who maybe didn’t get the opportunity to get as many minutes to get them on the ball and get them that experience.

“And Evarose’s free-kick was an absolute worldie, definitely, she’ll be teaching me how to do them on the training ground, she’ll be fighting me for the next one I think!”

Amber Dempster

(Posted: Thursday, 18th April 2024)

Wednesday, April 17 – Lisburn Distillery U21 vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, Wallace Park, 6:30pm

Bangor Reserves are on the road on Wednesday night and are aiming to close the season on a high when they travel to face Lisburn Distillery U21 at Wallace Park, their third-from-last outing in the Championship/PIL Development League.

Following a 3-0 success over Knockbreda Reserves that put them back on the winning trail – they were awarded a 3-0 win over Warrenpoint Town, who were unable to field a team, but lost the four preceding matches in March that means the side’s most likely aim is consolidating second-place – David Downes will want his men to keep their composure up against a Whites outfit sitting second from bottom in the table but who have reserves at their disposal to cause other teams problems.

The Seasiders were victorious during the clash of the teams at Clandeboye Park in February, but the 4-1 scoreline wasn’t one that told the whole story given both left chances begging to add even more goals to what was an end-to-end affair. Mitchel Watterson, Charley Craig, Callum Johnston and Jay Boyd hit the target that Saturday morning, and Downes will hope his forward options can produce the goods again and potentially capitalise on any slip-ups from league leaders Harland and Wolff Welders at the summit; Dundela Reserves, in third, are also six points behind with three in hand.

Putting points on the board by hook or by crook is the objective in the run-in, which is then followed with a home clash against PSNI Olympic on Saturday before a curtain-closer at the Brandywell for a rearranged trip to Institute on May 10.


Wednesday, April 17 – St Oliver Plunkett Ladies vs Bangor FC Ladies, NIWFA Championship, Crumlin Leisure Centre, 8pm

Bangor FC Ladies kickstart their 2024 campaign with a trip to Crumlin Leisure Centre for the NIWFA Championship opener, where newly promoted St Oliver Plunkett Ladies will be keen to throw an early spanner in the works.

In what is also new first-team boss Chris Dougan’s first competitive outing as manager since stepping up from his assistant role to succeed club hero Ethan Boylan in the new year, he’ll aim to set the side up for success and build on a highly promising 2023 crusade that saw the Ladies finish third-place in the Championship and reach the Final of the PwC Super Cup – the first showpiece the team has competed in since being brought back into the fold in 2019.

Much of last season’s squad has been retained and they have experience of facing the west Belfast side, given it was in that very knock-out competition where the Seasiders won 3-2 in a nip-and-tuck quarter-final encounter at Sally Gardens in Poleglass. Twice Boylan’s outfit were behind on that early July day, but goals from Erin Hennity, Amber Dempster and Robyn McFadden were enough to edge a five-goal thriller against the would-be Division One champions, who are a west Belfast outfit generally renowned for their youth production.

It’s a tough test to kick things off for the squad, but with the vast majority of last campaign’s playing personnel retained, there is an element of continuity that is poised to stand them in the right stead and begin 2024’s events on the front foot. With Sion Swifts and Ballymena United both dropping down from the Premiership, it promises to be tough but exciting for the Yellows throughout, beginning in Crumlin.

(Posted: Tuesday, 16th April 2024)

The two Bens in the Bangor line-up produced the goods on Saturday and delighted manager Lee Feeney with their contributions in the victory over Dundela.

It was Cushnie who hit the target first, slotting a low free-kick 25 yards from goal past Lewis Hunter and into the bottom right corner to equalise at Wilgar Park after his fellow Glentoran loanee Jordan Jenkins had opened the scoring for the hosts early doors, before his namesake Arthurs rounded off the scoring when he found the net for the 25th time this campaign after capitalising on a loose touch in defence to round the Duns stopper and finish easily for 3-1.

Both players have repeatedly come in for praise from the Clandeboye chief throughout this campaign and, beginning with versatile forward Cushnie (22) – who struck his fifth of the season having navigated injury turbulence at points – Feeney saluted the Hillsborough ace’s all-round play and called him “unplayable” at times in east Belfast.

“Ben is a great lad… great lad, and a fantastic player. I think you can see he’s not quite at full match fitness, he’s not at a level to play 90 minutes just yet, but we’re building up to that point and he’s getting closer to that level.

“He was unlucky a few times before he got his goal, he was finding space on the pitch and was working hard, but then he got his goal which I felt his play deserved.

“There was a period in the second half where I thought he was just unplayable, the way that he was moving around the pitch, how he was working for himself and others and getting into positions where he could cause problems.

“Yes, he’s had his problems with injury, it’s been a tricky season for him, but I have no doubt over what he gives to the team, and I believe there’s still much more to come from him.”

Lee Feeney

On Arthurs, the masterful 25-year-old from Kircubbin is a player that Feeney has routinely challenged to be even better, and the striker – who has 131 goals in total in the yellow and blue shirt – delivered on the job following his manager’s rally cry at half-time on Saturday.

Dealing with experienced centre-halves Jay Magee and Jaimie McGovern in the Dundela defence, ‘Big Ben’ was tasked with creating important spaces for his team-mates to roam into and pounce on any chances that fell his way, deservedly marking the scoresheet with one of the final meaningful actions of the contest.

Having hit a quarter-century of goals across all competitions in the Ballymena and Provincial League and McReynolds Cup double-winning season in 2018/19, when he scored 38, as well as 31 in last campaign’s Premier Intermediate League and Steel and Sons Cup crusade, Feeney also hailed the predatory marksman – who is also Bangor’s top assister this term with 13 – for repeating the feat in the Championship, an “outstanding” achievement.

“I actually had a wee go at Ben at half-time… I asked him to do more in terms of keeping the centre-backs occupied and, fair play to him, in the second half, I thought he was outstanding.

“He was up against big Jay Magee, who I actually thought played a really excellent game with Ben, but Ben was physical and he kept him occupied, and Jaimie McGovern in there as well.

“He was doing a lot of the dirty work that was allowing Cush and Scott McArthur, and even Jordan Hughes when he came on, to find the spaces that they did, and playing as the lone striker, that’s what you have to do in games.

“You’ve got to go above and beyond in that sense, to create room for others, and I thought up against two tough centre-backs, he was doing that and caused Dundela a lot of problems and gave us a lot of joy, a lot of territory in the final third.

“He got his goal late in the second half that I thought he took superbly, how he controlled it and then the finish, and that was a reward for the work he’d been doing for others earlier.

“He’s scored 25 goals in a season across three different leagues… I think that’s outstanding.

“That’s just a measure of his commitment, the part he’s played in this team being where it is now and being in a position to challenge at the top end of this league. He’s someone I know I can look to and will demand more of himself, and I believe he’s got levels to climb as well.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Tuesday, 16th April 2024)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney admits the main source of satisfaction from Saturday’s priceless 3-1 win at Dundela was righting the wrongs of their previous less jubilant visit to Wilgar Park.

The Seasiders were on the wrong end of a Jordan Jenkins hat-trick and a 3-2 reversal at the hands of the Duns on Tuesday, February 13 – a scoreline that, in truth, was flattering for the visitors that night – but the supporters felt the love much more on post-split Saturday after this fighting comeback success.

Jenkins required just nine minutes to shoot Stephen Gourley’s charges into the lead, but that proved as good as it got for the east Belfast side as a second-half fightback inspired by a Ben Cushnie free-kick special, a powerful Lewis Francis header and a Ben Arthurs classic roared Bangor to all three points this time around.

Feeney took responsibility for that defeat and pledged to carry on board the lessons learned as a direct brand of football failed to yield the desired reward, with the Yellows returning to deploy a fresh style that made a difference this time.

“It was a big win for us, and I was really pleased with the way we went about ourselves in the end. I took responsibility, and I told the players that, I took responsibility for when we got beat in February and that we would come back here having learned lessons.

“I learned a lot as a manager that night, and that has been the way it’s been at times, either you win or you learn, and you keep learning. We played direct and long from that back that night, but I set us up for this game to play the ball on the ground more and every player worked hard to execute the game plan the way they did and play some of the football we did.

“It’s a tough game here, but I was feeling confident on the back of that experience and the win last week that the players would have taken lessons on board coming back here, and I felt we produced a really good performance.

“Tactically, I think we got it spot on, and I felt the players executed the game plan superbly. I felt defensively, with young Jenkins, I know he scored, but I felt we did a good job and marshalled him well, we kept track of his movements and we knew he’d be a threat.

“I felt we were a wee bit were unlucky to be behind, we had a few moments in the first half where we were unlucky, but in the second half, I felt we were outstanding.

“We controlled the play, we got our foot on the ball, we were creating chances and getting into dangerous areas, we had dangerous territory in the final third and we capitalised in the end for a really important win.”

Lee Feeney

Reflecting on the turbulent sequence of results that preceded Saturday and the previous weekend’s dominant 3-0 home triumph over Dundela’s local rivals H&W Welders, Feeney reiterated his confidence in his squad and insists he knew they would turn the tables.

A trio of defeats to Portadown (twice) and Institute could have stunted Bangor’s momentum but that is not in the nature of this squad, who hit back with a vengeance in successive duels to set themselves up perfectly for facing Institute and Annagh United in their final couple.

Praising the standard of football on Wilgar Park’s oft-discussed compact playing surface, the Clandeboye chief says setbacks are par for the course and is pleased his squad have hit the high notes once again.

“At this stage of the season, it is about getting the three points, and we have been unlucky recently, but the performances have been really, really good. We have been playing really, really, really well. Apart from, you know, the Portadown game (3-0 defeat at Clandeboye Park on Easter Tuesday), we were playing really well and just not getting the results, not getting the rub of the green.

“But we have great characters at this club, the character’s always been there ever since I first came in, and I’ve said to the players that it’s just football, and football throws up these types of setbacks that you’ve got to try and put right.

“Now, we’ve got two victories, two convincing victories in my opinion, and it’s now a wee bit of momentum for us to push on and go into Institute. People say you can’t play football at Dundela, they make it tough, the pitch is too small, it’s compact, some of the football we played on Saturday was outstanding.

“I’m proud of every player for that; every player had a part to play in that, getting from back to front to create chances and create spaces and find spaces on the pitch, and I thought the subs came on and came into that really well as well.

“No one at this club doubts the character of the boys, I never have any doubt and you can see why.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Monday, 15th April 2024)

A storming second-half performance at Wilgar Park on Saturday showed that Bangor’s intent to end the season strong and vie for a promotion place is burning bright as ever, as the away side came from behind to take all three points against Dundela. Trailing at the interval after Jordan Jenkins blasted the Duns into the lead with less than 10 minutes on the clock in east Belfast, the Seasiders clicked into gear at a venue they lost 3-2 at in the middle of February and converted three unanswered finishes during the second period to wrap up a priceless victory.

Jenkins’ fellow Glentoran loanee Ben Cushnie laid the foundations for the fightback when he slotted in a brilliant low free-kick past home shot-stopper Lewis Hunter on 53 minutes – and after notching up his fifth goal of an injury-disrupted season, defender Lewis Francis racked up his 10th and shot Bangor into the lead for the first time having headed home new CBSC Player of the Month Tiarnan Mulvenna’s corner.

The cherry on top that propped up the Yellows to 66 points and second-place in the Playr-Fit Championship table was applied by Ben Arthurs, who raced behind the Dundela defence and beat Hunter for the third goal of the afternoon and his 25th of the campaign.

While the title is all in Portadown’s hands – they are four points clear at the top and know victory over the Duns at Shamrock Park next Saturday will win them the league any which way – the same can now be said of Bangor’s chances of the promotion play-off, with visits to fourth-placed Institute (April 20) and fifth-positioned Annagh United (April 26) to come in the last two scheduled outings.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, H.Beverland, L.Francis, S.Foster(G.Beattie), L.Harrison(J.Hughes), T.Mulvenna, B.Cushnie(A,Neale), S.McArthur(M.Bradley), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson.
Subs: M.Orbinson, D.Hume, M.Halliday

NEXT MATCH:
SATURDAY, 20th April 2024 - INSTITUTE v BANGOR, Championship, Brandywell, 3:00PM

(Posted: Sunday, 14th April 2024)

Scott McArthur is expecting Bangor to be pushed hard by a Dundela outfit who can’t go up but are still chasing title glory.

The Seasiders’ next assignment in the Playr-Fit Championship sees them bound for Wilgar Park to take on the Duns having despatched of their east Belfast rivals Harland and Wolff Welders at Clandeboye Park last week.

In-form attacking midfielder McArthur, who bagged a brace in the 3-0 win in a blustery but sun-drenched affair, says the squad is keen to make amends following the 3-2 defeat there in mid-February when Glentoran loanee Jordan Jenkins’ hat-trick fired Stephen Gourley’s men to the three points.

In fact, the 24-year-old is hungry for victories over Institute and Annagh United afterwards, too, but his focus is firmly planted on beating a side whose narrow pitch may be the reason why they can’t achieve promotion but who have used it to their advantage to defeat rivals.

“The last game against Dundela, it was very difficult.

“You know, the pitch suits them very well, but even when we were behind there, but I think when we got a goal back, we maybe could’ve deserved to sneak a draw at the end of it.

“But I seen they got beat today (4-3 at home to Institute), so they’re going to be wanting – or needing – to get a win if they want to stay in the title race.

“So, you know, it’s going to be a really tough game, but we’re hoping we can get nine points here in the last three games and then, you know, see where that takes us.

“If that’s to win the league or finish second, you know, we’ll be happy with the play-off spot.”

Scott McArthur

(Posted: Friday, 12th April 2024)

Saturday, April 13 – Dundela vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Wilgar Park, 3pm

Following a run of three straight home outings, Bangor now stare into a trio of away days to close out the campaign, beginning with their short trip to Wilgar Park this Saturday to face Dundela.

A venue the Seasiders tasted defeat at in mid-February, with Ben Arthurs’ brace usurped as it was by Jordan Jenkins’ hat-trick in a 3-2 victory for the hosts, Lee Feeney and his men are fired up to answer back following that reversal and set themselves on a front footing going into trips to the Brandywell and BMG Arena where Institute and Annagh United respectively lie in wait.

Having returned to winning ways in the final scheduled home match of the season last time out, proving too hot to handle for Harland and Wolff Welders on a warm spring’s day when Scott McArthur’s brace and a cool Arthurs finish secured the maximum spoils at Clandeboye Park, those in yellow and blue will be determined to continue their winning groove in east Belfast and keep applying the heat – just six points separate the top five, with Bangor fourth among that contingent and four off the top.

Previous outings against the Duns in addition to that rearranged trip on February 13 include a 3-0 triumph at Clandeboye back in January, with McArthur, Lewis Francis and Adam Neale on target, while August saw a Lee Rea brace hand Stephen Gourley’s side the full spoils in a 2-1 defeat for Bangor that Ben Arthurs converted in. This match is high-stakes and should have the bumper crowd to reflect the occasion.

(Posted: Thursday, 11th April 2024)

Experienced defender Howard Beverland has offered an interesting insight into how he has settled in since joining Bangor in January and his expectations of himself and the impact he could have on the team.

The 34-year-old centre-back, who was an Irish Cup and County Antrim Shield winner as well as Irish League champion with Crusaders, has seen all that there is to see in a distinguished career in the domestic game that also includes two stints with Coleraine and spells playing for Portadown and Ballyclare Comrades.

Beverland linked up at Clandeboye Park from the latter and admits he demanded of himself that he get down to business as quickly as possible, with the culture and atmosphere at Lee Feeney’s outfit helping him settle speedily and cement a spot in the starting side early doors.

You can sense the Ballymoney native’s winning mentality when he speaks and his desire to help bring success to the seaside, and having recently returned to fitness from a hamstring injury, the prospect of challenging for promotion and competing in big games in the split is right up his alley as the squad aims to make one big final push.

“I came in here and I kind of expect myself at this stage of my career to come in and hit the ground running because I’m an experienced player.I wouldn’t personally have felt I’d need two or three weeks to kind of get going.

“I was keen to get going and sort of hit the ground, and that’s what I’ve done, to be fair. That’s been helped by the culture, the atmosphere throughout the club and the togetherness, to be honest; it’s a really enjoyable club to sign for and to step into.

“Most importantly, we have something to play for at this stage of the season because that’s what it’s all about, you know, at this stage, you want to be in the top half, you want to be going into those big games where you put yourself out of your comfort zone.

“You want to have the confidence to play in the big games, that’s something I’ve been used to a lot in my career as well, and hopefully, it’s something I can bring when it comes to those games here as well.

“Obviously, I’d a wee injury there for the last five or so weeks, probably just disrupted my momentum because I was in a really good place performance-wise within the team. The Ballyclare game (a 4-0 win at Clandeboye Park on February 23), my hamstring tears and then you’re working hard to get back again because you know it’s a crucial time.

“I worked hard, seen the physios and did my rehab and worked hard at that to get back in again to help the team.

“We’re in a really privileged place here to have a go and see where it takes us as well.”

Howard Beverland

(Posted: Tuesday, 9th April 2024)

Howard Beverland is feeling the love at Bangor and insists repaying the supporters’ faith by doing the hard work on the pitch is key to the club’s success in the present and future.

The centre-back turned in a commanding performance during the Seasiders’ 3-0 victory over Harland and Wolff Welders, with a dominant collective display warmly received by a rousing round of applause as the players and management walked off for the final scheduled home match at Clandeboye Park this season.

Irish League veteran Beverland, who linked up from fellow Playr-Fit Championship outfit Ballyclare Comrades in the January transfer window, took in the acclaim and was satisfied after helping the team bounce back from the 3-0 defeat to another of his former sides, Portadown, on Easter Tuesday.

A crowd well into the four-figure mark witnessed that reversal, leaving Lee Feeney and his charges desperate to correct a three-game losing streak, and they produced the goods at a sunny Clandeboye on Saturday to return to winning ways.

“Reading there as well, on Tuesday, there were 1,200 or so for the third time this season? That atmosphere, that’s great for the players to play in as well,” Beverland said. Brilliant (to be clapped off), and not only that; that rubs off on the players, too.

“You know, you feel the enthusiasm of the support from the fans as well, and they sense that we’re giving everything on the pitch for them. That’s what it has to be to make the best home atmosphere and the best clubs as well.

“So, it’s definitely happening, and we were keen today to put in a more… a performance more like us probably from Tuesday against Portadown, you know, we were disappointed.

“It’s disappointing to concede three goals against any team, you know, it doesn’t happen very often, so hopefully, we came out today and we were a bit more like ourselves in a way.

“We did good preparation during the week, we were in training to put things right, to review a few things, to look at things, see what went well, what didn’t go so well, and I think that paid off.

“And credit to the backroom staff and all for the hard work they put in to get us right today, and the boys took the game plan, actioned it and we came out with a really, really good win and a clean sheet.”

Howard Beverland

On that note, clean sheets are something Bangor have taken pride in of late, with a record-breaking 24 in last season’s double-winning crusade followed up by a commendable 11 so far in their first campaign back in the second-tier.

Add a Scott McArthur brace that sandwiched Ben Arthurs’ 24th of the campaign overall, and you have about as close to a perfect day as Feeney and his staff could have envisioned from the dugout.

Former Crusaders and Coleraine stalwart Beverland, who celebrated his 34th birthday at the end of last month, understands that feeling and tips the nature of the weekend’s success to inspire a strong end to 2023/24’s events.

With the Championship’s top two, leaders Portadown and second-placed Dundela, beaten at home by Annagh United and Institute respectively, just six points now separate the top five, and the defender reckons it is all to play for now.

“It’s huge, and that was really pleasing today, getting the clean sheet in. You know, you bounce back with a win, and you never know where it takes you; you look at results today and all of a sudden, it was kind of doom and gloom on Tuesday, and then after today, you’re feeling your way back into it in a way.

“So, yeah, long way to go, especially when it’s the split. You’re playing against the best teams and there’ll be points dropped, and that’s what’s happened today elsewhere.”

On the aspect of capitalising on mistakes for the goals, as was the case with both McArthur’s finishes, Beverland adds: “Massively, and I think, you know, we’re capitalising… we played against the wind there in the first half.

“And I think the way we controlled the game for near enough 90 minutes, I don’t know if they recorded a shot, which is credit to the boys. Those conditions today were as bad a wind during a game I’ve ever played in before, and we kind of managed the game into the wind, against the wind.

“The boys kept their shape, we kept the line high, we caught them offside today many times, and a really composed performance.”

Howard Beverland

Beverland also felt the bench made a difference, with five substitutes called upon in the second half to ensure Bangor didn’t get blown away amid the strong winds he refers to.

“It was really good across 90, you know, we have a bench that the manager can turn to and he did today,”

“I think maybe four or five players came on, and I think all of them impacted the game really well. That’s the way it’s got to be, if you want to be one of the best teams that’s competing to get promotion at that end of the table, you’ve got to have hungry subs.

“You know, subs can sometimes be the most important people because they’re the ones that need to be ready to be called on after five minutes or 55, and I thought they all did it today when they came on and impacted the game. It was really pleasing.”

Howard Beverland

(Posted: Monday, 8th April 2024)

Two-goal Scott McArthur believes the nature of his goals in Bangor’s handsome victory over Harland and Wolff Welders on Saturday was a much-needed rub of the green after a recent difficult stretch.

The local lad, who now has 14 goals in the yellow and blue shirt this season, struck a decisive double either side of half-time in the 3-0 win at a sun-drenched Clandeboye Park, with both his openings popping up as a result of lapses in the Welders backline.

McArthur’s brace sandwiched Ben Arthurs’ well-placed finish at goalkeeper Jack Mills’ near post eight minutes from the end of the first period, and the attacking midfielder believed it was a result that reflected a fine performance across both halves that ends a run of three successive defeats over the past couple of weeks.

There were strong gusts that threatened to sway Bangor’s focus at times, but the players remained planted to the ground and saw out a clean sheet – their 11th of the campaign.

“Delighted for the two goals. I think we haven’t had that luck recently, sort of we’ve maybe made mistakes where other teams have scored so, yeah, to pounce on that, you know, set us up for the win.

“I thought the first half, we were unbelievable. Created loads of chances, probably should’ve went in maybe four or five up. We were actually playing against the wind (in the first half), but I think we played better that way.

“Second half, you know, we got that early goal and, you know, when you go 3-0 up so early, maybe a bit of concentration goes, but we were able to keep the heads.

“Obviously, they put on all their attackers and went for it, but we were able to keep a clean sheet, which is important again.”

Scott McArthur

Despite recent reversals home and away to Portadown and against Institute at Clandeboye, McArthur insisted the players’ belief in their ability to turn things around never dipped.

The 3-0 loss to the Ports on Easter Tuesday was a match where Bangor were firmly second-best, but the heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to the same opponents at Shamrock Park had a fine display to go with it and the 1-0 reverse against ‘Stute was one where the Seasiders battled. McArthur reflected: “The three games, the three defeats there, we had the confidence, and I actually thought Portadown away, we were very good.

“And then Institute at home, I thought we were very good as well. I thought the game against Portadown there at home, I think that was maybe a one-off this season where we were miles off it, didn’t really create anything.

“But, you know, it’s good to get a few goals today, and to keep the clean sheet is really important for us going into the last few games.

“It’s important because you keep clean sheets and you don’t lose games, and it’s good that, you know, I think that was me and Ben had gone maybe three or four games without scoring there, so it’s good that we’ve got back on the scoresheet.

“You know, we’re confident here ahead of Dundela away.”

Scott McArthur

(Posted: Sunday, 7th April 2024)

Bangor brought an end to their three-game losing slump in convincing style after recording a largely dominant 3-0 win over Harland and Wolff Welders in the last scheduled home outing of the 2023/24 Playr-Fit Championship season.

The victory cements an unbeaten record against the east Belfast side this campaign, with a pair of successes and two draws from the four encounters, and this outcome at a sunny but blustery Clandeboye Park proved one of the Seasiders’ best performances since achieving promotion into the second-tier last year.

The hosts broke the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark, with some short build-up from the back by the Welders going awry and allowing Scott McArthur to capitalise. The attacking midfielder was placed one-on-one with visiting goalkeeper Jack Mills and was clinically incisive to slot low and open the scoring.

With that finish coming on 31 minutes, only six more were needed to double the advantage. In a back-to-front move that culminated in a fine pass by Tiarnan Mulvenna with the outside of his boot which slipped in the onrushing Ben Arthurs, the big striker showed fine footwork to cut inside the Welders defender and fire in at Mills’ near post to cap off a fantastic piece of counter-attacking and net his 24th of the season across all competitions.

There was some confusion surrounding the Seasiders’ third when the linesman had his flag raised for offside – against Arthurs – but McArthur was on the defensive blindside and very much onside, pouncing and blasting in at the Wall End for his 14th this term having latched onto an opportunistic ball in behind. Referee Ryan Hanna consulted with his assistant, who clarified the situation, and pointed to the centre circle to signal that the goal did, indeed, stand to extend the initiative.

Lee Feeney’s men, who faced a Welders side that featured former fan favourite midfielder Dylan O’Kane from the start, didn’t experience too much trouble after and weathered the gusty conditions to wrap up a slick three points.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, L.Francis, C.McDermott(S.Foster), H.Beverland, B.Walker(T.Mathieson), L.Harrison(M.Bradley), T.Mulvenna, B.Cushnie(J.Hughes), S.McArthur(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs.
Subs: M.Orbinson, D.Hume

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 13th April 2024 - DUNDELA v BANGOR, Championship, Wilgar Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 6th April 2024)

Friday, April 5 – Knockbreda Reserves vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, Breda Park, 8pm

Bangor Reserves face a Friday night examination this weekend when they visit Breda Park to take on Knockbreda Reserves, hopeful of recording their first victory since the thumping 7-0 success away to Newington at the end of February.

Having endured a winless March that saw them lose four on the spin before last Saturday’s clash with Warrenpoint Town was a late postponement – the ‘Point were unable to field a team and so the fixture did not proceed – David Downes and his charges are due a bit of feelgood spirit, and that is exactly what the second-string boss will be hoping for against the team that sit third from bottom in the league.

Knockbreda are likewise hungry for a return to winning ways having not won any of their last six outings, but their most recent affairs have tended to be close-run. They drew 3-3 at home to Institute a fortnight ago and ran in-form duo Queen’s University and Portadown close, losing 4-2 and 2-1 respectively, so Bangor must maintain steely determination to pick up all the reward on offer here.

Indeed, it was only by a solitary goal that the Yellows won this match just before Christmas, with Charley Craig scoring the winner just before half-time, but the players will be especially fired up to answer back and keep their hopes of title glory alive. Currently sat five points behind league leaders Harland and Wolff Welders, who have played a game fewer, wins are of the essence and Bangor will be fighting hard to tag another one onto the tally on Friday.

(Posted: Friday, 5th April 2024)

Saturday, April 6 – Bangor vs Harland and Wolff Welders, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3pm

It’s the last scheduled home game of the season in the Playr-Fit Championship for Bangor this weekend and, after a run of three successive defeats, the players could hardly be any more keen to give the Clandeboye faithful cause for cheer.

The Seasiders play host to Harland and Wolff Welders this Saturday on the back of a streak of losses in need of correcting – home and away reversals at the hands of Portadown have sandwiched a slender defeat to Institute in the previous trio – and the determination out on the park to return to winning ways is expected to be tangible against the division’s current sixth-placed side.

Having drawn twice with Paul Kee’s Welders before substitute Adam Neale bagged a winner at Blanchflower Park in the third encounter, Bangor have enjoyed a good record against the opponents on Saturday – former Seasiders Jamie Glover and Dylan O’Kane are part of their panel these days – but every game will pose fresh challenges and the prior encounters will not count for much when the ball is set rolling.

The Welders are 10 points behind Bangor with a couple of games in hand, too, so they will harbour outside hopes of qualifying for the promotion play-off and know that wrapping up victory here will be essential to that aim. For that reason, Lee Feeney’s charges know they can’t let their guard drop given, in a quirk of this season’s league and how Dundela cannot be promoted, they are actually two points closer to the play-off than they were before kick-off on Tuesday. That’s still very much a live hope for the Seasiders, and a win surely boosts their ambitions here.

(Posted: Friday, 5th April 2024)

Bangor assistant boss John Douglas has urged the supporters to wrap around the players for the last scheduled match at Clandeboye Park in the 2023/24 Playr-Fit Championship season.

The Seasiders are bidding to bounce back off the ropes following three successive defeats on Saturday when they entertain Harland and Wolff Welders and, ahead of kick-off, Douglas has rallied everyone associated with the club to do themselves proud and those on the pitch to reproduce the commitment and passion that has encapsulated this second-tier campaign.

As he approaches four full years in the role working alongside first-team manager Lee Feeney, Douglas has hailed the spirit shown throughout a club where “we’re all in this together” and pointed out just how determined the players are to deliver for the fans.

He believes the family feel around Bangor and the desire on the part of the players to do their people proud inspire a bright future going forward and insists that in the push for a promotion play-off place – an overachievement in its own right compared to expectations from the start of this term – those on the pitch will thrive with the faithful backing them up.

READ MORE

(Posted: Wednesday, 3rd April 2024)

Bangor assistant manager John Douglas reflected honestly on a disappointing day for the Seasiders at Clandeboye Park and admits Portadown ran away deserved winners in their penultimate scheduled home match of the season.

Niall Currie’s Ports netted three second-half strikes to rubber-stamp a 3-0 victory which lifts them to the Playr-Fit Championship summit, seven points clear of their Easter Tuesday hosts with just four matches remaining, and Douglas felt the Co Armagh club were well worth the three points that means Bangor stay in fourth position.

The man who has served as Lee Feeney’s trusted No.2 for the past four years also felt that Portadown’s desire and commitment to winning first and second balls ultimately proved a pivotal factor and left the Yellows on the back foot for chunks of a game where the yellow and blue display that never really got going nor reflected the feelgood time of year.

He felt the result was fair but keenly stressed that it gives the North Down pride cause to produce a stirring reaction in their second pre-split outing this Saturday afternoon.

“To be honest with you, I thought we were second-best all over the park. I think we’ve had a lot of hard luck stories this season, draws and defeats where we played well enough to win the game and haven’t got our reward, but on this occasion, you know, definitely, the better side won. We’ve no queries about that.

"I thought every department, they were better than us, and it hurts me to say but I felt they wanted it more as well. They showed a bit more passion, a bit more desire than us; when there was a first ball, they were winning the first ball, the second ball, they won the second ball, and when you’re not winning the first and second balls, it’s going to be very hard for you to get anything from the game, and that was exactly the case.

“I didn’t think that we did the basics particularly well, I felt we were reactive rather than proactive, we were waiting for them to come at us and, again, when it’s like that, it’s very hard to get a foothold in the game.

“I’d say Portadown controlled key areas of the game, and it was from winning those first and second balls that they were able to do that and they were able to put pressure on us. I know results are key but I look at performance levels first and foremost, and we just never got started in the game. The better team won, it was as simple as that, and credit to them in the end, they showed the heart and desire to deserve to win the game.

“In pre-season, people looked at Portadown as favourites to win the Championship and they brought in a lot of talented players to make that happen, and on Tuesday night, I think that was probably the Portadown that people more or less expected to see from the start of the season, and maybe they have clicked into gear. They’re a high-quality side, and when you’re facing up to that sort of quality, you have to match that. I thought we were second-best throughout and reacted more than proacted.

“I said to the players after about that passion and desire, and they’ve shown that all season and they’ve rightly been praised for that, but Portadown wanted it more and they’ve come and ultimately deserved the three points here.”

John Douglas

Douglas added that Portadown’s quality, which shone through in the form of an Eamon Fyfe brace either side of Dougie Wilson’s rasping volley just before the hour, called for more and branded the display a “learning curve” going forward that Bangor can reap rewards from. Singling out impressive Coleraine loanee Conor McDermott for plaudits, with the 26-year-old right wing-back slotting into midfield after fellow January arrival Tiarnan Mulvenna was a late pull-out of the line-up due to an injury in warm-up, Douglas felt the bar wasn’t really raised across the board for a match that demanded it.

“I think, and this is me being brutally honest, we’ve needed players delivering eights, nines, 10s out of 10 every week to be where we are and get the results we have. Against Portadown, the only player I would say who played to the best of their capabilities was probably Conor McDermott, the rest I felt weren’t at their best, and the reality is that we needed more eights, nines and 10s in a game of this magnitude.

“Competing with teams at this level, the likes of your Portadowns who have the players that they have, it’s going to take everything to get a result against them, and we’d too many out there, I thought, who probably didn’t play to the best of their capabilities, and we ended up being punished for that.

“We don’t have much margin for error being up at the top end and, as I say, facing up against quality opposition, your Portadowns, Dundelas, Institutes, as a newly promoted team in the league this season, we’ve needed to deliver to the best of our ability to get to that position. When you’re not at that level and the other team has the quality and the determination on the day, it’s going to be a tough day, and that game there was a big learning curve for us. A big learning curve.

“They’re a team with great quality and great depth, a lot of players who are experienced at the senior level and lots of Premiership and Championship experience, and you take a look at their bench as well, it’s got the same level of quality. That’s not something we have as much of, the experience at this level of the game, and this season has been about learning, and we’ve been learning along the way, learning more and more about ourselves and what it takes to win at this level. We’ve some players who’ve never played at this level consistently before and they’re learning more about it as well.

“Portadown have more of that experience in their squad and I think that showed a bit here. I’m a believer that you win as a team and you lose as a team, and we weren’t good enough collectively to get something, we had to be on top of our game. That’s three defeats in a row now, isn’t it? We’ve gone from a run of winning games 5-0, 4-0, 4-0 to stepping into a tough run of games that we’ve not been as flowing in, where we’ve played top, top opposition and not got anything from.

“To be in the position we’re in, and I know that we set the bar high in pre-season, but where we’re in a position where we’re in the conversation for potentially being promoted out of this league, it’s been a credit to the players who’ve gone out and performed as consistently as we had been to go on a long unbeaten run and that run in the league over the last few months where we’ve got ourselves into where we are now. They’re a great squad, great characters and we’ve never doubted their commitment.

“Now, we’ve got to work on getting that consistency back, and it’s as simple as getting back on the training pitch and working hard to take on this run of games, the final run-in. Our season’s not done, make no mistake about that. We’re far from done, we’re still fighting for that play-off position and we want to have a strong end to have a chance of playing in that. And we’ve seen how unpredictable this league can be, so we need to be prepared to capitalise when the chance comes along to make up ground and go for the play-off.

“It’s a learning curve, and if we approach that and look back on that in the right way and we come out with the right mentality, I have no doubt we’ll come out better on the other side and be a better team for it.”

John Douglas

Spring is a season for blooming rather than wilting, and that is exactly what Douglas will be challenging his players to do when they take on the four remaining games of the post-split.

He wants the players to stand up and be counted, starting with this weekend’s home clash with Harland and Wolff Welders, and believes the characters in the dressing room have the resolve required to start firing again in the season climax.

“You could hear a pin drop in the changing room after, the players were hurting and they know when they’ve not performed as well as they’re capable of.

“They don’t need Lee or me or Deano (Dean Gordon) or Michael (McClelland) to tell them, they know where they’ve fallen short and they know in their heads how they’ll put it right.

“That’s one reason why it is a great dressing room to be involved in, the players are never saying afterwards that this didn’t work in the game or that didn’t work in the game. They already know and they’ll work hard to put it right.

“We’ve all a choice to make here for the final four games of the season. Do we curl up and let the season fizzle out, or do we stand up and go and be counted in the final four games and show what we’re capable of?

“I know the players will go into training fired up and determined to give a reaction, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind, and we’re looking ahead to what’s going to be another tough, tough game at home against the Welders and then three games away from home.”

John Douglas

(Posted: Wednesday, 3rd April 2024)

It proved an Easter Tuesday to forget for Bangor as Lee Feeney’s side suffered a third straight defeat in the Playr-Fit Championship – 3-0 at home to Portadown – to commence their post-split schedule.

A goalless first half was followed by a second period in which Niall Currie’s Ports claimed the game by the scruff of the neck, with Eamon Fyfe the tormentor-in-chief during that spell. Indeed, less than one minute after the restart, the Coleraine loanee capitalised ruthlessly on a slip in defence by Reece Neale before slotting the ball beyond the onrushing James Taylor to break the deadlock for the visitors.

On 50 minutes, Fyfe contrived to somehow spurn the ball wide from Ryan Mayse’s late lay-off with an open goal to aim for – a miss that you really would have had to see to believe – however the reprieve was brief for Bangor. Seven minutes later, former Ballymena United defender Dougie Wilson rifled an unstoppable shot on the volley into the roof of the Wall End net that doubled Portadown’s advantage.

Ben Arthurs almost halved the deficit having crashed a low attempt off the base of the post, but the next goal was again to arrive at the opposite end and again through ex-Dundela forward Fyfe, who’s hit the target four times against the Yellows this term and who poked low into the bottom right corner on the stroke of added-time that ultimately signed and sealed the three points for the Co Armagh men, who are now seven points ahead of Bangor at the summit.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, H.Beverland(G.Beattie), L.Francis, S.Foster, L.Harrison(B.Walker), M.Bradley(D.Hume), T.Mathieson(B.Cushnie), S.McArthur(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs, C.McDermott.
Subs: M.Orbinson, J.Hughes

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 6th April 2024, BANGOR v H&W WELDERS, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Tuesday, 2nd April 2024)

Tuesday, April 2 – Bangor vs Portadown, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7.45pm

Bangor begin their post-split on home soil this Easter Tuesday, with Portadown visiting Clandeboye Park in what is the fifth and final meeting between the sides this campaign.

The Ports, in second, have two wins having recorded two 2-1 victories at Shamrock Park – Zach Barr’s double in the Irish Cup was followed by a last-gasp Kenny Kane gut punch 11 days previous to this encounter – with the Seasiders having added a 2-2 draw at home to August’s 1-0 triumph on the road thanks to Scott McArthur’s sublime solo finish that day.

Should the hosts bid to stay on the coattails of those leading the pack, namely Portadown – who are four points better off going into this duel – and league leaders Dundela, who won’t be able to go up but are still chasing the Playr-Fit Championship title, then a win would likely be vital both for picking up a precious three points for the season tally after successive losses and showing the likes of Niall Currie’s men that the Yellows’ flame hasn’t burnt out just yet.

Lee Feeney and his charges will enter this rapturous nighttime encounter with hunger, and in the wake of a 1-0 defeat to Institute last time out when captain Mikhail Kennedy’s header 62 minutes in made all the difference, Bangor will hope that this holiday evening can kick off a barnstorming run-in that would do the fans proud for the backing that has been afforded throughout this term. With this also being the penultimate home league game of the split and final floodlit duel involving the Seasiders at Clandeboye in 2023/24 – pending, of course, any potential play-off – the players will be keen to produce their best selves for this battle.


Bangor assistant coach Dean Gordon has rallied the players to produce a big finish that befits their status as the “best team” in the Playr-Fit Championship this season.

The Seasiders tackle Portadown at Clandeboye Park in the first of the final five on Easter Tuesday hopeful of marking their return to winning ways following successive defeats to Institute last Wednesday and the Ports the previous Friday. Now, the current fourth-placed occupiers have the chance for swift revenge on the latter and, speaking after the 1-0 home reversal to Stute in which Mikhail Kennedy headed the winner in just after the hour mark, Gordon insists his players will be going all out to give Bangor supporters cause for cheer in the run-in.

He explained:

“We just keep going the way we’ve been going and just take one game at a time now. We’re good enough, we are good enough to go and win every game. Every game in this split, we’re good enough to go and win.

“There’s not one team in this league that we can say is better than us, and we’re not going to blow the players up and say that, but I strongly believe from a personal perspective that we’re the best team in the league.

“They (the players) believe that, and we’ve just got to show that for the last five games and give the supporters something they deserve.

“Starting off in the season, we were expected to be where we are now? We’re probably exceeding expectations, and we’ve grown as the season’s gone on, we’ve just grown from strength to strength.

“The character of the dressing room and the support we get is just, it’s second to none, it’s fantastic.”

Dean Gordon

(Posted: Monday, 1st April 2024)

Michael Halliday has agreed a new 2 year professional contract with Bangor Football Club.

The 44 year old striker joined the Seasiders in 2018 and has scored 40 goals for the club. Michael's new contract will see him through to the end of the 2025/26 season, with an option to extend even further.

Michael said:

"I am delighted to commit my future to Bangor Football Club. I might be the club's oldest ever player, but I still feel that I've got the legs to compete at this level and higher for at least another two season.

"Right now, I feel like i could keep on playing until I am 50. I still have a lot to offer the club both on and off the field.

"If truth be told, Ben Arthurs actually wanted my signing to be a condition of his recent contract renewal, but I wanted to wait and see."

Michael Halliday

(Posted: Monday, 1st April 2024)

Today's Bangor Reserves game against Warrenpoint Town Reserves was called off, with Warrenpoint unable to field a full team.

(Posted: Saturday, 30th March 2024)

Saturday, March 30 – Bangor Reserves vs Warrenpoint Town, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am

Bangor Reserves bring the curtain down on a rather downbeat March at Clandeboye Park this Saturday morning when they entertain Warrenpoint Town Reserves.

Having hit the ropes after a run of four consecutive defeats to Dundela (2-0), Portadown (3-2), Queen’s University and Harland and Wolff Welders (both 3-1) this month, the Seasiders are determined to bounce back fighting and clinch victory by hook or by crook against the ‘Point, who are 10th-placed in the Championship/PIL Development League and themselves are entering this clash on the back of a three-game losing streak.

Purely for rebuilding momentum and knowing now that they are two points off the league-leading Welders, whose comeback victory at Blanchflower Park last weekend ensured they leapfrogged their opponents into top spot with a couple of games in hand, David Downes’ young Yellows are on the back foot really for the first time this whole campaign and know that they must stay on the coattails of those around them to maintain hopes of hitting their title stride once more with just five games to go.

Charley Craig’s first-half penalty had sent Bangor into the lead and their performance during the opening 45 minutes was deserving of the advantage at the interval, and it was a similar story when Jack McCosh bulleted home a header that had the Seagulls ahead at the break against Queen’s the previous week, but delivering for the full 90 and not dropping their guard is what must be done should those in yellow and blue bid to sustain their momentum right until the dying embers.

(Posted: Friday, 29th March 2024)

Bangor duo Seanna Foster and Ben Cushnie both felt the Seasiders were slightly hard done by in their defeat to Institute at Clandeboye Park in the final outing before the split, though both insist the hard work hasn’t stopped and they will be pushing for a reaction as soon as possible. Having ended the traditional set of 33 fixtures in fourth-place, Lee Feeney’s men now know they will entertain Portadown in the first of the final five on Easter Tuesday when they will bid to end a mini-blip of two successive defeats in the Playr-Fit Championship.

The Ports’ last-gasp winner over Bangor at Shamrock Park had those in yellow and blue very hungry to respond in this one, but Mikhail Kennedy’s close-range header just after the hour mark proved the difference and saw Kevin Deery’s Stute leap above their hosts into third. Foster felt his side were good value for at least something from the contest and believes it was as good a performance “for 90 minutes” as the Seasiders have given in some time.

“Yeah, you seen the football we played throughout the game and we played them completely off the park. There’s been times this season when we’ve got three points playing scrappy football… you know, that’s probably the first time we’ve performed for 90 minutes.

“And then you see the reaction in the changing room, the boys are completely disappointed. We’re not going in arguing with each other, which shows a sign of a good side, and you know you’re going to get a reaction from us because we’ve done it all year.”

Seanna Foster
Foster, who was making his first start for the senior side in four months having undergone knee surgery around the turn of the year, is relishing the chance to make amends. The Cliftonville loanee (27), who has notched up almost 60 first-team appearances since first linking up with Bangor at the start of the 2022/23 campaign, reckons a turning point is close and is looking forward to seeing what the team can still achieve.

“That’s the thing with football. There’s always a game the next week, or there’s always a way to make amends. And, with the two teams that’s given us a bad reaction in the last week, you know, the tables will turn.

“We’ve to play them again, and hopefully, it’s us coming out on top next time.”

Seanna Foster

Cushnie has also had injury turbulence to overcome this term and was introduced as a sub in this one when he replaced midfielder Marty Bradley, with the forward targeting a clean run of match fitness for what’s left of this term.

“Yeah, just, my ankle flared up after the Ballinamallard game, so it’s just about building my fitness back up and getting back in the starting 11 hopefully next week,” he explained. On the game itself, the 22-year-old continues:

“I think Seanna said it, I think we were the better team I’d say for the 90 minutes, really. I think some decisions aren’t going our way, some more obvious than others, but at the end of the day, you can’t blame it all on decisions.

“I thought over 90 minutes, we were the better team, we were a bit unlucky.”

Ben Cushnie

On the disallowed goal, Cushnie said:

“I don’t know, I think he (the referee) said that it was something to do with the follow-through from Tom’s (Mathieson) tackle, but I was standing right in front of it and he took all the ball.”

Ben Cushnie

Foster also believes that lessons will be learned going forward and praised the relationships and responsibility within the team that have underpinned Bangor’s success in 2023/24.

“You know, they were going to get chances and they’ve scored, and the team’s going to learn from it, we’re never going to give chances like that away again. The team’s building a lot of maturity and we’re building relationships across the back and the midfield.

“It’s taken time, there’s been a lot of changes, a lot of changes in personnel, a lot of injuries which affect things. You know, it just shows that whenever someone drops out and someone steps in, everyone knows their roles, everyone knows their responsibilities and knows their jobs for the team.”

Seanna Foster

Sometimes you don’t always get what you deserve in football, and that was the view taken by Bangor assistant coach Dean Gordon in the aftermath of the 1-0 home loss to Institute on Wednesday night.

In the Seasiders’ final pre-split outing, a solitary Mikhail Kennedy header proved difference-making on 62 minutes as the ex-Crusaders hitman bulleted a header from Daniel Lafferty’s free-kick supply past James Taylor and ultimately secured three points for the Foylesiders.

It also meant Stute leapfrogged their hosts into third-place, meaning that Bangor will begin their Playr-Fit Championship post-split run-in with a mouthwatering battle with Portadown at Clandeboye Park on Easter Tuesday. Gordon, who shed light on the regroup following last Friday’s last-gasp 2-1 reversal at the hands of the Ports that has now been made successive defeats for the first time since late October, is optimistic going into the final five and insists when Bangor clicked into gear, it made for some fine viewing at times. He also opined that Ben Arthurs’ would-be leveller merely 10 minutes from time that was chalked off after an adjudged foul on Stute stopper Gareth Muldoon should’ve stood, but he is not one to dwell and believes the Yellows will save their best for last.

“Obviously, coming off the back of the Portadown game, we’d regrouped, we knew exactly what Institute was going to come in with tonight and they were going to put the three lines of defence up as such and it was going to be hard to break down.

“First 20 minutes or so, we probably did struggle to break them down, but then we got into the flow of things, and then for 20 or 25 minutes, I thought we came in, first half, on top of the game. I felt we were creating more chances than what they were creating in the game, and we played some beautiful football at times, some really good football. Second half, we were confident enough to come out to believe that we were going to continue from where we were, and we did.

“The performances from the boys in there was superb tonight, you couldn’t fault a player. Every single player didn’t leave nothing out there, emptied the tanks. We’re beat by a single goal, it was a great delivery from Lafferty, and the man at the near post has scored a header. But again, don’t want to talk about referees, but Ben’s goal, I thought there was nothing wrong with it, I thought the keeper dropped it and spilt it. People say you create your own luck in football, but we just don’t seem to be getting the rub of it at the moment at critical times in the game, et cetera.

“So, we just regroup again, we go again. We still believe… there’s five games left, we win all five games, we’re still going to be in there. We’re a good side, the boys are gutted there in the dressing room as we are as management and staff, but we go again on Tuesday.”

Dean Gordon

Gordon praised the midfield’s application to the cause and sequences of play in the first half that did bring about some flowing moves that led to open-play chances. He also hailed the work-rate of the team as a whole and felt Bangor’s defensive organisation was also a highlight.

“I thought our midfield three, I thought Marty Bradley, Lewis Harrison and Tiarnan Mulvenna, first half, was outstanding in the middle there,” Gordon reflected.

“They were showing tenacity… Lee said it at half-time as well, when we’re in possession, the football we were playing, it was flowing, it was one, two-touch, it was triangles being played, it was people running off the ball.

“When we lost the ball back, there was tenacity to win it back, you could see the hunger to win the ball back so we could start playing again. So, you know, for me, first half, those three in the middle there, unfortunately we lost Marty Bradley with a bit of a calf strain early in the second half and Cush come on in that No.10 role.

“The only save James Taylor had to make was really, probably, 10 minutes to go, there was one down to his right-hand side and he got a big strong hand on it and cleared it. And then you could say, putting bodies on the line, the last five minutes, there was a mad goalmouth scramble, I think it was three or four challenges… they looked destined to score maybe a second goal as we were pushing for the equaliser.

“The boys just thrown themselves on the line to defend our goal, you know. Every player, every single player, you couldn’t criticise one of them, they gave everything tonight.”

Dean Gordon

(Posted: Thursday, 28th March 2024)

Bangor suffered a second consecutive loss in the Playr-Fit Championship on Wednesday night after a 1-0 defeat to fellow promotion chasers Institute, whose resolve in defence proved a source of frustration all night for Lee Feeney's hosts who slip below the Foylesiders into fourth for the split.

An opening of few chances threatened to spark into life when Reece Neale's delivery was marginally out of reach of Ben Arthurs on 16 minutes, with Institute stopper Gareth Muldoon stretching shrewdly to prevent any own goal scenario emerging at the Clandeboye Road end. At the other end, James Taylor just kept a looping delivery from crossing the goalline, but precious little in front of either goal emerged until Scott McArthur dragged wide of the left-hand post from Arthurs' layoff five minutes from the interval and Tom Mathieson sliced over from close range on the stroke.

A fantastic goal-saving clearance from the auxiliary centre-back Conor McDermott on the blow kept Bangor's lead intact with Mikhail Kennedy lurking as a cagey battle opened up late in the half, but Kennedy did open the scoring just after the hour mark when he flicked in from the near post from a free-kick scenario. Bangor sought to build up their rhythm yet again, with Tiarnan Mulvenna firing just over the bar from outside the area after a well-worked move involving a number of short interchanges.

Arthurs had a goal disallowed following a Reece Neale corner on 80 minutes, with a foul on the Stute goalkeeper adjudged despite extensive protestations from the stands, and Lewis Francis headed a Ben Cushnie cross over in added-time to compound what was a difficult night in front of goal for the Seasiders.

BANGOR TEAM
J.Taylor, R.Neale, L.Francis, C.McDermott, S.Foster(H.Beverland),T.Mathieson(M.Halliday), M.Bradley(B.Cushnie), T.Mulvenna, L.Harrison, B.Arthurs, S.McArthur.
Subs: M.Orbinson, A.Neale, M.Watterson

NEXT MATCH:
Tuesdsy, 2nd April 2024 - BANGOR v PORTADOWN, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Wednesday, 27th March 2024)

Bangor Central Primary School were crowned champions at this year’s Gerry Armstrong Cup at Clandeboye Park.

Nine primary schools from across North Down entered the tournament, which was held on Friday 22 March.

Bangor FC Community Liaison Officer Paul Cain said: “Congratulations to Central Primary school for winning the trophy and all the teams who took part. The quality of the football was excellent, and I hope all the young people enjoyed the event.

“As a community-based club, we organise the annual tournament to bring together local primary schools, so they can participate in sport and enjoy the experience of playing at Clandeboye Park with classmates and parents watching on.”

Teams involved in the competition included: Ballyholme, Ballymagee, Bangor Central, Kilmaine, Rathmore, St Comgall’s, St Malachy’s, St Patrick’s, Holywood and Towerview.

Paul continued: “Huge thanks to Chris Turner and his team at McDonald’s, Bangor for providing fruit and refreshments at the competition. Thanks also to volunteer Sam Gamble who organised the fixtures and co-ordinated the overall event.

“Special appreciation, however, must go to former Bangor FC and Northern Ireland footballing legend Gerry Armstrong for his continued support of the tournament. We’re already excited about the 2025 event.”

(Posted: Tuesday, 26th March 2024)

Wednesday, March 27 – Bangor vs Institute, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 8pm

There’s merely one matchday remaining of Bangor’s pre-split schedule, with Institute visiting Clandeboye Park for a rare Wednesday night kick-off in a clash of third against fourth in the Playr-Fit Championship.

Lee Feeney’s Seasiders are intent on dusting themselves down after the agonising 2-1 defeat to Portadown last time out and, pending how the Ports do on Tuesday evening at home to a basement-dwelling but recently resurgent Knockbreda, could have second-place up for grabs if they better the Shamrock Park outfit’s result 24 hours earlier – but it won’t be easy against the only side they haven’t beaten in the league yet.

Stute, who first visited Clandeboye Park in early September when Lewis Francis’ 97th-minute headed equaliser cancelled out Kirk McLaughlin’s second-half opener, emerged victorious by inflicting the heaviest defeat of Bangor’s season upon them at the Brandywell – a 4-0 reversal in October when a hat-trick by substitute McLaughlin added to Shaun Leppard’s opener and compounded a bad day at the office for Lee Feeney’s men in the Maiden City.

And following the sucker punch that was Kenny Kane’s stoppage-time dagger on Friday, with the hosts leapfrogging their visitors in the standings as a result, the Yellows will be eager for a quick response that would build crucial momentum ahead of the five-game split. Kevin Deery’s Institute, who finished second-bottom last term, have also enjoyed an impressive campaign built on both quality and youth and will pose a stern test in what should prove a competitive and charged affair.

(Posted: Monday, 25th March 2024)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney admits the nature of Friday night’s defeat to Portadown was a “bitter pill to swallow”, but a hearty display in defeat has inspired his belief that his players will be all the better for it going forward.

After Kenny Kane’s stoppage-time winner for the Ports at Shamrock Park left the Seasiders empty-handed despite defender David Hume replying half an hour on from Eamon Fyfe’s 24th-minute opener, there was a particular rawness to this reversal not felt for some time among the visiting faithful.

Much of that was down to the performance, which the Kilkeel supremo rightly praised in the aftermath, and he has rallied his charges to channel their frustration into hitting back in style against Institute on Wednesday night.

That final pre-split encounter under the floodlights at Clandeboye Park at least represents a chance for Bangor to react quickly, and Feeney, who hailed how his men adapted to difficult weather conditions and a somewhat bobbly playing surface at the Co Armagh venue, has no doubts as to whether the side can conjure up a response following Friday’s disappointment.

“The first thing you want to do after a defeat like that is to channel the players. You want to channel their frustrations because we’ve got a massive game on Wednesday night and you want them to feel up for it and wanting to deliver a quick response.

“It’s hard because I felt we were clearly the better team in the game, we were getting up the pitch with the ball, and to concede in the last minute of the game, it’s tough to take, it is. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

“I felt we started the game well, we started the game on the front foot and we were playing some good football and creating early chances. It was tough conditions and it wasn’t an easy pitch to play on, it was a bobbly pitch that did make it a little bit harder to necessarily play the way we want to play, but I really felt that we adapted to the conditions well and had control in the game early on.

“There was a piece of play in the first half where we must’ve put together 20 passes, we cut it back from the right-hand side and Tom (Mathieson) got the shot away from the edge of the box and it was tipped over by the ‘keeper (Aaron Hogg). That was as good a piece of football as I’ve seen all season, and I thought we played really well in the first half.

“Yes, we gave a silly goal away, but I never had any doubts over the character of the players to respond, and we found our rhythm again and we ended the first half really well again. The second half was the same, and we got the goal early on in the half to equalise, which I felt we fully deserved at that point for the way we were playing.

“The players put the work in, they did their jobs on the pitch and I can’t fault them for that, I thought they showed character and put in a performance that showed how good they are.

“I have a lot of positive takeaways from the performance, and to be in the position we’re in, at the start of the season, you’d probably have bit your hand off for that, and there’s still six games to go and a lot can happen between now and then. I would say that I didn’t think we were as sharp in the final third as we could’ve been, which is the first time I would’ve said that in a while – from a finishing point of view, we’ve had one or two where we could’ve done slightly better, but we’re aware we were also playing against quality opposition on the night.

"I believe we’ll be stronger for a defeat like that, we’ll be better for it, and for us now, it’s about taking it into Wednesday night.”

Lee Feeney

Fyfe’s opener, which came after a loose play-out by goalkeeper James Taylor was intercepted by tall striker Zach Barr – it was his shot that was parried into the Coleraine loanee’s path to tap in – didn’t flatten Bangor, who had enjoyed the better of the play up to that point, and Hume’s leveller after defensive partner Lewis Francis headed Reece Neale’s delivery across Hogg’s goal nine minutes post the interval was well-deserved for a mentally resilient response.

It was, of course, to end in heartbreak, but with Ballygowan hero Hume becoming Bangor’s 15th different goalscorer in the 2023/24 campaign, Feeney feels the diversity in the scoring ranks has been of big benefit to the Seasiders.

“That’s been a credit to us this season, we’ve got goals from all over the team and there’s a lot of ways that we can put the ball in the back of the net. In that sequence, it’s a ball in from the right-hand side and big Lewis is in the right place to head it back across the face of goal, it causes problems in the Portadown defence and Davy is there to put the ball in for the equaliser. “We work on this in training, how we can find new ways to hurt our opponents and pick out spaces in the defence that we can capitalise on, and we’ve got a squad where a lot of players are able to score, and that’s benefited us a lot this season.”

“Listen, we’re far from done. There’s still a lot of football to be played, there’ll be other teams that slip up and we’ve got to do our best to capitalise when we get the chance. We’ll do a bit of work in training on Tuesday ahead of the Institute game, and that’s where we want to go and deliver a quick response.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Monday, 25th March 2024)

Charley Craig admitted it just wasn’t good enough from Bangor Reserves as they suffered a fourth successive defeat the Championship/PIL Development League on Saturday morning.

The defeat at Harland and Wolff Welders U21 was made all the harder to swallow given it was a second straight 3-1 loss having led at half-time, with striker Craig converting from the penalty spot on 17 minutes after Sam Millar was upended in the area, but three finishes after the hour mark from the hosts turned the tide and kept the points in Blanchflower Park.

It piled more frustration on David Downes’ charges, who also ceded top spot in the table to their opponents on Saturday – the Welders also retain two games in hand – and leaves the side playing catch-up in their bid to wrap up title glory.

Craig pointed to the lost leads, having lost each of their last three despite also scoring first against Queen’s University and Portadown beforehand, as the biggest sickener behind this challenging spell for the young Seasiders.

“Yeah, 100 per cent, it’s happened now two, three weeks in a row, which is not good enough. We’re not learning from our mistakes every week, the same thing’s happening; we’re just getting into half-time, getting a bit lackadaisical and then just… bottle it. We’re throwing it away and we’re just bottling it completely.

“But, no, we’ve got no excuse for ourselves, it’s just not good enough all over. We started well, the first half was good, we just didn’t take our chances enough. And then, obviously, I had a chance at the start of the second half which I should’ve taken myself. And again, it’s just not good enough all over.

“But yeah, we done really well in the first half, I thought. We played football, played the football we usually have this season, then it’s just been the same as the past two weeks. We’ve just got into half-time, talking about what happened in the past few games, and just completely bottled it the second half.

“We played football in spells in the second half as well, it was just them vital moments that loses games, and unfortunately, we’ve just been unlucky in those moments in the past couple of weeks."

Charley Craig

On where the game was won and lost, 18-year-old Craig, who figured alongside Jude Healy as a strike pairing on Saturday, felt cheap fouls and a lack of unity were contributing factors.

“Yeah, I feel like we just… second half, we were diving in, every challenge on the edge of the box,” he reflected. “And that’s what gave them the chance to get back into it. We were just giving silly fouls away, just not working for each other – I think that’s probably the biggest thing.

“The heart of the team is backing each other up, if someone goes down, picking them up, work harder for them. If you lose the ball, winning it back… it’s just, the word ‘team’ wasn’t there, and it’s simple at the end of the day, it just wasn’t good enough.”

Charley Craig

The season’s by no means a lost cause, though, and with 10th-placed Warrenpoint Town visiting Clandeboye Park next Saturday morning, there’s a chance to make swift amends.

Building up a head of steam is important for capitalising on any slip-ups from the challengers and with five games remaining, fate could well see the pendulum swing back in the Yellows’ favour if they enjoy a strong end.

“100 per cent, we just have to win all the games we’ve got,” Craig says. That’s all we can do. The rest is going to fall into place, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, so it’s down to us to win every single game we can and try and get as many points on the board.”

Charley Craig

(Posted: Sunday, 24th March 2024)

A fourth consecutive defeat befell Bangor Reserves on Saturday morning – and also saw them lose top spot in the Championship/PIL Development League – with a 3-1 defeat to new leaders Harland and Wolff Welders U21 at Blanchflower Park in east Belfast.

Bangor drew first blood with 17 minutes played. Some good work from Sam Millar was rewarded as his Welders counterpart upending the left-back as he chased the ball down, with Charley Craig blasting low into the bottom left corner after the referee pointed to the spot.

The visitors continued to enjoy chances in what remained of the first half after a start that also saw the Welders strike the upright, with strikers Charley Craig and Jude Healy causing problems among the frontline and Mitchel Watterson breaking forward from midfield, but the goal differential remained one at the interval.

An equaliser arrived on the stroke of the hour from a dead-ball situation. After a lunging tackle from Jacob Chisholm was just mistimed, the subsequent direct free-kick sailed over Mason Hume and into the top left corner as the Welders restored parity in the contest. From then, the hosts applied pressure while the visitors – in a changed blue away strip – sent the ball upfield to escape the strain, but it was the Welders who added the next goal with a close-range header on 79 minutes and they clinched it in added-time with a drilled low shot into the bottom right.

(Posted: Saturday, 23rd March 2024)

It was defeat in the most heartbreaking of fashions for Bangor on Friday night after a 94th-minute dagger denied the Seasiders a share of the spoils in an agonising 2-1 defeat to Portadown.

Having fought from behind when the Ports first took the lead on 24 minutes, as a loose play-out from goalkeeper James Taylor was intercepted by striker Zach Barr whose subsequent shot was parried into Eamon Fyfe's path for a tap-in, Kenny Kane's low finish after Taylor punched out Ross Redman's left-sided delivery clinched the three points for the hosts and handed Lee Feeney's Bangor just a second league defeat of 2024 in a painful way.

In between, the Yellows – wearing changed white – sparked scenes of ecstasy in a raucous away end when two centre-backs combined. After Lewis Francis headed back across the face of goal, David Hume slammed in an equaliser nine minutes after the interval before wheeling behind the goal where the Seasider faithful soaked the celebrations in.

But there was to be that final twist in the tale that saw Niall Currie's Portadown keep all the rewards on offer and leapfrog their visitors into second-place in the Playr-Fit Championship, with Bangor's focus swiftly turning to the final match of the pre-split on Wednesday evening when Institute visit Clandeboye Park.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, D.Hume, L.Francis, T.Mathieson, T.Mulvenna, S.McArthur(S.Foster), B.Arthurs, A.Neale(B.Cushnie), C.McDermott.
Subs: M.Orbinson, H.Beverland, M.Bradley, M.Halliday, B.Walker

NEXT MATCH:
Wednesday, 27.03.2024 - BANGOR v. INSTITUTE, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 8:00pm

(Posted: Friday, 22nd March 2024)

Season-defining is the word that springs to mind regarding Bangor Reserves’ clash with their Harland and Wolff Welders counterparts this Saturday at Blanchflower Park, with the Yellows staring into a first-versus-second battle that, in truth, they can’t really afford to lose.

After three straight defeats, the Seasiders are due a turn in fortunes and will be chomping at the bit to make sure past mistakes are put right in east Belfast. Following a real sickener last Saturday when Queen’s University turned the tables after Jack McCosh’s header sent Bangor into the break 1-0 up at Clandeboye Park, they were handed a third straight defeat following another comeback loss to Portadown (3-2) last Monday and a home reversal a fortnight ago against Dundela (2-0).

The fate is in the Welders’ hands as we speak given that they sit a point off the top and with a couple of games in hand, but what David Downes will be determined to achieve is to make key inroads that can stunt their opponents’ momentum – and that can be done should the Seagulls soar to three points here.

It’s a big game, and one where the visiting players will need little charging up for given what is at stake. It promises to be a cracker.


After letting slip the initiative in hugely disappointing fashion against Queen’s University last weekend, defender Jack McCosh insists there’s no better place for Bangor Reserves to show their steel than Blanchflower Park this Saturday. That’s because a first-versus-second battle will erupt as Harland and Wolff Welders’ young guns entertain David Downes’ Seasiders in a season-defining battle. Split by a point in the standings and with the Welders having two games in hand, it’s a must-not-lose at the very least should Bangor bid to keep charged up until the end.

They’d be setting the record straight with a win too. McCosh’s powerful header on the stroke of half-time put the hosts in front at a damp, drizzly Clandeboye Park last Saturday, but what followed were three sucker-punching Queen’s goals that instead inflicted a third successive loss after defeats to fellow high flyers Portadown and Dundela in the two weeks beforehand.

The 18-year-old said:

“We’re playing against the Welders who second in the league, they’re obviously in good form and they’ve beaten the Duns (on Saturday), so it’ll be a tough game obviously.

“But I think there’s no better place to do it, get back to winning ways and show the character we have in the squad, I think that’s really important for us.”

Jack McCosh

(Posted: Thursday, 21st March 2024)

The floodlights will be on and the leashes will be off as Bangor travel to Portadown on Friday night hopeful of producing a major flourish and boosting their standing ahead of the split.

The penultimate match for the Seasiders ahead of the final five, in which the Ports will travel to Clandeboye Park with the Playr-Fit Championship’s top five teams having all consolidated their top-half place, the visitors will move top with a win and above Dundela for a few hours at least while increasing their breathing space to Niall Currie’s side to five points – however, the jeopardy enters the equation because a Portadown win would instead lift them above the Seasiders and into second spot themselves.

It's a high-stakes encounter, and Portadown are buoyed after checking into North Down on Tuesday night and picking up three points courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Ards. Brandon Diau, Eamon Fyfe and Zach Barr hit the net after Max Miller’s opener for the Red and Blues, adding to the feelgood factor following Eoghan McCawl’s 97th-minute winner that sank Institute at the Brandywell at the weekend.

Bangor’s intention is to burst the BetMcLean Cup Finalists’ bubble and continue a run of just one defeat in 16 league outings – a run which, in fact, started with the 2-2 draw between the sides at Clandeboye back in mid-November, with the Yellows counting on a sublime solo goal by Scott McArthur to clinch victory in the first visit to Shamrock Park back in August. This is the only Irish League show in town on Friday and promises to be an unmissable blockbuster.


Portadown has been the first thing on Lee Feeney’s mind all week ahead of Bangor’s Friday night visit to Shamrock Park for a Playr-Fit Championship blockbuster.

Third in the league entertains second as Niall Currie’s Ports, who clinched a last-gasp win at Institute on Saturday before coming from behind to beat the Seasiders’ North Down rivals Ards at Clandeboye Park in midweek, aim to leapfrog their yellow-shirted opponents into the play-off position with the post-split just a couple of matchdays away. But Bangor, who have lost just one of their last 16 league matches – albeit did exit the Irish Cup at the hands of their next adversaries in February thanks to Zach Barr’s double – are in high spirits indeed and the mood in the playing camp is high on the back of a professional 5-0 triumph over basement side Knockbreda last week.

And the visiting manager wants that momentum to continue flowing as they stare into this weekend’s assignment. Victory would see them rise to 63 points and provisional pole over Dundela while leaving their hosts five points in their dust – but that’s easier said than done.

“I know it’s a boring old cliché, but we really do take it one game at a time. To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about what happened at Institute. That hadn’t even crossed my mind, what the result was going to be; we’re just focused on ourselves.

“What was going to happen there was never going to be in our control. My focus has been on preparing the team on Friday night and setting us up to get a result in Portadown.

“They’ve got a lot of quality in their side, they’ve got talented players and they’ve obviously played in the League Cup Final, but our approach is to take every game one at a time and it’s about us going in with the right approach to pick up three points.

“After the full-time whistle (against Knockbreda), my focus was straight onto Portadown, and I told the boys after and they know what they need to do.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Thursday, 21st March 2024)

A message from Gareth Beattie after his testimonial for 10 years of tremendous service for Bangor FC:

Hello everyone, I would like to place on record my thanks to Michael Halliday, Dean Gordon, Social Club Chairman Alan Corbett and Rogie from the bar for putting this testimonial event on for me in celebration of 10 years of service for Bangor Football Club.

I also wish to express my gratitude to the Chairman Graham Bailie for granting me my testimonial, as well as my team-mates and the management team of Lee Feeney, Deano, John Douglas, Michael McClelland, Neil Gillespie, Lee Millar and Bradley Ferguson for being there to support me. Thanks also to Gary Faulkner ('Big G') for all the lifts to games up on the Bangor party bus every week, it's always great craic.

I must give out a massive thank you to my friends and family and each and every one of the loyal and dedicated Bangor fans who turned out to support me on my testimonial dinner and have backed me on the pitch through the hard times and the good. I wouldn't have reached this milestone without you and to be able to have won trophies and hopefully done you proud has been a huge honour.

Thanks as well to two great team-mates and friends, as well as Bangor heroes in Andy Long and Ethan Boylan, who gave speeches at the testimonial, and one person I owe it all to is the great Frankie Wilson, an inspirational man who gave me the chance to represent the club I love and whose influence on me has been so huge throughout my career and my 10 years as a Seasider.

Bangor is a truly amazing club run by an brilliant Board and Chairman, it's been a privilege to represent the club for the past 10 years, and hopefully, there's many more still to come.

Yellow and Blue Seasiders
GARETH BEATTIE

(Posted: Tuesday, 19th March 2024)

When all components in an operation run like clockwork, productivity is at its peak – and Lee Feeney felt that was exactly the case for his Bangor team on Friday night. Hailing his “machine” that churned out five goals and three more points that briefly propped the Seasiders top, the Clandeboye chief was brimming with pride at a professional display at home to Knockbreda that keeps his side ticking over.

Following successive 4-0 triumphs over Ballyclare Comrades and Ballinamallard United, the second half of the latter was the Yellows at their ruthless best, Feeney opined, and carried over perfectly into a third straight clean-sheet success against the Playr-Fit Championship’s basement dwellers. Truthfully, the damage was done by 18 minutes. Adam Neale’s early double on his first start since the Irish Cup Fifth Round defeat of Dergview in early January was added to by the league Player of the Month for February Scott McArthur and Tom Mathieson each slotting in from close range.

Although Ballynahinch ace Neale was denied a hat-trick after a penalty denial just before the hour mark, Ben Arthurs’ 23rd strike of the campaign 12 minutes from time – to add to a hat-trick of assists that takes him up to 13 in that metric – rubber-stamped a five-star account that floored the Castlereagh club. It left Kilkeel manager Feeney with a beaming smile after a display he adjudged to have been almost totally controlling. He reflected:

“We know Knockbreda are bottom of the league, but that didn’t influence our preparation at all going into it. We prepared for the game in the way we always prepare for every team in this league, we had them watched, we had our game plan sorted and at this stage of the season, you can’t afford to take liberties against anyone.

“I never doubt the boys, it’s one of the best dressing rooms I’ve ever been involved in and I know how many big characters we have, so I knew we wouldn’t get complacent or let our foot off or anything like that. I was really pleased last week. In the second half against Ballinamallard, you know, I thought we were a proper machine.

“We were controlling with possession, chances, we were closing down everywhere on the pitch and I felt we dominated. And on Friday night, I felt we were a machine as well. They (Knockbreda) had a period in the game where they were getting forward and created a few chances, they got shots on our goal and big James had to make a few saves.

“But I felt in the way that we controlled possession, created loads of chances… some of the football we were playing was absolutely unbelievable, and that’s where I feel we’re getting back to our best. I had felt we’d been winning games before, winning them comfortably on the scoreline but not really dominating in the way I’d have liked, but the last three halves of football, in terms of in possession, that’s where I want us to be at.

"It was a thoroughly professional performance.”

Lee Feeney

With four different goalscorers against ‘Breda just as against the Mallards the previous week, Feeney highlighted the importance of players from all across the pitch contributing in attack. It’s certainly reaping its rewards. Bangor, who are second-placed and just two points behind leaders Dundela, are 69-goal top scorers while also boasting the second-flight’s second-best defensive record (36 goals conceded), behind Institute. The Seagulls boss feels the whole squad is contributing and insists any overdependency on any one player would be detrimental to their chances.

“We were saying before the game, it’s important we have players chipping in from all over the pitch so we’re not being dependent on Big Ben and the likes of Adam (to score goals),” he continued. We had four different players score against Ballinamallard, from different positions on the pitch, and that was very pleasing.

“We had four on Friday night as well, and we’re also getting players from all over the pitch creating chances and being involved in building up into the final third, and that’s massively important.”

It was also a third successive clean sheet, and Feeney reserved plaudits for goalkeeper Taylor who, ahead of his 40th birthday, is aging like a fine wine.

“Three clean sheets in a row, and in every one of those clean sheets, you know, James has been called into it, he’s had to make a big save. And I know it feels weird to say as he’s been in the game a long time, but actually, I think he’s getting better with age.

“He’s made a big difference with his organisation, his vocal presence, and with bodies being missing from the defence due to injury, players have had to step up and be leaders in that part of the pitch. Reece filled in at left centre-back again, Tom’s been playing out at wing-back, so it’s about the collective – that’s always been the way of it from I first came in, that we’ve got to focus on the collective and make sure everybody’s contributing.

“It’s a squad game and everyone’s at the heart of it. We’re getting more back from injury, with Seanna (Foster), Beats (Gareth Beattie), Marty Bradley’s been carrying knocks so to have them all involved is good ahead of the run-in.”

Feeney also had to take a moment to process a phenomenal run of form that’s now been extended to just a single defeat in 16. With third-placed Portadown and Institute in fourth to come in the final two matches before the split, he saluted the way his panel have acquitted themselves and reared their head into the conversation at the top of the table. He looked back:

“One defeat in 16, and that defeat (a 3-2 loss at Wilgar Park on February 13) was my fault up at the Duns because of the way I set up that night. You think back to the end of October, we had that wobble with the 4-0 defeat to Institute and then getting beat 3-0 by Ballinamallard at home. I’d never any doubt we’d respond from that, but then there was when Newington beat us (on November 11), we dominated that game but we were wasteful and we didn’t take our chances and we ended up losing the game.

“Since then, it’s just clicked, and how good the players have been and the effort they’ve put in. That game (against Newington), we just couldn’t hit the target, and since then, we’ve just put that right and the rest has just spoken for itself. But we’ve also got two massive games coming up before the split, and I believe we can continue to improve and that can start for us in the run-in.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Monday, 18th March 2024)

When it rains, it pours, and Jack McCosh gave an honest reaction to a defeat where Bangor Reserves weren’t really able to weather the storm. The defender’s powerful back-post header on the stroke of half-time was the highlight of the Seasiders’ first half and put them deservedly ahead at the break, with Jay Boyd also enjoying a pair of presentable opportunities before the half-hour mark, but Queen’s University’s reply in the second period was to race out of the traps and turn the tie on its head, winning 3-1.

It was a third consecutive defeat for David Downes’ young Yellows, who enter a first-versus-second battle with Harland and Wolff Welders at Blanchflower Park next weekend, following a 2-0 home loss to Dundela and a 3-2 reversal at Portadown on Monday night, when Bangor twice led but ultimately fell at the hands of a last-gasp finish by the hosts at Shamrock Park.

Centre-back McCosh, who notched his second goal since arriving at the club, admitted it was a game of two halves and feels the side paid the price for their own mistakes on Saturday.

“Well, I think the first half, we started off a bit here and there, it was up in their air, and then we got a foot on it I think, and then we started playing, we started to create chances, Jay had two big chances. We were making chances, we were pushing for it and then I got a good header at the end at the end of the first half.

“The second half, we went out, and we said to ourselves, we have to go out and think about Monday because obviously the same thing happened, so it was just really disappointing, the second half. We took our foot of it, we let them get into the game and then they got one back and we just lost our heads, I think. We weren’t looking out for our men, we were all over the place at one point, so I think that’s what let us down, our own mistakes basically.

“I don’t think they caused us too much, it was just more our own mistakes led us into bad habits and stuff like that.”

18-year-old McCosh arrived from Crusaders in January and has added physical presence to the backline, and in assessing his time at Clandeboye Park so far, he says he’s enjoying his football and pleased to be getting minutes under his best.

A return to winning ways would brighten his mood even more, but he’s built up confidence and is relishing getting opportunities to shine.

“Well, at the start, I think I was a bit here and there because I needed to bring my confidence back up. I feel as I’ve built my confidence obviously back up to where I need it to be, I feel I’ve been settling in well.

“I’m enjoying it, I can’t complain, obviously I’m getting minutes and getting more fit every day. Just the results, we need to bounce back.”

Jack McCosh

(Posted: Sunday, 17th March 2024)

Bangor Reserves' title ambitions were dealt a further blow at a cold and wet Clandeboye Park on Saturday morning, handed a third straight Championship/PIL defeat by Queen's University U21 who stormed to a 3-1 comeback success.

A game of precious few chances ignited on 24 minutes when Bangor created an enticing opening in the final third. Mitchel Watterson swivelled and seared towards goal before stinging the palms of the Queen's keeper, with Jay Boyd side-footing the rebound over the bar from 10 yards with the goal gaping.

Boyd drew a super save minutes later as Bangor tightened their grip on a strong first period, but the Seasiders' pressure paid on the stroke of half-time when a bullet header at the back stick by centre-back Jack McCosh broke the deadlock.

But Queen's flew out of the traps in the second half and Marc Orbinson could do nothing to prevent the Students' equaliser 10 minutes after the restart. A sweeping delivery in was powered into the back of the net by the visitors and put the pressure back on the home side, who conceded a second after the hour after a free-kick delivery was stabbed home from close in.

It got worse for the Yellows on 68 minutes after a deflected ball into the box was turned in at the bottom right corner, compounding what was a miserable day in the pouring rain.

(Posted: Saturday, 16th March 2024)

An early four goal blitz helped send the Seasiders back to the top of the Playr-Fit Championship this evening.

Scott McArthur, Tom Mathieson and Adam Neale(2) were all on target for Bangor in the first half, while Ben Arthurs headed home the fifth in the 78th minute.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, L.Francis, D.Hume(G.Beattie), T.Mathieson(S.Foster), T.Mulvenna(M.Bradley), L.Harrison, C.McDermott(B.Walker), B.Arthurs, A.Neale(M.Halliday), S.McArthur.
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Watterson

JORDAN'S MATCH GALLERY

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 22nd March - PORTADOWN v BANGOR, Championship, Shamrock Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Friday, 15th March 2024)

Saturday, March 16 – Bangor Reserves vs Queen’s University U21, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am

A home showdown presents Bangor Reserves with the opportunity to make a much-craved return to winning ways when high-flying Queen’s University travel to Clandeboye Park in the Championship/PIL Development League this weekend.

The Seasiders, who are reeling from a 3-2 defeat on the road against Portadown Reserves on Monday night – a game they led twice before an added-time winner for the Ports proved the sucker punch at the end – have lost twice in a row having also been beaten 2-0 at home by Dundela the Saturday before.

They hadn’t tasted defeat in the league all season prior to the latter outing, but now is a time for showing their steel.

With the Students, who sit fifth, this Saturday and Harland and Wolff Welders in a top two showdown at Blanchflower Park next weekend, two wins out of two would relight Bangor’s title flame once more, with David Downes hoping for a fired-up reaction after an opening-season run of 19 matches without defeat that had fired his team all the way to the summit.

The Yellows won the previous encounter 1-0 at The Dub, with Charley Craig bagging the only goal of the game back on November 4, however Queen’s are an in-form animal and enter on the back of six triumphs in their last seven matches. With the pressure turned up, the hosts know they must be on top form to take the points.

(Posted: Friday, 15th March 2024)

Friday, March 15 – Bangor vs Knockbreda, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

The post-split is nearing in the Playr-Fit Championship, and it’s full steam ahead for Bangor in the third-from-last match until the division is separated into top half and bottom half as the Seasiders entertain basement team Knockbreda on Friday night.

Fresh off the back of sealing an emphatic 4-0 triumph at Ballinamallard United last Saturday, that trek west is followed by something a little closer to home this weekend with ‘Breda, still fighting for their second-tier survival despite only seven points to their name, aiming to lead yet another great escape and use this Friday’s floodlit encounter as their springboard.

Lee Feeney will be leaving nothing to chance knowing that the yellow-shirted outfit from the Castlereagh Hills have scooped up four of their seven points at Clandeboye, having overcame Ards in a shock 2-1 triumph on their last visit after an earlier 1-1 draw. This is also the same Knockbreda who, a little under two years ago, sucker-punched the Seasiders in the promotion/relegation play-off in one of those famous successful survival bids in recent times, thus Bangor, who are 50 points better off than the east Belfast men, know they must still be on top form and not let complacency seep in.

As if that’s not incentive enough, the hosts, who defeated Knockbreda 5-1 at Breda Park on a Sunday special in October and 4-1 on a cold Friday night in December in the last two meetings of the sides in 2023/24, can rocket into top spot in the Championship on at least a provisional basis and become the first side in the second-tier to hit 60 points with a victory. This clash promises much and you don’t want to miss it.

(Posted: Thursday, 14th March 2024)

Throughout the course of 10 years of playing time at a club, reflecting and picking out the standout moments can be a seriously tall order. But Gareth Beattie has shown time and time again that he is never one to shy away from a challenge, and ahead of the defender’s testimonial in the Bangor Social Club on St Patrick’s Day (Sunday, March 17), he looked back fondly at his time in the yellow and blue shirt and dissected some of the highs and lows that will live with him forever.

The right-back is as tough as teak and his no-nonsense style of play has come in for much admiration among the Seasiders faithful, a player who truly wears his heart on his sleeve going into each and every game and whose commitment to the cause is beyond question.

Playing in three different levels of the pyramid, going down and coming all the way back up, it’s been a rollercoaster ride and the 32-year-old has become a hero of a generation having stuck through any and all twists and turns.

Beattie was given his big break by the late Frankie Wilson, under whom he won the Steel and Sons Cup in 2011 when the Seagulls defeated Larne on Christmas Eve, and that silver lining so early in his career proved very much a means to go on.

As a young lad of 20 at the centre of attention inside a packed Seaview that festive term, sealing an honour he dreamt of clinching from an early age brought some ecstatic feelings for ‘Beats’ as Gareth McLaughlin and Garth Scates hit the target against the Inver Reds.

A man of the town, Beattie began by paying an emotional tribute to former boss Wilson, who sadly passed away in October 2022 after a battle with cancer, for trusting in a young talent with a big future to produce the goods.

"It was absolutely fantastic, there was no better feeling. The Steel and Sons is absolutely one of the biggest trophies you can win.

"I went and watched it (the Final) plenty of times and it was always something that I wanted to win, and to get it at such an early stage as I did was great. And obviously, under Frankie, him giving me the chance to do it was absolutely… I couldn’t thank him enough, I really couldn’t.

"I couldn’t praise Frankie Wilson highly enough, I really couldn’t.”

Beattie was no stranger to Clandeboye Park, of course. Before he took the field, he was an interested supporter from the stands.

Balancing his time between his two local football loves, Bangor and Linfield, the full-back always held faith that he would one day pull on the shirt and play in the Irish League. He reminisced about conversations with his brother about just what he could do if he was given the opportunity, knowing that if he got the chance to go out and play in front of the faithful himself, he would feel fulfilled.

After a decade of service for the Seasiders over spells from 2011 to 2013 and then again from 2015 to the present day – a month-long spell with Knockbreda in 2017 the solitary interruption – would stand to that feeling of fulfilment on paper, and Beattie agrees.

Bangor’s a club I’ve watched from I was a young kid, you know what I mean? When Bangor was at home, I watched Bangor at home; whenever Linfield was home, I watched Linfield at home. Whoever was at home, that was the team I went to watch, that was obviously as a kid, you couldn’t travel anywhere, so between Bangor and Linfield, they were my two teams.

“Whenever I was a kid, me and my brother and watched Bangor games at home, I always said to my brother, ‘see if I ever get the chance to play here, I would be over the moon’. And, as I say, to look back now over 10 years and say basically what I said all those years ago, to me, it would probably be my biggest achievement to say that I’ve actually reached 10 years at a club that I always wanted to play for.

“So, to play for (Bangor) and to do it, to me, if anyone’s asking me what my biggest achievement, that’s what it would be.”

When Beattie returned for his second spell with Bangor, the club was on a downward slope that would ultimately culminate in relegation to the Ballymena and Provincial Intermediate League in 2017.

It represented the lowest low in the Seasiders’ near century-long history. Slipping out of the organised Irish League set-up into the regional ranks after successive relegations was nothing short of humiliating and would have tested the resolve of even the most ardent supporters to continue following.

But having returned following his brief time at ‘Breda and despite transfer interest, there were never any other options on the table for Beattie, who knew he had a point to prove when committing to the cause for a time that will now be remembered as the start of the rebirth.

"I'm a fighter, you know what I mean?” he declared. “See if there’s a fight or a challenge, I would be there. I’m your man.

“So, to see Bangor going down all those leagues and to see people walk away from them at that time, seeing people play for different clubs, that was never my intention. I was never going to leave. I got some offers to go to some big-name teams and I could’ve progressed in a different way in my football career, but I chose to fight for Bangor, to get them back up the leagues.

“I swore to myself and other people that know me that I would never leave Bangor until I got them into the league where I started.

“To get here this year in my 10th year is brilliant, but to actually win this league this year or even get promoted into the Irish League, it would be even bigger.

“So, to me, I think my own personal achievement is to get this far and get them back to where they belong, I feel like I’ve done what I set out to do. So, I’ll be happy with that.”

During the Ballymena League years, Beattie pocketed three trophies – the O’Gorman Cup in 2018 plus the BPIL title and McReynolds Cup the following year.

Winning the fourth-tier title as invincibles back in 2019, with just a goalless draw at home to Ballymoney United blotting an otherwise perfect league crusade, was a big achievement and done in a division that featured respected opposition such as Donegal Celtic, St James’ Swifts and Brantwood.

In winning the O’Gorman against Glebe Rangers, where Ross Craig and Gerard McMullan were the scorers in a 2-2 draw before Darren Gibbons – who received his testimonial last year – turned the hero with two penalty saves in a 3-0 shoot-out victory, it did not come with that prized promotion, but that was put right through the first of two double successes in the space of just four years.

In the McReynolds, McMullan was on target again alongside three modern titans who are still team-mates of Beattie’s today in Ben Arthurs, Michael Halliday and Scott McArthur in a 4-1 victory over St James’ at Allen Park in Antrim, and glory in the BPIL came courtesy of an astonishing 27 victories in the 28 league outings.

“No, it was brilliant,” he says of those early trophies. “People say, ‘aw, the league you’re playing in, it was wick, all the teams you were playing against, you were supposed to win’, but nobody’s got any given right to win any match on a Saturday.

“You need to go out to win, everybody was out to stop us. We were a big team, everybody wanted to beat us every week, so that makes it 10 times harder.

“So, to go out… even the season we didn’t get beat, you know, we went unbeaten, there’s not many teams can do that there. It’s alright saying these teams weren’t great, but these teams were great. St James’… you’d some big teams in that league that could quite easily beat you on the day.

“But we were big enough and we were good enough not to let them.”

The 2023 feat that made Beattie one of the elusive ‘double-double’ winners on the seaside, in which Bangor reclaimed their senior status by winning the Premier Intermediate League and his second Steel Cup in the yellow and blue shirt, is his “best moment”, as he revealed.

“To win the league last year and get us back into the Championship, that would be my best moment,” he smiles.

“I set out, whenever we got relegated, I always set it out, I had it in my head, if I get Bangor back into the Championship, I feel like I’ve done my job.

“Because I’ve gone down with them and I’ve risen back up with them, so to get them back into the Championship where I first started with them.

“To me, I would say that would probably be mine (best moment), to get them back. In my eyes, I feel like I’ve got them back to where they belong.

“Not as me, as a team, but me being a part of it for all those years.”

The testimonial comes as a richly deserved piece of recognition for so much tremendous service over the years, and Beattie admits that the football family and special connection he’s felt over the years at Bangor has kept his appetite for more burning bright.

Supporting the club home and away, be it on the pitch or off it, is a special honour for him, and he was in attendance at the 4-0 win over Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park – a four-hour-round, 200-plus-mile trip – to will his team-mates on from the stands in Fermanagh.

It’s part and parcel of Beattie’s character, and to be viewed as a hero among the terraces gives him immense pride. Whatever role he plays, he has always put the badge on top; it’s for that why he is so respected and adored by so many.Reflecting on the past, enjoying the present and looking forward to the future, the name of Gareth Beattie is enshrined in the archives and his incredible contribution is a credit to him.

“It is a good family club, it’s my family club and it’s always been my club. Even before I played for Bangor, it was still my club, and to play for them, as I say, over 10 years, it’s my biggest achievement, so I’ve never looked back.

“And I’m just happy to see… I’ve been able to play for them for 10 years and it’s gradually been getting better and better.

“I’ve always had to chase people out of my spot, let them know it’s my spot! Obviously, this year’s been a wee bit more frustrating, obviously with the injury… a wee bit last year, too.

“But these things happen, you know what I mean? You could walk away, you could leave, you can just do what everybody else does, but I don’t.

“I turn up every week, home and away, and I still support the team. Even if I’m not playing, even as a supporter, so that’s how much the club means to me. Andy Morrow was my hero when I was younger, so whenever I started going to matches, he was my hero.

“But now, eras move on, so you’ve supporters looking back on 10 years or bits of it and whose names they think of with Bangor, and maybe, it’ll be mine. But maybe in another few years’ time, could be Big Ben (Arthurs), could be somebody else, could be their heroes, so these are just the way things go.

“But these are the names you always remember, like Andy Morrow’s the man for me, some people used to say who was the best player you know, Morrow’s your man. There’s lots of people, but it’s been great having people knowing me for helping the club get back up and what I’ve done here, I’m very proud of that.”

Gareth Beattie

Legend can be an overused word in football, but Bangor’s Gareth Beattie merits that word and then some.

(Posted: Tuesday, 12th March 2024)

Bangor Reserves’ bid for an immediate return to winning ways fell short on Monday night as a frustrating 3-2 defeat to Portadown Reserves at Shamrock Park marked their second loss in a row during a crunch stretch in March.

After a 2-0 reversal at home to Dundela, the young Seasiders were on the road and looked to be on the right track in Co Armagh, having twice led the contest – 1-0 and 2-1 – before their hosts, third-placed and nine games unbeaten before kick-off, clinched all three points with the odd goal in five. Combined with a Harland and Wolff Welders win on the same night, with the second-placed side in the Championship/PIL Development League picking up the maximum haul following a 5-2 triumph away to Warrenpoint Town, the gap at the summit has been cut to four points – the Welders maintain having two games in hand, with Bangor due to travel to Blanchflower Park in a fortnight’s time hopeful of success.

First, however, comes a home clash with Queen’s University, in fifth, this Saturday as Bangor aim to hit the winning groove and build a head of steam beforehand, although second string boss David Downes knows there is pressure on his team to see through their title charge and make the most of what remains. The Yellows remain atop the tree having secured 53 points from their 21 outings played to date.

(Posted: Tuesday, 12th March 2024)

The collective effort was at the forefront of left wing-back Reece Neale’s post-match analysis after Bangor kept their grip on second-place and boosted their promotion credentials with a 4-0 win over Ballinamallard United on Saturday.

A 200-mile-round trip was worth its weight in gold when referee Stewart Long’s final whistle sounded at Ferney Park, with a couple of goals in each half ensuring Lee Feeney’s Seasiders left with all three points in Co Fermanagh and making sure that a formidable run of form was extended to 11 victories in the last 14 Playr-Fit Championship outings.

Scott McArthur, who has just been crowned NIFWA Championship Player of the Month, took just four minutes to break the deadlock when he guided Ben Arthurs’ headed flick-on into the net before centre-back Lewis Francis swivelled to rifle home a fabulous ninth goal of the campaign with virtually the last kick of the first half.

Kircubbin favourite Arthurs headed in a clinching third 13 minutes from the end and repaid a fabulous bit of closing down from super sub Adam Neale in the process – that’s 22 this term for the 25-year-old top marksman – and there was still the time for one last cherry on top when captain Lewis Harrison bulleted home midfield partner Tiarnan Mulvenna’s sublime corner kick delivery in second-half stoppage-time.

Vice-skipper Neale, who is closing in on three years in a Bangor shirt, subsequently hailed the spirit in the dressing room after what was firmly a team-orientated triumph out west.

“I’ve been in good changing rooms before, but this one’s just completely different,” the Ballynahinch man beamed.

“Any time we have even a team night out and stuff, we have the whole squad, we’ve 30 boys going, that says everything you need to know. Like, everything we do, everything’s as a team, there’s no wee groups, there’s nothing; everyone’s just one big family. Everyone looks out for each other, takes the p*** out of each other, nobody’s sitting in a corner or staying shy. Everyone’s involved in everything that we do, so it’s absolutely brilliant.”

Former Linfield Academy ace Neale added that a second-half showing, punctuated perhaps best by the work his older brother did to win the ball high up the pitch before swinging the ball into Arthurs to guide home, was a ‘dominant’ follow-up to a first period that did show one or two cracks in the defence.

The Mallards reacted well after going behind and enjoyed chances through Josh McIlwaine, Simon Warrington and James McGrath that they’d otherwise feel they should’ve buried. But the visitors’ mean streak shone through and, after the interval, the points were great value. Assessing his own display, Reece said: “Personally for me, I thought I did alright, tried to keep the team together the whole way through the game as I do, there was a lot of communication.

“I thought as a team, we kept our shape very well, both halves, even in the first half, couple of light chances for them, we gave them most of them.

“And then second half, we came out a different animal and we just played the way we can play and dominated the game, I think.” There were also four different assisters to add to the quartet of scorers, to which Neale summarises: “That’s been the theme of our season, I think. Obviously, Big Ben’s come up with a lot of big goals, big Lewis as well.

“See there, Adam came on the pitch and he’s completely changed the game for us, he chased everything down and his first touch, everything was brilliant, he helped the team massively and done very, very well. But it’s been the story of our season, everyone’s been chipping in. Obviously Big Ben’s way out in front in terms of goals, wee Scotty’s there scoring goals, both Lewises scoring goals and all now. I just think, as a collective, (that’s been) very, very good that everyone’s contributing.”

Reece Neale

Bangor are in action again next Friday night when basement team Knockbreda come to Clandeboye Park, but Neale – who achieved promotion to the Premiership with Carrick Rangers in 2019 – won’t take the Castlereagh club lightly despite them having picked up merely seven points this term. Breda were beaten by the Seasiders’ fellow promotion chasers Institute 3-0 on Saturday, but examples of their mettle, including a 2-1 away success over Ards and a 1-0 defeat to league leaders Dundela where they kept it scoreless until Willie Faulkner’s winner 10 minutes from time, are enough for Reece to know they can dish out a sucker punch if the Seagulls aren’t careful.

“We’re just sort of on our own boat, it’s an old cliché isn’t it? We just look after ourselves,” he stressed. "But I think we’ve been doing that ourselves all season here. We’ve came in, went under the radar quite a bit and now I think people are starting to realise what we are.

“We’re here to challenge, and we’ve always believed that, we’ve always had belief in ourselves. Yeah, there’s no reason why we can’t push on now, but we’ll not get too far ahead; one game at a time.

“We’ve a massive game next week, Knockbreda, I know they’re down at the bottom but it’s a huge game, they’re capable of causing really tight games, causing upsets. They beat Ards as well and held the Duns down to 1-0, the Duns scored a late goal, so you just don’t know.

“And especially in this league, you know what it’s like, so yeah, we’ll keep our feet on the ground and we’ll keep working towards our goal.”

(Posted: Sunday, 10th March 2024)

BALLINAMALLARD UNITED 0-4 BANGOR

Bangor were to the four in Fermanagh on Saturday after taking down Ballinamallard United 4-0 at Ferney Park and moving to within two points of Playr-Fit Championship leaders Dundela with a display that, if not always a formality, was still one to leave Lee Feeney very satisfied.

The visitors took the lead just four minutes in as Ben Arthurs' astute headed knock-down found Scott McArthur, and the recently crowned NIFWA Championship Player of the Month bagged the opener and his 11th goal of the season when he fired low into the bottom right corner past Mallards stopper Jamie Ray.

Anxiety among a buoyant away support was momentarily sparked when David Hume's intervention with home counterpart Josh McIlwaine had to be quickly saved from becoming an own goal by James Taylor, before the Bangor goalkeeper's stray ball out from the back on 21 minutes was fortunate not to be pounced on by Simon Warrington, who could only find the side netting from 10 yards out.

Bangor settled after, but that preceded a spell where James McGrath blazed wide with the goal at his mercy eight minutes from half-time and McIlwaine diverted a header off-target leading into the interval. Though, with the last kick, Bangor doubled their initiative and added security; centre-back Lewis Francis turned and fired home from namesake Lewis Harrison's header into the danger area.

The Seasiders began the second half with intent as a Reece Neale free-kick was caught by Ray before Conor McDermott's delectable right-wing cross was just unable to be trapped under Arthurs' spell. Another effort from the 25-year-old, buoyed after extending his contract to 2026, was clutched by Ray afterwards, but he made a deserved mark 13 minutes from time after Adam Neale superbly won possession high on the left and crossed for the Kircubbin ace to guide in.

And there was a last flourish three minutes into added-time in a half where Bangor enjoyed a much greater sense of authority when captain Lewis Harrison bulleted home Tiarnan Mulvenna's corner that rubber-stamped the victory. The result puts Bangor on 57 points and, in the wake of Dundela's East Belfast Derby defeat to H&W Welders, the Seasiders now have the chance to go top against Knockbreda next Friday night.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, D.Hume, L.Francis, T.Mathieson(B.Walker), C.McDermott, L.Harrison, T.Mulvenna, B.Cushnie(A.Neale), B.Arthurs, S.McArthur(M.Watterson)
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Bradley, S.Foster, M.Halliday

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 15th March - BANGOR v KNOCKBREDA, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 9th March 2024)

Saturday, March 9 – Portadown Reserves vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, Shamrock Park, 11am

A bruised Bangor Reserves will lick their wounds and bid to bounce back fighting at Shamrock Park this weekend when they face an in-form, third-placed Portadown.

David Downes’ men were hit by a sucker punch last time out when they were beaten 2-0 at home by Dundela Reserves – their first league defeat of the 2023/24 campaign – but against the Ports, who emphatically conquered second-placed Harland and Wolff Welders U21 when on the road last weekend, they can mount a swift return to winning ways and keep their title charge motoring throughout a tricky March.

With fifth-placed Queen’s University to follow at Clandeboye Park next Saturday, followed by a trip to the Welders – who are seven points down on the Seasiders with two games in hand – on March 23, this clash with Portadown, who are 14 points behind their weekend rivals with three games in hand and sealed a 1-1 draw when the sides met in the reverse outing in September, carries importance for the league leaders given momentum in this tough stretch is sure to be telling in a tense title race.

The players will hope that loss to the Duns, who netted early in the first half and late in the second to seal the deal, clicks them into gear for the tests to come. The margin for error is minimal at a crunch stage in the campaign and the points that can be dropped must be few and far between if any side wants to lead the race, so Bangor are aiming to prove their credentials with three precious points here that would lift them to 56 from 63 in the table.

(Posted: Friday, 8th March 2024)

After 15 days, Bangor’s first-team are back in action in the Playr-Fit Championship and begin their March agenda with a long-haul trip to Ballinamallard United on Saturday afternoon.

The Seasiders, who are second-place in the league and retained that position while Institute and Portadown were in Irish Cup quarter-final action, will mathematically confirm a top-six place for the split with a victory at Ferney Park that could also close the gap to the leaders Dundela, who extended their advantage at the summit to five points thanks to a thumping 4-0 triumph over Ards at Wilgar Park last weekend.

In the first meeting with the Fermanagh side and 2019 Irish Cup Finalists since the tail end of October, there is curiosity in that from each of the first two encounters this season, the away side were 3-0 winners. When the Seasiders first travelled west, they spread their wings after Ben Cushnie’s late brace added to Ben Arthurs’ early opener last September, however the Mallards returned the favour at Clandeboye Park on October 28 when Simon Warrington, Darragh Byrne and Jamie McGrath prevailed in wet conditions that really was the perfect weather for ducks.

It'll also be a third different manager on the touchline; Harry McConkey led them in that first battle, Mark Stafford was in interim charge the second time around, while now, ex-Dergview boss Tommy Canning will be in the dugout adjacent to Lee Feeney for what is the fourth-from-last outing before the split for the Yellows. Ballinamallard, who are four points out from a top-half spot with three games left for them to play, promise to be fired up for a duel that could have further twists and turns.

(Posted: Thursday, 7th March 2024)

Bangor began their pre-season ahead of the 2024 campaign on a losing note with a 7-0 defeat to Linfield Women at Midgley Park on Wednesday evening.

The first 15 minutes saw Linfield largely dominate the ball and the chances, with Giulia McLaughlin forced into a number of clever stops early on to keep the Women's Premiership side at bay, but the pressure paid off when the hosts broke the deadlock with a rifled effort towards the top left corner from a distance.

Bangor came out fighting afterwards, with Janine Jess denied in a one-on-one when she won possession and caught the Linfield defence unawares, but the Blues doubled the advantage on 34 minutes with a powerful low effort into the bottom right past McLaughlin's dive.

Four minutes later, it was three through a towering header by former Lisburn Rangers markswoman Eve Reilly and the Seasiders entered the interval 3-0 down. Four minutes after the restart, a penalty presented the hosts to add another and they made no mistake from 12 yards as they added a fourth.

The visitors, in changed white, continued to see out pressure and make occasional forays forward for much of what remained, but Linfield added a fifth on 74 minutes with a long-distance looping finish. Six minutes later, a sweet curler from 10 yards made it six, and a last-minute seventh put the cherry on top of the cake as far as the scoreline was concerned.

(Posted: Thursday, 7th March 2024)

Bangor FC has announced the expansion of their chaplaincy team.

Gary Faulkner remains as the first team chaplain, a role he has held since 2017. Leah Emberson continues as Bangor FC Ladies chaplain and James Crothers comes on board as academy chaplain.

Gary Faulkner said: “The Bangor FC chaplaincy team is trained and fully supported by Sports Chaplaincy UK. Our central objective is to provide pastoral support, help, care and encouragement to everyone involved with Bangor FC. This includes players, management, volunteers and supporters.

“We are here to serve everyone at the club, regardless of faith or beliefs. Tough times and struggles are part and parcel of football and life in general, and the chaplaincy team is always available to provide support and to ensure people don’t forget that you are loved and cared for.”

Gary continued: “I have an amazing team to work with at the club. Leah has already four years experience working with the ladies team. She provides support and shows love, kindness and empathy in all she does. James Is new to the team and will be there for those that may need a little guidance. In his day job he works with young adults with mental health, drugs and alcohol issues.”

Bangor FC Chaplains can be contacted by emailing gfaulkner@sportschaplaincy.org.uk

Bangor FC Chairman Graham Bailie said: “We benefit enormously from having Gary and his team at Bangor, especially as they have an impressive amount of pastoral knowledge and experience.

“As the club continues to grow, and reach out further into the community, it is important to us that we have the expertise and support in place to offer a chaplaincy service to all.

“Everyone involved with the Seasiders can contact any of our chaplains, confidentially, when in need of a listening ear, pastoral care or spiritual support.”

(Posted: Tuesday, 5th March 2024)

Ruairi Wright gave an honest reaction to Bangor Reserves’ first league defeat of the season against their Dundela counterparts on Saturday, admitting that the visitors were good value for the three precious points they achieved in the Championship/PIL Development League.

The Seasiders struggled to break down a stern Duns defence at Clandeboye Park and were hit by two goals at the start and end of the contest, with a fine free-kick firing the away side, who are fourth in the division, into the lead mere minutes in before sealing the contest with a placed shot into the corner seven minutes from time.

They do, however, retain their seven-point lead at the summit after second-placed Harland and Wolff Welders, who have two matches in hand, were also beaten at home on Saturday – 4-0 by Portadown, who sit third and are 14 points from David Downes’ league leaders having played three games fewer.

The Ports are Bangor’s next opponents at Shamrock Park and are unbeaten in nine, with the Welders also to come on March 23 following the visit of high-flying Queen’s University in fifth in what is potentially a title-deciding stretch of games this month.

Wright hopes the Yellows have got the worst out of their system and will hit their peak performance again sooner rather than later.

“We knew coming into today, it’s not going to be easy. Obviously, to go 1-0 down, and then… our backs are always against it.

“We started slow, they grew into the game, they wanted it more, and, listen, in football, you’re going to go on an easy ride. Even the best teams lose, so now, it’s just, how do we get back into winning ways, how do we work for each other again, how do we bounce back.

“We’ve got a tough month coming up with another three good teams, so it’s a bit of a wake-up call, maybe we needed it coming into this tough month. And, you know, it’s just how do we bounce back.”

Ruairi Wright

The 20-year-old forward, who was sprung from the bench against the Duns and scored in the previous weekend’s 7-0 win over Newington, was in no doubt where the duel was decided.

“Hard work. It just came down to hard work.

“They (Dundela) worked for each other, it took us 40 minutes, maybe on the half, to start actually going for the second ball. Even towards the end, second ball, it was won and lost with who wanted the second ball more.

"First ball and the second, they were first to it, so credit to them and, you know, we just need to move on from it now.”

Ruairi Wright

The losing feeling is not one that the Reserves have been accustomed to lately – not in the league since a 5-2 reversal at Warrenpoint Town in May towards the tail end of last term – but it is a sensation they must conjure up a response to.

Wright insists it is by no means panic stations and says the squad won’t change their mentality of taking every match as it comes for this crunch set of fixtures.

“We’re going to do what we’ve done all season, take each game as it comes. You can’t just look past your next game, you know, maybe, we have Portadown, Queen’s and then the Welders.

“You’ve got Portadown first, get through that and then we take it another game and another game and just, see what happens to the end of the season.”

Ruairi Wright

Seanna Foster, meanwhile, completed the full duration of a match for the first time since the 4-0 Playr-Fit Championship triumph over Annagh United on November 25 and is pleased his continued road to recovery is well on the right track.

The Cliftonville loanee, who underwent knee surgery in December, has made three features as a substitute for the first-team in 2024 but started his first game since that success away at the BMG Arena. While disappointed with the outcome of the match, the 27-year-old is on the mend and building sharpness.

“It’s a full 90, that was my first full 90 in 15 weeks,” right wing-back Foster said.

“Disappointing (the result), I know there’s still a bit to go for me personally, but it’s good to be out there and good to get minutes under my belt again and build back up to speed.”

Seanna Foster

(Posted: Sunday, 3rd March 2024)

Bangor Reserves suffered their first defeat of the Championship/PIL Development League season in their 20th match when Dundela left Clandeboye Park with all three points and inflicted a 2-0 defeat upon their hosts.

The Duns drew first blood mere minutes into the game through a fine free-kick finish, with Bangor replying with a flurry of set-pieces and forward forays but not creating much of note going into half-time.

The Seasiders, who featured first-teamers Seanna Foster, David Hume and Gareth Beattie continued to put pressure on a robust opposition defence who sat compactly and soaked it in, with the hosts pushing and probing for a key equaliser.

Instead, the Duns made the game safe with a low shot into the bottom left corner which goalkeeper Mason Hume got a strong palm to but was unable to stop.

(Posted: Saturday, 2nd March 2024)

Ben Arthurs has signed a contract extension with Bangor FC until June 2026.

Arthurs has scored 21 goals in all competitions during the 2023/24 season.

Bangor FC Chairman Graham Bailie said: “Ben is a fantastic Bangor player who gives his all for the club. He is an outstanding example for all his teammates in training and with his work rate on the pitch.

“I’m really pleased to see that Ben has committed his future to Bangor until June 2026. It is a further statement from the club that we are trying to deliver success on the field and returning Bangor to the highest echelons of football in Northern Ireland.

“We have had a number of home matches this season with over 1,000 fans attending. We have a strong talented squad that is progressing in the championship and pushing to achieve on the field. We are a thriving community-based club. Ben wants to be a key part in all of this success at Bangor FC.”

Ben Arthurs joined Bangor in summer 2018 and has scored 127 goals for the Seasiders.

Ben Arthurs said: “Everyone knows how much I love this club. I am really proud of playing my part in the Bangor FC journey and helping the club get promoted to and progress in the NIFL Championship.

“Lee is building a team and a squad to compete in the Championship and beyond. I want to be a part of that and help the club push on. I believe we can achieve something special in the next few years and that is why I am extending my contact with the Seasiders.”

Ben concluded: "Bangor FC is a special club – the fans are amazing. It is a cliché, but they are our 12th man. Bangor fans are always with the team from the first minute until the match finishes There isn't a fanbase as passionate and supportive as ours in the league.”

(Posted: Friday, 1st March 2024)

Saturday, March 2 – Bangor Reserves vs Dundela Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am

The senior side may have a rare free weekend, but there’s no stopping Bangor Reserves when they host their Dundela counterparts in a crunch battle in the Championship/PIL Development League.

The young Seasiders, who have picked up maximum points in each of the seven games since the pulsating 3-3 draw against the Duns back in December – the visitors were denied victory just by a last-gasp equaliser at the Billy Neill Centre – will begin a pivotal month of March with hopes of atoning for the heartaching nature of that stalemate and continuing their path to the title.

David Downes’ panel are seven points clear of Harland and Wolff Welders, who they face in three weeks’ time, but the second-placed outfit have played two games fewer, making every win of the utmost importance in a month where Portadown (third) and Queen’s University (fifth) also count among their opponents.

Three points against the Wilgar Park-based east Belfast men this Saturday would therefore be of the utmost importance and build on last weekend’s 7-0 defeat of Newington in style.


It’s March madness for Bangor Reserves in 2024 and Charley Craig is relishing some massive match-ups to come in the Championship/PIL Development League title race.

After 19 outings, David Downes’ side are invincible, with just four points dropped and zero defeats in league play this season, but the next four clashes mark their toughest stretch of the campaign as they bid to rubber-stamp a crowning glory this year.

With Portadown (third), Queen’s University (fifth) and Harland and Wolff Welders (second) chronologically following this weekend’s clash with fourth-placed Dundela, who the Yellows drew 3-3 with at the Billy Neill Centre in December, this run is likely to determine whether the team, who are seven points clear of the Welders with two more matches played, will rake in the title come the end of the campaign.

But versatile forward Craig is confident they can start the month on the front foot with a win over the Duns on Saturday morning

“Yeah, 100 per cent,” Craig said after scoring the seventh goal in the 7-0 triumph over Newington last time.

“We’ve four big massive games, the three teams below us here.

“Queen’s, Portadown, Duns and Welders, so hopefully, we pick up a win against the Duns and that’ll set us on the road for the title hopefully.”

Charley Craig

(Posted: Thursday, 29th February 2024)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney lavished praise upon Ben Cushnie after the forward bagged his first goal in five months during the comprehensive victory over Ballyclare Comrades on Friday night. The Glentoran loanee hadn’t hit the target since he broke the deadlock in a 2-1 win over Newington on September 23, 2023 but, having returned to fitness after an injury-disrupted few months, set the record straight with the second strike of four at Clandeboye Park.

The 22-year-old Hillsborough man, who accompanied Scott McArthur (2) and Ben Arthurs among the scoring stakes in the 4-0 success, netted only four minutes into the second half having been fired up by Feeney to produce the goods.

Branding Cushnie “one of the best players” in the Playr-Fit Championship, the Seasiders boss believes his return to match sharpness after ankle trouble is timely for a big run-in as the side kept its grip on second-place in the standings.

“I absolutely love Cush,” Feeney hailed. “And he knows I love him.

“I said to him on the way out for the second half, ‘You’re going to score today’, and I asked him to say it back to me that he was going to score today, and that’s exactly what he did. He’s been unlucky this season because of injuries, it’s been a bit stop-start for him, but he’s a quality player and it’s massive for us to have him back for the run-in, he’s going to be a big player for us if we want to keep getting points on the board.

“For me, he’s one of the best players in this league, one of the most talented players in this league and he showed that on Friday night. He’s been getting back to full fitness and I put him in from the start, and I couldn’t ask any more from him in terms of the impact he makes in the final third.

“We had the front three all scoring, and there was Adam Neale off the bench and what he gave, fresh legs into the game and a fresh energy that kept us going, and that’s the strength in depth and the quality that we have in that top area.

“That was great to see, and getting a player like Cush back fit is massive to keep us going.”

Lee Feeney

Any emphatic win over a fellow promotion-chaser is bound to stand out, no less than that it came on a night when league leaders Dundela – who, it was revealed, will be unable to take their place in the Sports Direct Premiership despite their position in the table – were also beaten 4-0 away to Annagh United.

But Feeney admits parts of the performance against Stephen Small’s Comrades have left him wanting more in the final two months of the season – not, however, without praising a tally of just one defeat in the last 14 league outings following Friday’s endeavours.

“We largely controlled the game but I didn’t feel we were at our best,” admitted the Bangor supremo. We didn’t really have the control of possession that I would’ve liked to see, and I said to the boys afterwards that I feel we can be a bit better.

“I think we’ve maybe had a wee bit of luck go our way recently, we’ve been getting results but I think the performances haven’t been as good as I’d have wanted, and there is a point when your luck runs out and that’s not something we want to be on the wrong end of.

“But if every team has a bad patch, and we’re having our bad patch and we’re winning 4-0 in ours against a team like Ballyclare who’s a really good side, how good can we be when we’re back in a good patch again?

“I do think there’ll come a day when we tank a team, I think we’re getting to that point, but I wouldn’t call that a tanking because a lot of parts of our performance weren’t 100 per cent. We gave the ball away cheaply under little pressure at times and they had opportunities in the game, we kept the clean sheet but we didn’t dominate the game in the way I’d have liked, and I feel there’s more that we can do.

“But if you’d said to me when we were in the Premier Intermediate that we’d have a run of one defeat in 14 in our first season in the Championship, I’d have laughed at you. A run like that is done through hard work, we’re in for a big run-in now and we’ve a really tough game against Ballinamallard in a couple of weeks, who lost at the weekend there (2-1 against Portadown) but have been in good form recently, so we’re expecting a tricky game away from home.

“We’ve been in great form probably since the last time we were up there, the 3-0 (win on September 9), it’s been a fantastic run and the players have emptied the tank for me. We’re at the top end of the table and we want to keep winning matches for as long as we can.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Sunday, 25th February 2024)

Charley Craig admits it took Bangor Reserves a while to find their rhythm despite recording an impressive 7-0 victory at Newington U21 on Saturday morning.

The Seasiders got off to a flyer just four minutes in after centre-back Jack McCosh rocketed a piledriver into the net, but it wasn’t until Kristian Trainor bagged a nerve-settling second just after the half-hour mark that the league leaders began to take command as the hosts enjoyed their fair share of presentable opportunities.

It was a three-goal advantage at the interval after the experienced David Hume rammed in a bullet header from Mitchel Watterson’s enticing delivery from the right, and Craig admits it was easier to control the game once the Yellows hit their ideal stride.

“Yeah, it took us a good while to play football. About half an hour in, we were 2-0 up and just weren’t playing football at all. It just wasn’t good enough all-round but once we sort of got a few goals and it was a lot better all over. We done well once we got the ball flowing.”

He adds on McCosh’s opener, a 25-yard spectacular that soared into the top right corner:

“It was definitely a brilliant goal; you know, to start the game off that a couple of minutes in just, it just sort of relaxes the nerves even when you know you’re coming in to hopefully win.

“It’s good to get a wee early goal, and hopefully we get the same in a big match next week against the Duns.” Playing from right wing-back against the Championship/PIL Development League’s basement side, 18-year-old Craig, who slotted in Bangor’s seventh on 83 minutes, also hailed the depth at manager David Downes’ disposal that certainly helped them on their way to success here.

It was half-time substitute Jay Boyd who slipped his team-mate in to apply the cherry on top of this ruthless triumph, while Sonny Redford netted a brace having been introduced to the fray alongside Boyd to lead the line. Ruairi Wright netted in the second half as well and three points were rubber-stamped ahead of a pivotal month of March that sees the side face every team from second to fifth-place. Craig feels it could be the squad effort that makes all the difference.

“Aye, it’s good to know you have loads of options. You know, we had two strikers (Callum Johnston and Jude Healy) in the first half and then two different strikers in the second half.

“So, it’s always good to have depth all over the pitch, you know, competition for places, it’s good. It makes you sort of step up your game, you know, having people behind you, knowing you have to play well to keep winning games.”

(Posted: Sunday, 25th February 2024)

Bangor Reserves were in seventh heaven at V36 Valley Leisure Centre when they put seven unanswered goals past Newington U21 and kept their title charge ticking over for another weekend.

Playing into the sun in the first half, Bangor required just four minutes to break the deadlock and did so through marauding centre-back Jack McCosh, who fired an unstoppable piledriver from 25 yards into the top right corner. The Seasiders doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark. A long ball down the left channel set Kristian Trainor away, and he placed his attempt across the Swans goalkeeper and into the opposite corner of the net.

Four minutes out from half-time, that advantage became three when David Hume's back-post header turned in a sublime Mitchel Watterson cross from wide-right, cementing the league leaders' authority on the affair in Newtownabbey.

Ruairi Wright added a fourth, sliding in five minutes after the restart after a delicate low supply from McCosh set him in, and it was five only a few minutes later when Sonny Redford turned in after the Newington stopper spilled Jay Boyd's curling effort. Substitute Redford added a second and Bangor's sixth just after the hour.

Charley Craig broke through and became the sixth scorer in a yellow shirt on 83 minutes after he was played through by Boyd, slotting low and in to apply the finishing touch to a ruthless display.

(Posted: Saturday, 24th February 2024)

Bangor maintained their grip on second-place in the Playr-Fit Championship with a fine 4-0 victory over Ballyclare Comrades on Friday night.

In a match-up that had seen 16 goals in the three previous meetings this term, goals were a guarantee going into this encounter – and that promise was fulfilled 37 minutes into a hotbed affair when the alert Scott McArthur side-footed into the Clandeboye Road end net from Ben Cushnie’s headed flick-on.

Cushnie himself added the Seasiders’ second four minutes after half-time. The forward, who has found his season disrupted by injury but shown some flashes of brilliance when it’s been called for, rammed in his first goal since finding the net against Newington on September 23 to double the lead.

It was 20 minutes later when McArthur boosted his personal tally with the third of the game – the Bangor native’s 10th finish of an impressive campaign – before goalscorer-in-chief Ben Arthurs wrapped up the points in stoppage-time when he turned in Tiarnan Mulvenna’s inswinging corner.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, H.Beverland(R.Nixon)(B.Walker), R.Neale, L.Francis, L.Harrison(S.Foster), T.Mulvenna, T.Mathieson, B.Arthurs, B.Cushnie(A.Neale), S.McArthur(M.Watterson), C.McDermott.
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Halliday

(Posted: Friday, 23rd February 2024)

Saturday, February 24 – Newington U21 vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, V36 Valley Leisure Centre, 11am

Bangor Reserves are in action in the Championship/PIL Development League on Saturday morning when they travel to V36 Valley Leisure Centre to face Newington U21.

The young Seasiders’ formidable start to the season has them on track for a title lift, but that thought will be firmly at the back of the players’ and coaches’ minds when they check in at the Newtownabbey venue this weekend.

After the previous Friday’s impressive 4-0 triumph over Ballymacash Rangers U21 at The Bluebell, which shot them to 50 points at the league summit and marked a sixth straight victory ahead of tackling the division’s bottom side, David Downes and his charges will be fired up to deliver once again but wary of the threats the north Belfast side – who they bounced back from behind to beat 4-1 at Clandeboye Park in mid-October – can pose.

With only eight matches to go in their season following this weekend’s encounter, the games are coming thick and fast and every point will be of value between now and the end. Expect to see a competitive account produced here.

(Posted: Thursday, 22nd February 2024)

Bangor are in action for the last time in February, with Ballyclare Comrades the visitors to Clandeboye Park in the Playr-Fit Championship.

The Seasiders got back to winning ways after finishes by Conor McDermott and Adam Neale either side of Tiarnan O’Connor’s leveller secured an important three points at the expense of 10-man Harland and Wolff Welders, with Lee Feeney’s men seeing their 11-game league unbeaten streak dating back to mid-November snapped with the 3-2 defeat at Dundela four days earlier.

Now, a new hot spell is on the radar with Ballyclare next up, who edged a five-goal thriller on the opening day of the season before Bangor hit back in turn in the County Antrim Shield – a 4-2 comeback triumph inspired by four Ben Arthurs finishes at Clandeboye Park in September – and then in the league thanks to Lewis Francis’ last-minute winner in a 3-2 success at Dixon Park in early December. The games have swung one way and the other this term and goals are expected to flow once more here.

With Friday’s hosts in second-place, they can tighten their grip on that spot and move to within two points of leaders Dundela with a victory, although with Ballyclare only seven points worse off and also in the promotion conversation in fifth, it is certainly finely poised.


Adam Neale believes the Bangor fans can make their presence felt again when the Seasiders entertain fellow promotion hopefuls Ballyclare Comrades on Friday night. 30-year-old striker Neale made an instant impact after being introduced as a substitute last weekend against Harland and Wolff Welders, latching onto Ben Arthurs’ headed flick-on and lobbing over goalkeeper Jack Mills for what proved to be the matchwinner on 68 minutes.

That 2-1 victory inspired a return to winning ways following the midweek defeat to Dundela four days prior, and the Ballynahinch man is in no mood to let up with a competitive race for promotion at the top end of the Playr-Fit Championship.

In that respect, he feels the supporters could hold the key to success against the Comrades.

“Yeah, at this stage of the season, it’s just about picking up every point that you can,” stated Neale, who buried his ninth goal of the season at Blanchflower Park.

“We’re getting closer to the split and every team’s wanting to get as many points as they can, so it’s up to us to keep the momentum going. We’re going in and we want to finish as high up the table as we can, it’s a tough run-in but we want to be in and around the promotion places, whether that’s first, second or third or whatever it may be.

“The games are coming thick and fast and every team around us is going to be competitive, but we were able to get back to winning ways at the weekend and we’ve been in good form and working hard for each other, so I’m looking forward to it. I think we’ve shown this season, we don’t fear any team in the league and there’s no team we feel we can’t beat, and we’ve beaten Ballyclare twice already.

“Our fans have been unbelievable this season, especially at home when they really do give us a wee bit of a lift, so we’re looking forward to playing in front of another big crowd.

“It’ll be a tough game but there’s a great spirit in the dressing room and we’ve had the fans come out in big numbers, and we’re confident we can go and get a result on Friday night.”

Adam Neale

(Posted: Thursday, 22nd February 2024)

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW >>

(Posted: Monday, 19th February 2024)

Chris Dougan has been appointed the new manager at Bangor Ladies FC.

Dougan previously worked as assistant manager at Bangor Ladies in 2023, when he helped guide the team to third place in NIWFA championship and to the final of the PwC Super Cup. Chris has also managed Bangor U17s boys academy team.

“I’m honoured to get the job at Bangor and I’m excited about the challenge ahead, especially as I know what a talented group of players we have.

“My aim is to further develop current and young players and build on what has already been established at Bangor. I want to help the team fulfil their potential by increasing professionalism in the squad and demanding the team is hard working and gives 100%.

“I’m also keen to adopt an exciting style of play that is not only entertaining to watch, but, most importantly, will get us results.”

Chris Dougan

Chris will be joined by current assistant coach Josh Eynon and new assistant coach Josh Wynne.

Bangor FC Head of Women’s Football Michelle Crawford said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have secured Chris as the new manager. As a previous member of the Bangor Ladies backroom staff, Chris understands the vision of the club and what is required to move the team forward.

“He already has a strong working relationship with players and non-playing staff at and has a clear understanding of what he wants on and off the pitch with his team.

“The desire and determination from Chris to take this team forward is evident and I believe he will be an exciting appointment for Bangor Ladies.”

“The Board and I would also like to thank Ethan for everything he did at Bangor Ladies and the success achieved last season. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Michelle Crawford

Chris replaces Ethan Boylan who recently stepped down as manager.

(Posted: Monday, 19th February 2024)

Bangor swept away the blues of Tuesday night’s 3-2 defeat to Dundela with a 2-1 triumph at their 10-man east Belfast neighbours Harland and Wolff Welders on Saturday afternoon to surge north of the 50-point marker in the Playr-Fit Championship and significantly boost hopes of a top-half placing for the split.

The visitors opened the scoring just 15 minutes into proceedings at Blanchflower Park, Conor McDermott bagging his second goal in a fortnight when he rifled through a crowd and past Welders stopper Jack Mills to break the deadlock.

The hosts, whose line-up featured recently departed Seasiders favourite Dylan O’Kane in the middle of the park, were only behind for six minutes, however, as hotshot Tiarnan O’Connor restored the level pegging before the major flashpoint on 35 minutes when Welders top scorer Matthew Ferguson was sent off following a high boot on Bangor defender Howard Beverland.

It took some time for the Yellows to make their numerical superiority count, though that all-important third goal of the game did arrive on 68 minutes thanks to substitute Adam Neale’s clever finish with his very first touch. Ben Arthurs provided the supply and a deft chip by the Ballynahinch marksman over Mills restored Bangor’s lead and gave Neale his ninth of the campaign that wrapped up the three points.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

Bangor team:
J.Taylor, C.Byers[D.Hume, 46’], L.Francis, H.Beverland, R. Neale, L.Harrison[T.Mathieson, 66’], T.Mulvenna, C.McDermott, M.Bradley[S.McArthur, 46’], B.Arthurs, B.Cushnie[A. Neale, 66’].
Subs: M.Orbinson[GK], M.Halliday, S.Foster.

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 23rd February 2024 - BANGOR v BALLYCLARE COMRADES, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm.

(Posted: Saturday, 17th February 2024)

Bangor Reserves extended their formidable unbeaten run in the Championship/PIL Development League this season to 18 matches following a 4-0 victory over their Ballymacash Rangers counterparts on Friday night.

A double from Callum Johnston, as well as strikes by Kristian Trainor and Sam Millar, ensured that the Seasiders hit the 50-point marker with their 16th league win of this campaign at The Bluebell and further consolidated their position at the top of the table.

Striker Johnston, who scored a clinching fourth off the bench in the previous weekend’s 4-1 success at home to Lisburn Distillery Reserves, was named from the start for this encounter and he broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark before adding a second eight minutes after the interval.

Trainor, wearing the captain’s armband in Lisburn, added a third goal on the hour mark before left-back Millar completed the scoring 11 minutes from time for what is David Downes’ side’s biggest win of 2024 to date.

The side are on the road again next Saturday when they take on Newington U21 at Valley Leisure Centre, with kick-off at 11am.

(Posted: Saturday, 17th February 2024)

Saturday, February 17 – Harland and Wolff Welders vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Blanchflower Park, 3pm

Having dusted themselves down after the disappointment of losing to Dundela on Tuesday night, Bangor are back in east Belfast this Saturday to take on Harland and Wolff Welders in the sixth-from-last Playr-Fit Championship outing of the pre-split.

The second visit to Blanchflower Park this term, the Seasiders have played out two draws to date with Paul Kee’s Welders; a keenly contested 0-0 stalemate away in September followed by a 1-1 level pegging on home soil, with Adam Neale turning in and cancelling out Matthew Ferguson’s third-minute opener in early November.

On this occasion, the race to consolidate a top-six finish is at the forefront of minds on both sides; Bangor are safe by eight points in the top half, while the Welders are five points back and just three clear of seventh-placed Annagh United. With that in mind, it promises to be a hard-fought battle on the Holywood Road and, should one side prevail, a coveted three points for whoever is clinical on the afternoon.

Yellows boss Lee Feeney admitted it wasn’t his side at their best at Wilgar Park in midweek, as a direct brand of football failed to bring a points reward back to Clandeboye Park despite two goals from 20-goal top scorer Ben Arthurs either side of half-time, but he felt in his pre-match outlook for this fixture that the Welders’ synthetic surface can allow his team to play their preferred style more effectively this time around.

There’s not much margin for error as the split nears, so another competitive fixture can be expected this weekend.

(Posted: Friday, 16th February 2024)

Friday, February 16 – Ballymacash Rangers U21 vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, The Bluebell, 8pm

After Bangor’s senior side came under the spotlight and shone with the North Down Derby success over Ards last weekend, it is the Seasiders Reserves’ turn to come under the Friday night lights where they will hope to excel in their latest Championship/PIL Development League outing against Ballymacash Rangers U21.

David Downes’ men put their unbeaten record in the division at stake once more and enter this clash with The ‘Cash bidding to wrap up a 16th victory in their 18th league encounter.

A win would also take the Yellows up to 50 points having won each of their last five matches, most recently securing a 4-1 triumph over Lisburn Distillery U21 thanks to strikes by Mitchel Watterson, Charley Craig, Jay Boyd and Callum Johnston at Clandeboye Park. The result looked more comfortable than it was in practice, however, and Downes has been impressed of late with how his squad has found more gritty ways to take three points and keep their title charge ticking over.

This trip to Lisburn to face Ballymacash, who are second from bottom in the standings, is the reverse fixture of the match-up on the opening day. Craig, Kristian Trainor (two), Sam Millar, Ethan Scott and Sonny Redford marked the scoresheet in a 6-0 success back on September 2, and completing a back-to-back will be the target here.


Bangor Reserves assistant boss Ian Boal expects Ballymacash Rangers U21 to ask questions of his side and has warned the players not to let complacency seep in as the team aims to extend their formidable unbeaten streak.

The Seasiders have not lost in the Championship/PIL Development League all season and sit top of the table by seven points, but the focus is to continue on the winning trail rather than look back with The ‘Cash playing a tough host on Friday night.

After a 4-1 victory over Ballymacash’s near-neighbours Lisburn Distillery U21 last time out, Boal anticipates that the Lisburn club will put the pressure on from the outset, but he also has faith in his charges to show their quality and shine under the floodlights.

“Ballymacash is always a hard place to go. Even when they come here, they’re always a physical, strong, fast-paced team. But we don’t fear anybody in the league. We have the quality in the dressing room that can go out and beat any team in our league comfortably.

“Ballymacash, we won’t look past them. We don’t look past any team. We know we’ll be in for a fight and we’ll have to bring our game in order to beat them.”

Ian Boal

(Posted: Thursday, 15th February 2024)

(Posted: Thursday, 15th February 2024)

Manager Lee Feeney has taken responsibility for a direct style of play that failed to pay full dividends in Bangor’s 3-2 defeat to Dundela on Tuesday night – but he reaffirms his belief that his players can make a quick return to winning ways with just six pre-split fixtures left. The Seasiders were on the losing end of a Playr-Fit Championship match for the first time in 11 outings, since a 2-1 reversal at the hands of Newington in mid-November, and the Kilkeel chief admitted that, with hindsight, he would have asked his charges to keep the ball on the ground more rather than the vertical approach in practice.

Feeney also praised his team’s never-say-die spirit and refusing to wilt after Jordan Jenkins rubber-stamped his hat-trick for the Duns just five minutes into the second half. A tension-filled finale was lined up after Ben Arthurs bagged his second of the evening with 15 minutes to go, but it wasn’t to be and, ultimately, the manager felt too many of his men had off-nights in this crunch clash with the league leaders. Dundela were good value for their win, but from former Linfield and Rangers ace Feeney’s perspective, there were key learnings to take.

“I take the blame for it. Tactically, it was the wrong approach. I had told the boys to play direct, try and get behind, chase on second balls.

“It’s a tight pitch, a narrow pitch, they’re a pressing team and it’s hard to play your own style at times, and I maybe underestimated that we could’ve played a bit more football and kept it on the ground a bit more, passed it around a bit more. Looking back, I do think we could’ve played a bit more football and I think there was the space to do that, maybe a bit more than we realised at the start.

“I looked at it and there was going to be a lot of playing in tight spaces, and I do think we’re one of the best teams in the Championship at playing football and playing it short, so it was influenced a lot by the pitch and conditions to play a long-ball approach and I think we could have played a bit more on the ground and relied less on second balls and that sort of thing.

“It was disappointing, and it’s something I’ll personally learn from. In saying that, we know ourselves that wasn’t good enough and we’re better than that. I felt there were five or six players who just didn’t turn up on the night, who just struggled to make an impact on the game for large parts. “But even then, we got the second goal that brought us back into the game and still fought right to the end.

“It wasn’t to be, but the character’s there that we can go out and fight until the last ball, and there’s things I’ve learned today that will influence how we set up for this sort of game going forward. It was just a really bad day, and we had injuries as well, and it’s up to us now to go and put up a response against the Welders on Saturday.”

In singling out those who stood up and made themselves counted, Feeney praised three star performers for their contributions. Arthurs, who bulleted in a powerful header from Reece Neale’s corner to make it 1-1 on 25 minutes, coupled that with a second strike when he latched onto Ben Cushnie’s slick lay-off before rounding opposition ‘keeper Lewis Hunter to slot home and threaten the comeback, with Feeney hailing how his target man led the line. January arrivals Marty Bradley and Tiarnan Mulvenna – the latter was subbed off 10 minutes into the second half over an injury concern – were also bright lights the manager felt shone. Feeney said:

“Yeah, Big Ben, you have to give him credit, he went out and scored two goals… I think that’s the first time he’s scored two goals in the league all season. His all-round play was good, he led the line and it was two well-taken goals. I thought Marty Bradley was very positive as well, he took up a few good positions on the pitch and made a lot of things happen and he’s a great character, and Tiarnan Mulvenna had a good game as well before he had to go off injured.

“There were others who weren’t up to those levels, but I think they’re now playing with a point to prove and they’ll want to go out and deliver a response. The players have been a credit; if you’d given me third or fourth-place, where we are now, before the season started, I’d have bit your hand off. They work hard in training and set high standards for themselves and they have high expectations.

“It is disappointing that our unbeaten run is over and things don’t go as we wanted in terms of the performance, but going 11 games unbeaten in the Championship as a newly promoted team is outstanding and it shows the work the players are putting in. It’s a fresh start, our approach is very much we’re taking it one game at a time and we’re treating Saturday like that.

“We’ve got great characters, mentally strong characters who’ve done the club proud and who I’ve got a lot of confidence in. “We’ve got a wee bit of motivation to put things right now that we’re coming off the back of a defeat and we’ll try and start a new run. We’re in for a massive 11 games now, and the first thing we have to do is secure top six because that’s not even been confirmed yet. It’s a tight league and every point you can get counts.”

Looking ahead to the weekend battle at Blanchflower Park with Harland and Wolff Welders, one of only two teams in the Championship that Bangor have yet to beat this term – two draws (0-0 and 1-1) have been played out – Feeney expects a tough match-up against a side ranked fifth in the standings and likewise hoping to assure themselves of a top-half finish.

A win for Saturday’s hosts would put them within a couple of points of the Yellows, so it is a fixture that carries significance with Ballyclare, Institute and Portadown also still to come.

“The thing about 3G is you can always trust the pitch, you know what you’re going into,” he said on the topic of the Welders’ artificial surface, in contrast to their east Belfast neighbours Dundela’s grass.

“The thing with the Welders, they’ve got a lot of great players, good manager, and they’re sort of breathing down us I think. They’re fighting for top six, they’ve got threat in the forward areas and I’m fully expecting a real tough battle when we head up there. We’re sort of the same as them in that right now, we’re wanting to consolidate top six, and every team will be fired up and looking as many points as they can get.

“And listen, we’re going into Saturday’s game hurting; we’re a wounded animal and we know that other teams will be looking at that and wanting to put the pressure on us. But we’ve got the characters in there who’ll want to produce a response, we’ll work on our game plan in training and I’m confident with the personalities we have that can get back on track again.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Wednesday, 14th February 2024)

Bangor suffered an agonising first league defeat in 11 matches following a 3-2 midweek defeat to Dundela at Wilgar Park.

After an even start, the Duns were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead on 19 minutes when tricky frontman Jordan Jenkins was felled in the box by Lewis Francis, with referee Stewart Long showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Jenkins himself stepped up and sent James Taylor the wrong way to open the scoring for the hosts.

The Seasiders reacted quickly, however, as Ben Arthurs powered in Reece Neale's left-sided corner to level just six minutes later – his 125th competitive goal for the club since he first joined in 2018. Dundela provided a response in turn; on 31 minutes, Jenkins received from David McMaster on the left flank and cut inside before slotting low and in at Taylor's near post to restore their lead.

Hoping for a fast start to the second half, it didn't materialise as hoped when Jenkins completed a hat-trick just five minutes after the restart as he slotted beyond his former Glenavon team-mate Taylor for 3-1. A response arrived when Arthurs broke behind the line, sitting goalkeeper Lewis Hunter down before slotting into an open net past recovering Dundela defenders.

But despite an end-to-end finish, a decisive third was to elude Bangor in the end and a first loss in the league since the 2-1 reversal to Newington on November 11 was confirmed. The focus swiftly moves towards the away battle with Harland and Wolff Welders on Saturday.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, C.Byers, L.Francis(D.Hume, 45'), H.Beverland, R.Neale, L.Harrison(A. Neale 90'), T.Mulvenna(Halliday, 55'), T.Mathieson(S.Foster, 70'), M.Bradley, S.McArthur(B.Cushnie, 55'),B.Arthurs.
Unused subs: M.Orbinson[GK], C.McDermott.
Booked: S.Foster, M.Bradley.
Referee: Stewart Long

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 17th February 2024 - H&W WELDERS v BANGOR, Championship, Blanchflower Park, 3:00PM

(Posted: Tuesday, 13th February 2024)

Tuesday, February 13 – Dundela vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Wilgar Park, 7.45pm

Bangor will become familiar with the scenery of east Belfast this week as they prepare for a double-header in the Playr-Fit Championship, starting with a midweek duel at Dundela.

The Duns, whose 5-1 rout of Dergview on Saturday shot them to the top of the division and, indeed, dislodged Bangor following the North Down Derby success for Lee Feeney’s side the previous night, play host in an outing rescheduled from the original date of December 9 due to a waterlogged pitch at Wilgar Park that afternoon.

Stephen Gourley’s men, who became the first team in the second-flight to hit 50 points this term with that triumph over the relegation-threatened Dergs, had only won one of their last six prior to that five-star win, with a brace by January new boy Ewan Kelly adding to finishes from Charlie Dornan, Jordan Jenkins and a Lee Rea penalty. Amid their rocky patch was a bit of Friday night delight for the Seasiders, who counted on a trio of late goals to take down their rivals at Clandeboye Park a little over three weeks ago, and Bangor can retake top spot with another win this Valentine’s Day eve.

The victory over Ards last time out saw the Seagulls make it 11 unbeaten in the league, a run that dates three months, and with a trip to Harland and Wolff Welders following on Saturday, the team is in no mood to let up their mean streak. -

Defender Conor McDermott is expecting a difficult encounter at Wilgar Park this midweek as Bangor take on league leaders Dundela in a rescheduled Tuesday night blockbuster (7:45pm).

It’s first versus third in the Playr-Fit Championship on February 13, and with the top four in the division split by only a couple of points, the Seasiders know a win at the ‘Hen Run’ sees them reclaim top spot ahead of another testing trip to east Belfast on Saturday, as Harland and Wolff Welders await at Blanchflower Park.

Coleraine loanee McDermott is taking a one-game-at-a-time approach, however, and is firmly focused on clinching another win that would see Lee Feeney’s men rise north of the 50-point marker in what feels like a pivotal week.

“Another really tough game. It’s very close at the top of the table and every team’s going to be scrapping away for points.

“We’ve got tricky games coming up and all the lads know we have to be ready for whatever the other teams are going to throw at us.

“We obviously played them (Dundela) a few weeks ago and it was important that we won and we keep finding ways to win, we’ve turned our focus right onto Tuesday night now and we’re looking at getting three points again.

“They’ve got good players, but we’re focused on picking up as many points as we can, it’s been a good run and hopefully, we can keep that going on Tuesday night with another win.”

(Posted: Monday, 12th February 2024)

Bangor Reserves kept up their formidable unbeaten run with an impressive 4-1 victory over Lisburn Distillery’s Under-21s at Clandeboye Park on Saturday morning, extending what is a monster streak without defeat in the Championship/PIL Development League to 17 games.

Goals by Mitchel Watterson, Charley Craig, Jay Boyd and Callum Johnston secured a win that looked more comfortable than it was, with the Whites setting up a nervy second half having looped a header home while young striker Jude Healy was also denied from the penalty spot following the interval.

Classy midfielder Watterson, who was named on the substitutes’ bench for the senior side the night before, set the Seasiders on the front foot with a well-placed drive low into the bottom left corner from 20 yards, while a trio of striker goals that followed – Johnston’s close-range clincher coming from the bench – will have heartened manager David Downes as his side rise to 47 points in the standings and keep their title charge motoring along.

Healy, who saw his penalty in the second period parried away after the Distillery goalkeeper dived low to his right before Craig blazed the rebound over the crossbar, was also a livewire and ensures that an attack that has averaged over three goals a game this term remains in rude health ahead of a tough Friday night battle against Ballymacash Rangers U21 in Lisburn, where the Yellows will bid to breach the 50-point marker.


Assistant managers Ian Boal and Ollie Haslam admitted that while Bangor Reserves weren’t on top form in their victory over Lisburn Distillery U21 on Saturday, the importance of three crucial points in the title hunt made it a highly satisfying day at the office.

The Seasiders ran out 4-1 winners but were made to work for their rewards, with the nerves eased after an at times rocky start by Mitchel Watterson’s low drive 34 minutes in when the midfielder drilled into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box. Jay Boyd extended the cushion just after the interval, but a quickfire reaction saw the arrears swiftly trimmed by the Whites before Charley Craig and substitute Callum Johnston rubber-stamped the win in the final half-hour. The results sees Bangor maintain a seven-point lead at the top of the table, extending their unbeaten streak to 17 matches this term – and 18 in total in the Championship/PIL Development League dating back to last campaign – and rise to 47 points from a possible 51.

Lately, the Yellows have had to show their steel and find fresh ways to win, but with five victories on the bounce, this triumphant vein is just the ticket for the coaching staff.

“That’s it, it’s just trying to keep the momentum going. The boys are working hard in training, just taking each game as it comes and putting it into the match.

“I think they (Distillery) took us by surprise. The games we’ve played against them previously, they weren’t as good as what they were today, and give them credit today, they came out and were fighting the whole game. They were unlucky with two of the goals and we were lucky, and sometimes you just need a little bit of luck in the game just to get the momentum going in the way you want.

“Mitch scoring that goal in the first half definitely settled a lot of nerves, definitely.”

Ian Boal

Haslam adds that the subs’ impact on the match late on – topped off by Johnston’s close-range finish nine minutes from time that proved the cherry on top – is a showcase of the strength in depth that will be of value in the season run-in. In the striker department, the side is well-stocked, and despite new arrival Jude Healy seeing his second-half penalty parried that would have added comfort to the scoreline, a flying start in yellow and blue for the son of David comes as a further boost as the side eye title success.

“Like Ian says, the first goal settled us down and then we kind of built from there, we came back into it. We kind of let them (Distillery) back into it slightly, but then we started to play free-flowing football like we know we can do and just, eventually, it will come.

“With Callum and Jack coming off the bench, we went to four at the back, and bringing Jack in, he kind of steadies the ship as well, and we have got options off the bench and there’s obviously the true depth we’ve got in the squad. We’ve got competition all over the pitch for places; starting XI, any of them boys can be in the starting XI.

“The team can change week-in, week-out and everyone’s strong enough to do a job in that position and do well. So, it’s testament to the boys putting the effort in, and the boys that come off the bench, we know what they can do, and they went out and done it. They done what was asked, big Jack steadied the ship at the back, Callum comes on and he gets his goal.

“Jude, he was unlucky with his penalty, you know, you score penalties and miss penalties, but he wanted the penalty, he was confident to come up and take it and I’m sure if he’s asked again, he’ll be happy to make sure he puts it right.”

Ollie Haslem
On Healy, Boal saluted his immediate influence and predatory instincts in the penalty area having bagged a debut brace against Ballyclare Comrades followed by the opener in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Limavady United.

“Yeah, we sort of lacked consistent forward goals, we were doing everything but the goals for the work they’re putting in, And Jude coming in, his first game at Ballyclare, scoring two within 35 minutes, you know, shows what he can bring to the team, his goals.

“That’ll help, especially with the run-in to the season, I think we’ve 11 games (left to play) now after today… it’s 11 cup Finals, you know, if we want to win this league.”

Ian Boal

(Posted: Sunday, 11th February 2024)

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW >>

(Posted: Sunday, 11th February 2024)

Bangor produced a grandstand finish as Lewis Francis and Michael Halliday struck injury time goals to send the Seasiders to the top of the table.

Lee Newell opened the scoreing for Ards in the 26th minute, but a sublime finish from Conor McDermott in the 41st minute made it 1-1 at the break.

Both sides went close in the second half before late strikes from Lewis Francis and Michael Halliday secured the three points for the Seasiders.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, H.Beverland, R.Neale, L.Francis, C.Byers, T.Mulvenna, M.Bradley(B.Walker), C.McDermott(S.Foster), S.McArthur(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(B.Cushnie).
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Watterson, A.Neale

NEXT MATCH
Tuesday, 13th February - DUNDELA v BANGOR, Championship, Wilgar Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Friday, 9th February 2024)

Saturday, February 10 – Bangor Reserves vs Lisburn Distillery U21, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves continue their push towards title glory in the Championship/PIL Development League on Saturday morning when they welcome Lisburn Distillery’s second string to Clandeboye Park. The Seasiders, who kept up their unbeaten streak with a slender 3-2 victory over Limavady United’s young guns last weekend, face the Whites – who are third from bottom – bidding for a 15th win in 17 outings that will keep them on pace to fulfilling their league ambitions.

Goals from Jude Healy, who has hit three goals in two matches since arriving in the January window, Jay Boyd and Gareth Beattie helped the hosts on their merry way, but it was a duel that could easily have saw more goals than had went in given both sides enjoyed numerous presentable opportunities that edged wide of the mark. A competitive Limavady outfit, who the Yellows did the double over having won by the same scoreline in the away encounter in September, should prove suitable preparation for facing this Saturday’s opponents from Ballyskeagh.

Distillery, who have 11 points from 16 matches played so far, will aim to spring a surprise and lift themselves further up the table at the expense of their league-leading hosts in the first meeting of the sides this term. In four meetings last season, Bangor emerged with 10 points from 12 – a 2-2 draw away followed by consecutive home wins (4-0 and 5-3) as well as a 2-0 success on their return to New Grosvenor – and will hope to continue that positive run with another three-point haul here.

(Posted: Friday, 9th February 2024)

MATCH DAY GUIDE
Friday, February 9 – Bangor vs Ards, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7.45pm

Bangor's unbeaten run across all competitions may have concluded at 11 following last weekend's Irish Cup exit at the hands of Portadown, but the third and final North Down Derby of the pre-split on Friday night can see them extend their streak of games without defeat in the Playr-Fit Championship.

Perhaps even more significantly, though, the Seasiders can rise provisionally to the top of the table and overtake Institute on goal difference with victory over Ards at Clandeboye Park. Having not been defeated in the Championship since a 2-1 loss to Newington at Inver Park on November 11, that invincible stretch endured until last Saturday when two Zach Barr strikes either side of Ben Arthurs' leveller saw Lee Feeney's panel eliminated from the Irish Cup by the Ports at the Sixth Round stage at Shamrock Park.

But attentions swiftly turn back to a hotly contested promotion race in the second-tier with the Yellows hopeful of securing a second success against the old enemy. With the most recent league result, a 1-1 draw with Dergview in Castlederg a fortnight ago, and the 2-2 stalemate with Ards on Boxing Day in which a two-goal lead was lost both fresh in the mind, Bangor will be keen to deliver a crucial killer blow this time around and rise to a division-leading 48 points in the table.

(Posted: Friday, 9th February 2024)

(Posted: Thursday, 8th February 2024)

(Posted: Wednesday, 7th February 2024)

NOW AVAILABLE - PORTADOWN v BANGOR MATCH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:
PORTADOWN MATCH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

(Posted: Tuesday, 6th February 2024)

Bangor's January arrival Callum Byers has revealed he feels settled in and raring to go having played his first minutes in the yellow and blue shirt during the Reserves' victory over Limavady United U21 on Saturday. The centre-back, who linked up from fellow Playr-Fit Championship outfit Harland and Wolff Welders in the winter window, played the full 90 minutes in the 3-2 win on his debut appearance and says he had a "really good gut feeling" about making the move to Clandeboye Park.

26-year-old Byers adds that walking into a changing room full of players he has already made acquaintances with across a career that has seen him represent Linfield Swifts, Dungannon Swifts, Ards and the Welders made it a simple adaptation.

"Yeah, no, the club's been amazing to be fair," he says of his initial bedding-in process. "It all happened quite quickly, Lee got in touch, sort of spoke to the Welders and they were happy enough for me to move on. I had a really good gut feeling about coming in here, and I knew a few of the boys in the changing room from before from Linfield Swifts and my days at Ards, so it makes that a wee bit easier.

"The changing room's been fantastic, the coaching staff and Lee have all been super. Yeah, it was good to get a few minutes this morning and sort of just get back in the swing of things."

Byers feels his experience of both the Premiership and Championship throughout his career to date will come in handy as Bangor prepare for a crunch run-in. He has already made his first senior matchday squad having been an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Dergview in the last league outing, and while he was cup-tied for the Irish Cup defeat to Portadown – a clash in which three Under-20s in striker Charley Craig (18), midfielder Mitchel Watterson (18) and centre-back Mackenzie Gray (16) were among the subs – he is in line to make his first-team bow against Ards, who he previously captained, in the third North Down Derby of the season on February 9.

"Yeah, I'm only 26 but I feel I've been around the block for a while," he adds. I had time at Dungannon and Ards in the Premiership and then obviously at the Welders there for three years, so yeah, I've been about and I know what the Championship's about. So, I'm looking to add a wee bit of experience, a wee bit of knowhow around the changing room and help us push on."

An injury-hit first half of the campaign meant Byers arrived keen to build up his minutes again, and he was pleased to register a full match's worth of action for the Reserves and make an instant impact by helping them on the way to victory.

He said: "Yeah 100 per cent, I think it's good coming down and get 90 minutes because I sort of haven't had a consistent run of games this year.

"So, it's good getting 90 minutes under the belt and pick up the win because the Reserves side are pushing towards the top of the league and wanting to go on and strive for better things. So, yeah, it was good to get the result, too."

(Posted: Sunday, 4th February 2024)

Bangor Reserves emerged on top to preserve their unbeaten record in the league after a close-fought battle with Limavady United U21 at Clandeboye Park on Saturday morning. A game that, in truth, swung one way and the other in north Down, it was a game that probably should have produced more than the five goals it did as both sides missed some presentable opportunities, but the Seasiders took the reins and saw through a 3-2 success.

Goals in the first half from Jude Healy and Jay Boyd saw them enter a commanding position; the former prodded home on 29 minutes for his third goal in two games since his debut the previous week, while the latter showed fantastic strength to outmuscle his Roesiders opponent and blast home six minutes later.

The Lims came roaring back, though, as they struck twice either side of the interval to peg back to level terms, but Gareth Beattie was on hand with what proved the matchwinner on 57 minutes when he placed a back-post header in at the Clandeboye Road end net. The result lifts David Downes' Seasiders, who had seven regulars absent through injury or first-team squad inclusion in the seniors' Irish Cup match with Portadown, up to 44 points as they remain on top of the standings.

(Posted: Sunday, 4th February 2024)

Bangor fell to a narrow defeat to Portadown in the Irish Cup at Shamrock Park this afternoon. Zach Barr fired in the opener for Portadown after 5 minutes, but Ben Arthurs headed in a 19th minute corner kick to level it for the Seasiders.

The Seasiders twice saw the ball roll agonisingly across an empty goalmouth in the second half, but Zach Barr headed in the winner for Portadown in the 79th minute.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, H.Beverland, D.Hume, L.Francis, T.Mulvenna, L.Harrison, T.Mathieson (C.Craig), B.Walker (B.Cushnie), B.Arthurs, S.McArthur (A.Neale).
Subs: M.Orbinson, S.Foster, Gray, M.Watterson

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 9th February - BANGOR v ARDS, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 3rd February 2024)

Manager Lee Feeney declared himself satisfied with Bangor's transfer business throughout the January window, bringing in five new faces while accounting for seven departures from Clandeboye Park in all.

He adds that he hopes the players the club has signed can be cornerstones of their progress in the months and potentially years to come having opted to freshen up his panel for the Playr-Fit Championship run-in.

Arriving at the club were centre-backs Howard Beverland and Callum Byers, right-back Conor McDermott (on loan) and central midfielders Tiarnan Mulvenna and Marty Bradley. Mulvenna, who linked up from Glenavon, signed an 18-month professional deal, with Feeney having stated that the Belfast man had been on his radar for some time, while Coleraine Player of the Season for 2022/23 McDermott was naturally an arrival that turned heads around the Irish League landscape.

Departing, meanwhile, were long-serving goalkeeper Darren Gibbons, defenders Ryan Arthur, Ali Omar and Sean Brown – the latter two returning to Larne following loans – and midfielders Jack Henderson, Dylan O'Kane and Karl Devine.

"Yeah, I've been really happy with the business that's been done," said Bangor boss Feeney. "I think the new players that have come in have settled in quickly and made an impact, and that'll put us on the right track for the next part of the season.

"The players that have come in, they're great characters and they're players with experience and who have been successful at the top level of the game, who've won trophies and give us some things that we didn't really have before.

"There has been quite a bit of turnover in the window, we've seen players leave the club, but that's also a challenge because you need to have the right sort of characters coming in to replace them.

"We're not wanting to bring in any passengers, we're wanting to bring in players who have the desire to improve themselves and the people around them and who'll strengthen the team, and a lot of work's went in to bring in the players I believe can help strengthen the squad.

"Some good players have left us as well, the likes of Sean Brown for example, and I wish them all the best for the future. Those we've brought in, I'm looking forward to working with them and I believe they can set the standards for the months to come."

(Posted: Friday, 2nd February 2024)

Saturday, February 3 – Bangor Reserves vs Limavady United U21, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 3pm kick-off

Table-topping Bangor Reserves put their unbeaten record on the line once more when they welcome their Limavady United counterparts to Clandeboye Park for this match-up at the start of February. The young Seasiders are chasing title glory and have not lost in their 15 league matches to date, enjoying a comfortable position at the top of the table with 41 points collected from a possible 45 in the Championship/PIL Development League.

Bangor were in Mossley last weekend and extended that proud run thanks to debutant Jude Healy's brace that sank Ballyclare Comrades U21, although there was a nervy finale when the hosts cut the deficit to 2-1 that ultimately was the final score.

It was a one-goal game when David Downes' charges visited Limavady the first time around, too; a 3-2 victory courtesy of a Charley Craig brace and a Jay Boyd strike later credited as an own goal back in the middle of September. It will again be a tough task here against the side sat sixth-placed in the standings ahead of kick-off, but the manager will expect his players to put in the hard work and rubber-stamp the win.

(Posted: Friday, 2nd February 2024)

Bangor start February's agenda with a trip to Shamrock Park in the Irish Cup, where Playr-Fit Championship rivals Portadown will entertain them in a straight shoot-out for a place in the quarter-finals of the esteemed competition.

Lee Feeney's men are intent on continuing their impressive vein of form, entering this clash with the Ports having not lost in any of their last 11 outings. He knows that if the Seasiders reach the last-eight of the oldest footballing cup competition on the island of Ireland, it will be a delightful dozen, although in a meeting of the third and fourth-placed sides in the second-tier, it is too close for comfort.

Last time out, Bangor wrapped up a solid point on their travels when they clinched a 1-1 draw at Dergview courtesy of Howard Beverland's 96th-minute equaliser which kept the unbeaten run alive – a streak that started against Saturday's opponents, with whom they played out a 2-2 draw at Clandeboye Park back on November 18 having held a 2-0 lead through Lewis Harrison and Ben Arthurs strikes in the first half.

Niall Currie's Portadown panel, which now includes midfielder Jack Henderson who departed the Seagulls at the beginning of the month, snatched a share of the spoils through Dougie Wilson and Eamon Fyfe finishes that day and will pose a stern challenge once again, but the visitors will back themselves to deliver and secure their spot in the quarters and know they must produce the goods to do so.

MATCH TICKET LINK
(Cash payment at the turnstile will also be available at the ground)


Bangor manager Lee Feeney insists progression in the Irish Cup is a priority now that the Seasiders have returned to the senior ranks of the Irish League.

The Seasiders tackle Portadown in the Sixth Round of the competition this Saturday and have a quarter-final place in their sights, needing to fend off their Playr-Fit Championship rivals at their Shamrock Park home to secure that berth.

But the Seasiders supremo has full faith that his men in yellow and blue can deliver, backed up by their 11-game unbeaten run across all competitions and with his side having already defeated the Ports at this venue back in August.

"Absolutely, we've experience of playing Portadown and we should be looking to beat them and progress into the next round," Feeney declared. I said to the boys, we're a senior football club now, and we need to have the attitude towards the cups that senior football clubs have. We want to progress in the cups, that should be an ambition for us every season.

"Last season (against Crusaders), when we got to this stage, it was more of an occasion for us and a night to enjoy more than anything, but now, we've got a winnable tie and we want to go as far into the Irish Cup as we can. "Yes, the unbeaten run maybe helps us, and it was good to keep it alive with the last-minute goal there that gives us a bit of momentum, but we approach every game the same and we have to go into this game with that same winning mentality. It's a big opportunity for us and I'm really looking forward to it."

(Posted: Friday, 2nd February 2024)

Midfielder Karl Devine leaves the Seasiders after two & a half years.

The 28 year was part of last season’s double winning side and has played 21 times for the Seasiders this season.

We thank Karl for his time at the club and we wish him well for the future.

(Posted: Wednesday, 31st January 2024)

Bangor FC has agreed a new sponsorship deal with local Bangor firm Mango Ethical Direct Marketing.

Bangor FC Chairman Graham Bailie said: "We are delighted to secure the support of Mango, which is a high-profile company with well-established links in the city.

“Mango shares the ambitions of the football club as they are renowned for consistently striving to set high standards and delivering excellent results. We are thrilled to have them onboard as we continue our journey and I look forward to working with them and seeing how we can strengthen our relationship moving forward.”

Mango CEO Stuart Lally said: “As a family-owned business rooted in the local community, we’re incredibly proud to sponsor Bangor FC. This partnership aligns seamlessly with our work culture of being happy, friendly, diligent and delivering results.

“Just as the Bangor players strive for victory on the field, Mango is striving to set a high standard, delivering excellent results for our customers, whilst supporting our loyal team and driving a positive ethical culture.

“We wish the team continued success in their matches this season and we are looking forward to seeing the players in action over the coming weeks.”

Mango is as a full-service direct marketing agency that provides for clients based in UK, Ireland, Australia and America. Services are provided across many sectors including charities, home shopping, public sector and finance.

(Posted: Wednesday, 31st January 2024)

Congratulations to our U16s who defeated Strangford in the final of the SBYL First Division Cup at the weekend.

Finley, Jai and Jack were all on target for the Seasiders.

Well done to the coaches, players and parents!

(Posted: Tuesday, 30th January 2024)

The son of a Northern Ireland football legend had his shooting boots on having marked his debut for Bangor Reserves with a fabulous first-half double in Mossley.

It proved crucial come the end as, following a frantic finale with hosts Ballyclare Comrades having cut the deficit in half, the brace from Jude Healy was just what was needed to secure three points and preserve an unbeaten record.

Jude's father, NI men's record goalscorer and Linfield manager David Healy, was a renowned goalscorer in his peak who plied his trade at Premier League level in his playing days, and he showed similar instincts with two smart close-range finishes that capped off well-worked moves on 13 and 35 minutes. A fluid first half was to be followed by a more gruelling second, however, and David Downes' Seasiders were forced to grind out the points after that nervy ending in which the Comrades hit back with a placed 20-yard free-kick.

In the end, the players saw their lead through and picked up a 13th victory in 15 Championship/PIL Development League outings this season to maintain their grip on top spot and rise to 41 points.


Bangor Reserves striker Callum Johnston admits it was simply about getting the job done after the yellow and blue shirts were forced to work for the three points at a muddy Mossley Pavilion on Saturday morning. The sharp-shooter was right in the thick of a second half where the Seasiders were having to soldier hard for one another, fending off the late advances of Ballyclare Comrades U21 to clinch an important 2-1 win courtesy of a brace by Jude Healy inside the opening 35 minutes.

At a venue where Bangor's senior side have also played in the recent past, most notably a 4-0 Intermediate Cup victory in 2021 that was marked by a Michael Halliday hat-trick as well as when facing Ballynure Old Boys in the Ballymena Provincial League, David Downes' charges were sweating after a 20-yard free-kick was converted to haul the Comrades back within one late on, but Johnston was pleased with a battling victory.

"Today was just a case of getting the three points," reflected an honest Johnston.

"We made it a bit hard for ourselves in the second half, but we dug in, we defended as a unit and ground out the three points in the end, that's the most important thing. First half, the football we played was great. It wasn't the easiest pitch but we were stringing passes together, I think we expected a reaction from Ballyclare at the start of the half and they had bodies forward, but that's when you've got to work hard as a unit and we did well to get the win in the end."

Johnston was also left impressed by new recruit Healy, who marked his Reserves bow with a couple of goals that ultimately proved crucial on the way to a 13th victory in 15 league outings this term.

"He's good, isn't he?" was Johnston's first impression of the fresh face with a famous name. "Two goals, well-taken... he's a pure No.9, knows where to be and be in the right place at the right time.

"Obviously, that's his debut today, he's scored a couple of goals and he's hit the ground running, which can only be a good thing for the team as a whole. He'll provide extra competition for the likes of me at the top end of the pitch, it's good to have that competition and, yeah, looking forward to seeing what he can do."

(Posted: Tuesday, 30th January 2024)

Lee Feeney lavished 96th-minute saviour Howard Beverland with praise after the centre-back's heroics rescued a point for Bangor at Darragh Park on Saturday.

It looked like Dergview would send the Seasiders' unbeaten run crashing to an abrupt halt after Niall McGinley opened the scoring 11 minutes from time, but classy Beverland had other ideas when he intuitively backheeled Lewis Francis' cut-back beyond game Dergs stopper Ronan O'Gara and secured a share of the spoils on this four-hour-round trip.

The defender, originally from Ballymoney and who has represented high-ranking Coleraine and Crusaders sides in the Premiership, wheeled away with delight and celebrated his first goal for his new club with his team-mates in tow on just his fourth appearance since arriving from Ballyclare Comrades.

Feeney shared Beverland's joy and felt it was a just reward for a fine start to life in yellow and blue both on the pitch and behind the scenes in training, where he hailed his new recruit's early influence and leadership generated throughout years of distinguished service in the Irish League. Although having not worked with him before, the Bangor boss already feels like a man who shone under Oran Kearney and Stephen Baxter has been here far shorter than he'd have you believe.

"Howard Beverland, I'm absolutely delighted for him scoring his first goal for the club," Feeney explained.

"I know he's only been here for a short time, but you could tell that it really meant something to him the way he went away and celebrated, he was delighted and the lads around him were delighted for him. And it was really clever the way he did it as well, it was great improvisation from him when the ball was sent back across the face of goal, the corner was sent in towards the far post and then it was brought back across and he was able to connect with a backheel and put the ball in. He's deserved that for the way he's come in, he's been absolutely phenomenal.

"I didn't really know Howard before he came in, I hadn't worked with him and hadn't coached him before, so it was a bit of an adaptation at the start because we were obviously getting to know each other when he was first coming here to train. But he's settled in quickly, he's been setting an example in training and he's been showing his experience, he's been an absolute class act, he's been phenomenal. On the pitch, he's organising, he's leading and he's being a big presence, and I've been really pleased with the way he's playing. He's playing like he's been here for years, not like he's just joined the club and he's getting to know people. He's already adjusted to the system and he's playing like he's been here for a long time. He's a player who can have a really big impact here, he's made a quick start and hopefully that form continues."

Last season, the experience from the right side of a back-three provided by John Boyle proved pivotal behind Bangor winning the Premier Intermediate League and Steel and Sons Cup double, and that the 37-year-old Warrenpoint man featured so prominently under Feeney reflected the esteem he was held in.

After Boyle departed in the summer, a player less than half his age in Sean Brown arrived on loan from Larne and routinely impressed in that right centre-back berth before being recalled by the Inver Reds in January this year. Former Premiership and Irish Cup winner Beverland (33) has filled that void seamlessly.

"Yeah, we missed that, I'd said earlier in the season that that was something we'd been missing, that experience, and it definitely is something Howard has in his locker," Feeney added.

"I didn't think that was something we had enough of before the window, but we've brought in a few more experienced players who've played in the Premiership and who are proven performers at the top level. That's certainly the case with Howard, he's a player who's proved himself at the top level of the game, his attitude and his character, and he's come in here and is a player I believe can help us push forward."

(Posted: Tuesday, 30th January 2024)

A last-gasp goal by defender Howard Beverland rescued a point for Bangor at Darragh Park yesterday afternoon and extended their unbeaten run across all competitions to a formidable 11 matches.

The centre-back's intuitive backheel at the death came after Niall McGinley had put hosts Dergview in front 11 minutes from time, and the Co Tyrone men looked for all the world like they would secure the three points. Winter arrival Beverland had other ideas, though, connecting after defensive comrade Lewis Francis cut Tiarnan Mulvenna's floated corner back across the face of goal.

The 33-year-old finally broke impressive Dergs goalkeeper Shane O'Gara's resistance and ensured the Seasiders emulated the feats of their fellow top-four outfits in the Playr-Fit Championship, given Dundela, Portadown – who played each other – and Institute also picked up draws during Saturday's action. The 11th-placed home side steered by Emmet Friars are battling gamely against the drop, with former Crusaders ace Beverland on hand to secure a precious point at a difficult venue.

The outcome means Bangor remain in third-place before tackling the Ports in the Sixth Round of the Irish Cup next time out, with Lee Feeney's panel perched on 45 points and still within touching distance of the promotion play-off currently occupied by the Duns, who are a couple of points better off.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, H.Beverland, R.Neale, D.Hume(M.Halliday), L.Francis, T.Mulvenna, L.Harrison, C.McDermott, S.McArthur, B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(A.Neale).
Subs: M.Orbinson, K.Devine, M.Bradley, C.Byers, B.Walker

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 3rd February - PORTADOWN v BANGOR, Irish Cup, Shamrock Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 27th January 2024)

LEE FEENEY: THERE'S NEVER ROOM FOR LIBERTIES AGAINST BATTLING DERGVIEW

Taking liberties is not an option for Bangor manager Lee Feeney, who declared that the defeat against Dergview on their last visit to Darragh Park is more than reason enough to guard against having their wrists burned for a sub-par effort.

The Seasiders' unbeaten run is put to the test once again in Castlederg, where they were defeated by the Dergs 2-1 back in September, and although the Bangor boss said that having the momentum of a run of positive results sets them in good stead, he is treating it like any other game and the Co Tyrone outfit with the respect they deserve as his charges bid for a ninth win in 10 outings.

"It's never that simple," Feeney warned regarding what is demanded to pick up three points. "It's never that simple in football as you know, we have to be on it from the first whistle here again.

"They beat us the last time we were up there and it's a tough pitch to play on, they'll do their best to try and make the game uncomfortable for us and it's up to us to respond to that.

"We didn't play great and we got punished for making mistakes and switching off (on the first visit), so the players will want to put that right and we know we need to show Dergview respect because they're good on their pitch especially.

"Yes, I suppose the unbeaten run helps in terms of the momentum, but we have that unbeaten run because we've been approaching games the right way and putting in the effort to win them, and I'm expecting a real tough game here and a tough battle."

(Posted: Friday, 26th January 2024)

DYLAN O’KANE DEPARTS CLANDEBOYE PARK

Bangor FC can confirm the departure of popular midfielder Dylan O'Kane this January window having made over 70 appearances for the Seasiders since first arriving on the scene.

O'Kane, who linked up from Ards in January 2022, made his impact felt almost immediately with a powered header against Newington the following month and would end his first full season at Clandeboye Park with the Steel and Sons Cup and Premier Intermediate League trophies.

A home town favourite, his close connections to Bangor underpinned the high regard he was held in among supporters. Making 34 appearances in 2022/23, O'Kane scored three and assisted three with a further 21 features both from the start and bench as Bangor took the leap into the Championship for 2023/24, registering two set-ups in victories over Ballinamallard United (3-0) and Knockbreda (4-1).

Gutted to be leaving Bangor FC," the man who also represented university sides the Tiffin Dragons and Wingate Bulldogs in the United States said. "Some great memories that will last a lifetime."

"Wish Dylan all the very best with his next move and a massive thanks for everything he has given us during his time at the club," added chairman Graham Bailie on 26-year-old O'Kane's contributions over the past 24 months.

Also well-regarded for his engagement with supporters and positive attitude, Dylan naturally departs with the best wishes of everyone at Bangor FC for his future endeavours.

(Posted: Friday, 26th January 2024)

SEASIDERS OFF ON TYRONE TREK TO FACE FAMILIAR OPPONENT

Bangor are in Playr-Fit Championship action once again on Saturday afternoon when they make the long trek west to Darragh Park to face Dergview.

The third meeting in five weeks between the sides, Bangor have been victorious in two prior meetings at Clandeboye Park in league and cup fronts during the winter season, but they return to a venue where they suffered defeat back in September. Nevertheless, 10 games without defeat has inspired belief among Lee Feeney's panel that they can make amends for that 2-1 reversal.

Perched in third-place after late finishes from Lewis Francis, Scott McArthur and Adam Neale capped off a decisive win over then-league leaders Dundela last Friday night, this visit to Castlederg is for facing a team at the other end of the standings. Emmet Friars' Dergs are in the relegation play-off spot and fighting for their lives, which means any notions of taking the foot off the pedal have been quashed in advance; Lewis Harrison struck the opener in the previous encounter in Co Tyrone only for Padraig Lynch and Niall McGinley finishes to turn the tide.

Now at the end of January and with some new bodies added, Feeney will have his players energised for battle and targeting a 14th win in their 25th league match as the Seasiders bid to continue their charge at the top of the table.


BALLYCLARE COMRADES U21 VS BANGOR RESERVES: MOSSLEY TRIP FOR YOUNG SEASIDERS

Bangor Reserves are in action in the Championship/PIL Development League this weekend and will bid to extend their impressive unbeaten run in the division when they travel to Mossley to face Ballyclare Comrades U21s.

The young Seasiders face a venue that their senior counterparts visited in the Ballymena League/McReynolds Cup double-winning season of 2018/19, with Bangor playing Ballynure Old Boys in April and recording a 4-2 victory through finishes from Ben Arthurs, Scott McArthur, Ethan Boylan and Ben Roy en route to their title coronation.

A triumph will be the name of the game for David Downes' charges here, too, returning to action after last week's duel with Institute at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium was postponed due to the frosty weather conditions. The Yellows enter with a seven-point lead over Harland and Wolff Welders U21 in second-place and 38 points from a possible 42, bidding to do the double over a Comrades outfit they bested 4-0 at home in the second week of December.

You wouldn't expect any relenting from the side as Ballyclare play host at an alternative venue to Dixon Park, with works ongoing to instal an artificial pitch there. Bangor will hope to capitalise at their home away from home.

(Posted: Friday, 26th January 2024)

Bangor FC is pleased to confirm the signing of centre-back Callum Byers, who joins the club from fellow Playr-Fit Championship side Harland and Wolff Welders this January.

The 26-year-old, who also plied his trade for Ards and Dungannon Swifts, joins on the back of a successful two-and-a-half-year stint with the Welders and was a key player under Paul Kee having helped the east Belfast club to escape the relegation mire and surge within touching distance of reaching the top half of the table for the split last term.

Spending time in the Premiership with Dungannon, whom he served from 2019 to 2021, and Ards, where he wore the captain's armband in the top-flight as a youngster under Colin Nixon and Warren Feeney, injury hampered Dundonald man Byers' first half of the 2023/24 campaign with the Welders but he arrives as a player with noted experience at the top level of the game and ready to make an impact.

In total, he made over 60 league appearances with the Blanchflower Park club and links up with Lee Feeney's panel as Bangor's fifth capture of the winter transfer window.

Welcome to Bangor Callum!

(Posted: Thursday, 25th January 2024)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney reserved special praise for fresh-faced duo Howard Beverland and Tiarnan Mulvenna following the 3-0 victory over Dundela at Clandeboye Park on Friday night.

Centre-back Beverland (33), who arrived from Ballyclare Comrades, was hailed by the Seasiders supremo for his assertiveness on the pitch against the Duns, while former Glenavon midfielder Mulvenna (26) was influential behind the side settling down following a tricky opening to proceedings in this top-of-the-table Playr-Fit Championship blockbuster.

Former Premiership and Irish Cup winner Beverland is an experienced campaigner at the top level of the game, while Mulvenna was developing a fan favourite status at Mourneview Park before sealing his switch to the seaside, with both having a two-from-two win rate in their first couple of starts as Feeney opted for an unchanged team from the XI that prevailed 3-1 away to Newington.

The Kilkeel chief saluted their qualities to the heavens and added that their contributions will be pivotal behind the Yellows' growth in the next few months.

"Howard Beverland, he's not a player that seems to get mentioned much from he joined, but I thought he was colossal... organising, orchestrating, he's a player who's been a proven performer at the top level of the game and he's already made a big impact here. He's a big presence to have in defence who offers that experience and that composure, and he was a big reason why we settled down after that first 20 minutes.

"But Tiarnan Mulvenna... for me, he was at the absolute heart of it. He got his foot on the ball, he played the game at his pace, and for me, him as well, he was huge after that tricky opening in terms of us settling down and playing our football. He was picking out passes, he was playing with energy, closing people down, and that's the qualities you want to see in a player when they're coming in. He was working hard and he's the type of personality I like to have in my team who can impose themselves on a game and lift those around him; I've been very impressed the way he's come in.

"I think that's all part of it, they're players who will help us get better and make us better, and I felt they really did that here with how they got us back into our rhythm, as it could have turned into a hoof match in the middle of the pitch. Maybe they're playing with a bit of a point to prove as well, a chip on their shoulder and they want to show that to their previous clubs that they've got that quality and can make a big impression.

"But yeah, both on and off the pitch, they've settled in really quickly, they're big characters and they're putting in performances early doors. They've been a joy to work with and hopefully they continue to perform."

(Posted: Sunday, 21st January 2024)

Lee Feeney expressed pride at the response his Bangor players produced following a rocky opening to the game as they ran away 3-0 winners over Dundela in a top-of-the-table Playr-Fit Championship showdown. Goals from Lewis Francis, Scott McArthur and Adam Neale – all inside the final 10 minutes of the contest at Clandeboye Park – ensured Bangor were lit up by the Friday night lights once again and atoned for the 2-1 home reversal they suffered at the hands of the Duns back in August.

The Seasiders temporarily moved up to second-place after the full-time whistle, but Institute's 2-0 victory over Ballyclare Comrades that shot the north west outfit to the top of the table saw Bangor move back down to third. However, Feeney was beaming to see an active unbeaten streak for his side extended to 10 matches across all competitions, with this being their eighth win in the last nine since the end of November.

Revealing that he stressed to his players both before the match and at half-time that they mustn't let a drop in standards seep into their play, the Kilkeel supremo admitted he was left a tad frustrated after a first 20 minutes he felt the Duns held the upper hand in, but momentum built up afterwards that culminated in a thrilling climax which left him with a smile on his face.

"I was disappointed with the first 20 minutes," admitted the Bangor boss.

"I'd said to the players in the changing room that when we were going out there, we needed to stay composed, we needed to be calm, and I didn't feel we were doing that in the first 20 minutes, I thought they had the better of us at that point in the game. But we were better afterwards after we settled... I felt we dominated, we were building up our rhythm again, we were creating chances and getting the ball up the other way by the time we got to half-time.

"We were playing well when we got in but I still reminded them of that (the start to the game), and I told them to keep their levels up, and I'm hard on them at times because I don't want our standards to drop. I don't want lower standards to come into our play, and I said to Ben (Arthurs), 'you'd been caught offside three times when you didn't need to be offside'. I wanted them to be more ruthless.

"Ben then goes and he's ruled offside and he puts the ball in the net... I looked back at it on the video and he wasn't offside, and that frustrated me; it felt like everyone in the ground could see he was on but the lino's the one who doesn't and he raises his flag, and I was annoyed about that looking back. From there, you know, these are big decisions, and the game could potentially end 0-0 or we lose 1-0 and it has a big impact.

But credit to the players, they kept their composure, they continued to stay in control and then at the end of the game, they get the three goals that was enough to win the game, and I felt we'd maybe deserved that for the way we were building up to it."

Feeney also praised substitutes Adam Neale and Marty Bradley for their impact in the latter stages of the contest, saluting their work ethic and determination to move play forward after they were introduced in the second half. 30-year-old Neale, who entered the fray 21 minutes from time, was hailed by his manager for the effort he put in and lift he provided for his team-mates in his off-the-ball work, and the Ballynahinch sharp-shooter had debutant Bradley to thank as the former Ballymacash Rangers midfielder squared to provide Neale with the clinching third goal in added-time – his eighth of the season in all competitions.

"Adam brought real energy when he came on," Feeney continued. "He was hungry, he was chasing lost causes, he was turning bad balls into good balls that worked in our favour. When you see your frontman working like that, putting pressure on the opposition, it gives the whole team a lift.

"The timing he came on, it was 0-0 at the time and it probably was a turning point when he comes on because he's putting the hard work in, and I was pleased to see him mark it with a goal because he set us on our way with how he was impacting.

"And Marty Bradley as well, he got the assist for Adam and it was good to see him the ground running. He wasn't on the pitch long, but he gave us a bit of energy at that stage and it was a really good bit of play from him to win the ball and then set Adam up; the substitutes had a good impact and they're fired up and wanting to deliver.

"The whole game, we'd been building up the momentum up to the last 10 minutes when we got the goals, and we go and get two goals in two minutes that was the springboard and keeps us going strong."

(Posted: Sunday, 21st January 2024)

The Seasiders made in 9 games unbeaten and closed the gap on the leaders to 2 points with an impressive 3-0 win over Dundela at Clandeboye Park this evening.

Lewis Francis broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when he hooked in a loose ball from a corner kick on the right. Bangor's second came just two minutes later when Ben Arthurs crashed the ball against the Dundela crossbar and from the rebound Scott McArthur looped a header over Hunter and into the net.

Substitute Marty Bradley was only on the pitch a matter of minutes when he burst through on the left to set up Adam Neale who slotted in an injury time third.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, H.Beverland, R.Neale, L.Francis, D.Hume, T.Mulvenna, C.McDermott (M.Bradley), L.Harrison, B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(A.Neale). S.McArthur.
Subs: M.Orbinson, K.Devine, B.Walker, M.Halliday, D.O'Kane

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 27th January 2024 - DERGVIEW v BANGOR, Championship, Darragh Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Friday, 19th January 2024)

Bangor are in action this Friday night in a top-of-the-table blockbuster when they entertain Playr-Fit Championship leaders Dundela.

The third-placed Seasiders can close the gap to the pacesetters to just two points with success here – although having played a game more – and set the record straight after Stephen Gourley's men were victorious 2-1 at Clandeboye Park in the first meeting of the sides back in August.

That windy night saw Lee Rea hit a double for the Duns in the first half, with Ben Arthurs halving the arrears midway through the second period but not able to spark enough of a revival for the hosts to claim a share of the spoils. This is the second clash of the sides so far this term, with Bangor travelling to Wilgar Park on Tuesday, February 13 in a rescheduled showdown for a battle that will also have much riding on it.

Focusing on this duel, however, Lee Feeney's charges will look to extend their unbeaten run to 10 matches, having not previously tasted defeat since the middle of November, and rise to 44 points to draw level with Institute in the promotion play-off berth. Anticipated full home debuts for new arrivals Howard Beverland, Tiarnan Mulvenna, Conor McDermott and Marty Bradley also whet the appetite as the Seagulls eye an important three points in this encounter.

Match sponsor: Baillies Menswear

Ball sponsor: Anchor AirBnB


Bangor manager Lee Feeney believes the form and momentum his Seasiders have built up over the last two months is the perfect backdrop to their top-of-the-table tussle with Dundela in the Playr-Fit Championship on Friday night.

The Duns visit Clandeboye Park bidding to expand on the 46 points they have picked up so far, and a second away victory over the North Down men would lift them eight points clear of the Yellows with a game fewer played, but Feeney believes that for the east Belfast side's quality and experience, this clash is a chance for his charges to show they've learned a few lessons themselves.

"It's finely poised, we've looked at them closely and they've got a lot of quality all over the pitch and they're well-coached," the Bangor supremo said.

"They've got experienced players, they've got quality players and we're fully expecting them to take the game to us on the night.

"The first game, they were better than us and they deservedly picked up three points, but we've got momentum and it's good to go into a game like this with that good run of form.

"We're hoping to put things right that we didn't get right from the first game and get three more points to move up the table."

(Posted: Friday, 19th January 2024)

Ryan Arthur has completed a transfer to Ards.

The 28 year old leaves the Seasiders having picked up winners medals in the Ballymena League, Premier Intermediate League and Steel & Sons Cup.

We thank Ryan for his contribution to our success and wish him well.

(Posted: Thursday, 18th January 2024)

(Posted: Wednesday, 17th January 2024)

Bangor have confirmed their fourth arrival of the January transfer window in the form of midfielder Marty Bradley.

The 28-year-old, who plied his trade for Ballymacash Rangers in the first half of the 2023/24 season, links up with Championship experience from a stint with Portadown before Covid. He also represented Ballymena League outfit Belfast Celtic – although he didn't feature in either of the cup clashes against Bangor last campaign – as well as Amateur League big-hitters Immaculata, though he arrives on the back of 15 appearances under Lee Forsythe at The 'Cash.

Bradley played the full match in the Lisburn club's historic County Antrim Shield semi-final clash with Larne before Christmas and rises up a division into the Championship this winter with the Seasiders.

Playing under Matthew Tipton's tutelage with the Ports, where he counted the likes of Northern Ireland international striker Lee Bonis and MLS SuperDraft selection Ryan Carmichael among his team-mates, Bradley is a player with pedigree and experience across a number of levels of the pyramid and now is at Lee Feeney's disposal at Clandeboye Park.

Welcome to Bangor, Marty!

(Posted: Wednesday, 17th January 2024)

Seasiders manager Lee Feeney has thanked Bangor fans for their incredible support and loyalty this season.

Lee said: “The support from the Bangor fans this season has been superb, yet again. We have had a season with some ups and downs, but the constant has been the positive atmosphere created by our supporters at the matches.

“They never stop encouraging the players and getting behind the team, even when the going gets tough. With that in mind, and on behalf of the players and management team, I want to thank our fans for their outstanding support.”

Bangor play Dundela on Friday night at Clandeboye Park in a Player Fit Championship match, kick-off at 19:45.

Lee continued: “Our supporters are travelling in numbers across Northern Ireland to watch the team and, at times, we are outnumbering the home fans. Our crowds at home are growing week by week and we all really appreciate the support.

“I noticed that our group of young fans were at the Newington match, making lots of noise and creating a real buzz. They are doing a great job and I know they will continue to push the lads on throughout the remainder of the season.

“I’m positive that we will get another great turn out from Bangor fans on Friday night, under the lights versus Dundela. The support from our fans does make more of a difference than you’d think and we really do feed off their backing.”

(Posted: Wednesday, 17th January 2024)

We send our thoughts and prayers to Darren Gibbons following the passing of his mother, Helen.

Helen was a familiar face at Clandeboye Park, both supporting Darren and the Seasiders as well as having been part of our hospitality team.

Deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Helen at this sad time.

(Posted: Monday, 15th January 2024)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney had absolutely no doubts or concerns over handing three winter arrivals their full debuts in the Playr-Fit Championship clash with Newington at Inver Park – and how he reaped the rewards. One of them, right wing-back Conor McDermott, registered an assist within 180 seconds of kick-off when he teed up Scott McArthur to break the deadlock, while central midfielder Tiarnan Mulvenna – who featured alongside returning captain Lewis Harrison against his former club – and centre-back Howard Beverland both made positive impressions on their first starts for the Seasiders.

The boss declared that starting them was a sign of how his team are "never standing still" and keen to push on in the second-tier, and when a 3-1 victory courtesy of a McArthur brace and a Ben Arthurs header was signed and sealed to lift the Yellows above the 40-point marker, there was no wiping the smile off the Kilkeel man's face when he gave his post-match reaction to a ninth consecutive game undefeated. Citing their experience and quality at Premiership level, Feeney hailed the trio's decisive contributions and expressed his excitement about the role they could play with 15 league matches remaining.

"Starting each of the three new boys from the start, I think you saw there that we're ambitious, we're never standing still," explained the Bangor supremo.

"The three players coming in, all of them have Premiership experience and have proven their quality at the top level of the game. Howard won the Irish Cup and the league title with Crusaders, Conor was Coleraine's Player of the Season last year, and Tiarnan, he was a player we'd been tracking for months and he was a player the Glenavon fans spoke very highly of, he was very popular with them.

"So, I think with those three players, they add experience but they also add quality, and that's what we feel we could add to this team that can make it even better. We always want to push on. And you mentioned Conor... on Saturday, I think the thing that stood out to me most about his performance was that he was enjoying himself.

"And that's the main thing you want to see from a player when they're in their early days with a new club, that they are enjoying themselves on the pitch, and going in and making that instant impact with the assist after three minutes. But all three players I thought were super, and that can push our entire squad because we don't want to settle for what we have. We want to keep getting better and I believe the new players showed that on Saturday."

Feeney went on to salute his two goalscorers, firmly believing that, although they have 24 finishes between them across all competitions, there is still plenty of untapped potential within both players. McArthur, who completed a double on 58 minutes, sandwiched Arthurs' 17th strike of the season, and the 45-year-old Seagulls chief singled both out for praise both in the way they conduct themselves on and off the pitch.

"I think the key thing with Scotty is, we're playing to his strengths," Feeney raved.

"We're playing to what he's good at and he's been fantastic in that role. I can remember chatting with Scotty in the summer and we re-signed him for this season, and he was concerned about playing the No.10 role, whether it was maximising his potential because he'd wanted a run out on the wing. But I always believed in him that he could grow in that attacking midfield position, and I said to Scotty to believe in himself that he could do that, to have the confidence to run with the ball and drive at people, score goals and set up chances for others, and he's been brilliant particularly in front of goal during the past month or so.

"He's a player that can get the play moving and have a big impact and get us up the pitch when he has that drive to run with the ball, he's getting into good positions, and honestly, I believe there's still so much potential with him. What's untapped with him... honestly, it's scary. I think he's maybe only playing to 70 per cent of his potential, and he'll keep driving himself to be better and we'll keep driving him to be better. But he works so hard in training, he always gives it his best and he deserves every bit of success that comes his way.

"And Ben as well. I went to shake everyone's hands after the game, and I went over to Ben and he told me, 'I played crap today'.

"And he did to be fair, he had a poor game, and he'll be the first to tell you when he's had a poor game. But he has a poor game and he still scores one and sets up another... what does that tell you about him? He's another one with that mentality, who'll keep pushing himself to be better, and what he's been doing for the team has been a credit to himself. He's the same, there's a lot still to come from him, too."

(Posted: Sunday, 14th January 2024)

MORE DERBY DELIGHT FOR YOUNG SEASIDERS

Bangor Reserves started 2024 with a bang when they kept hold of the north Down bragging rights with victory over their Ards counterparts on Saturday morning.

The Seasiders counted on a goal in each half from Ruairi Wright and Mackenzie Gray to follow up on the win at Londonderry Park in November and retain their pacesetter status at the summit of the Championship/PIL Development League. Three points here lifts David Downes' charges up to 38 in total, 10 clear of Harland and Wolff Welders U21 in second-place.

Wright broke the deadlock 22 minutes in when he received the ball around 20 yards from goal, swivelling into his left foot and driving a low effort into the bottom right; the ball trickling past the Ards goalkeeper, who did get fingertips to the winger's attempt.

Centre-back Gray, who has overcame the injury issues that limited his involvement in the first half of the season, was on hand to start the new year afresh with his first goal of the campaign that ultimately rubber-stamped the result. He towered over his Ards opponent at the back stick and powered home a header from Charley Craig's 66th-minute free-kick delivery, with the side going on to record a clean sheet on their way to a further boost in their title charge.


Bangor Reserves goalscorer Ruairi Wright paid tribute to the colossal impact of defender Mackenzie Gray's return to the fold as the Seasiders capped off a second North Down Derby success of the season. The centre-back powered home a header in the second half to add to winger Wright's deadlock-breaker in the 22nd minute against Ards Reserves, keeping a clean sheet thereafter and sealing a 2-0 victory at Clandeboye Park in the side's first fixture of 2024 that ensures their title charge continues to tick over as planned.

"Well obviously, first goal's important; especially that early in the game, it sort of settled the lads," Wright explained.

"You know, we were far from our best, but it's a clean sheet and the three points and Mackenzie just sealed the game, so we can't complain with that. It's great to have him (Gray) back, the back-three whenever he's in there, just commanding it, organising it. We really missed him when he wasn't here but, you know, he's back and he's straight back to his best, so it's super."

Wright, who was named to his first senior matchday squad in Bangor's 2-2 home draw with Portadown in November, also pointed to the solid foundation the Seasiders are built upon with greater defensive solidity a target that was laid out before the start of the season. There is a variety of goalscorers within the fold, and there is confidence from inside the camp that this is serving them well in their continued push for Championship/PIL Development League glory.

"Obviously, you know, we're confident in ourselves when we're playing, we can get the goals," Wright added.

It's now, we've started focusing on the defensive side of things. If we can keep them out for as long as we can, even all game, then the goals will come and, whether it's from Charley (Craig), young Mitch (Watterson) or myself, and Jay (Boyd) and those around as well, the goals will come."

Discussing his own finish, Wright dissects: "Well, it came out to me, a couple (of Ards defenders) were in front of me, I just thought if I can shift it onto my left and just hit it anywhere towards the net, there's always that chance of it going in.

"It wasn't the best goal I've scored, but listen, they all count."

(Posted: Sunday, 14th January 2024)

GREAT SCOTT!

A goal in each half from Scott McArthur and a bullet header from Ben Arthurs secured a 3-1 win for Bangor over Newington at Inver Park this afternoon.

The Seasiders took the lead after just 3 minutes when new signing Conor McDermott raced down the right to pick out Scott McArthur for an easy chance to slot home the opener. Ben Arthurs power in a 23rd minute Reece Neale corner kick to give Bangor a two goal lead at the break.

Scott McArthur struck home a spectacular volley in the 58th minute before Francis Rice grabbed a 78th minute consolation goal for Newington.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, H.Beverland, R.Neale, D.Hume, L.Francis, C.McDermott(D.O'Kane), T.Mulvenna, L.Harrison(K.Devine), S.McArthur(B.Walker), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(J.Hughes).
Subs: M.Orbinson, R.Arthur

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 19th January 2024 - BANGOR v DUNDELA, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 13th January 2024)

After a run of five consecutive matches at Clandeboye Park during December and early January, Bangor are back on their travels this weekend when they head to face Newington at Inver Park.

The Seasiders make the trip in high spirits having progressed into the Sixth Round of the Irish Cup last week, with Jordan Hughes' double off the bench making all the difference as Lee Feeney's charges prevailed 3-1 over fellow Playr-Fit Championship outfit Dergview. That result, which set up a date with Portadown at Shamrock Park in the first week of February, extended Bangor's unbeaten run in all competitions to eight matches.

Indeed, that active streak started on the back of their last visit to Larne to take on The 'Ton who, courtesy of Neil Cummings and Zach Barr strikes in the second half, emerged with a 2-1 victory on November 11. Ben Arthurs bagged a late deficit-halver to set up a grandstand finish on that day, but it was not to spark a revival.

It also means both sides have a victory apiece in the two showdowns so far, with Tom Mathieson netting a late winner in the first meeting of the sides at Clandeboye in September. With 26-year-old pair Tiarnan Mulvenna and Conor McDermott also potentially in line for debuts, there is an added layer of intrigue as the Yellows bid to keep their impressive form ticking over.


Jordan Hughes has warned that Bangor can't afford to live off past results if the team intends to keep up an unbeaten run that has stretched for the last two months.

The Seasiders are bound for Inver Park this weekend where the last team to beat them, Newington, will be hungry to repeat the feat and halt the north Down club's impressive streak of eight games without defeat.

Goals from Zach Barr – who has since departed Paul Hamilton's panel for Portadown – and Neil Cummings proved decisive early in the second half for the Swans, with Ben Arthurs netting late to set up a nervy finale that ultimately didn't yield any points in a 2-1 defeat for Lee Feeney's panel. Bangor have hit their stride since, though, having risen to third-place in the Playr-Fit Championship standings and reaching the Irish Cup Sixth Round courtesy of last Saturday's 3-1 victory over Dergview at Clandeboye Park.

32-year-old Hughes was the hero against the Dergs, sprung from the bench and scoring twice to ensure Bangor's safe passage, and while happy to hit the goal trail once more, he swiftly guarded against complacency as the side targets a third win in succession.

"That's it, you've just got to keep the momentum going," says Hughes on this weekend's journey to Larne. Look, you could take things from previous games and use that as whatever you want but, you know, every game is different. We're playing three weeks apart against Dergview (a trip to Darragh Park beckons on January 27), they'll be two different games, so we don't want to rely too much on previous results but, as we've talked about, it's just that momentum.

"We're doing well, just keep ticking over, keep tallying the wins up and just see where we go."


Saturday, January 13 – Bangor vs Ards, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves kick off 2024 with a derby bonanza at Clandeboye Park, where a North Down Derby against Ards is on the agenda on Saturday morning.

David Downes' side, who ended last year with a 1-0 victory over Knockbreda that added further security to their place at the top of the Championship/PIL Development League table, are in action for the first time in three weeks as the players look to build on a start that has seen them pick up 35 points from the 39 on offer.

The Seasiders, who are unbeaten, clinched the bragging rights first time around when first-half goals from Ryan Arthur and Sonny Redford secured a 2-0 success at Londonderry Park in November. Derbies are one-off games, however, and Downes will encourage his charges to be firing on all cylinders when they go into battle this weekend.

With the league run-in being the point of focus, every point is expected to be crucial as the chasing pack aim to make up ground and pounce on any signs of weakness, but the players will be confident of delivering on a big stage here.

(Posted: Friday, 12th January 2024)

Our postponed Championship fixture with Dundela at Wilgar Park has been scheduled for Tuesday 13th February, 7.45pm.

(Posted: Wednesday, 10th January 2024)

The Seasiders have been drawn away to Portadown in the 6th Round of the Clearer Water Irish Cup. The tie will be played on Saturday, 3rd February at Shamrock Park.

(Posted: Saturday, 6th January 2024)

Bangor wrapped up a second successive Sixth Round date in the Irish Cup after dealing with the challenge posed by Dergview at Clandeboye Park in the club's first outing of the new year.

Sealing a clash with another Playr-Fit Championship rival in Portadown following the 3-1 victory over the Dergs, a day which also saw a debut from the bench for January arrival Howard Beverland, Lee Feeney will be optimistic of rekindling old memories in the illustrious competition with a realistic shot at a quarter-final berth when the side visits Shamrock Park at the start of February.

The Seasiders were made to work for this win, as a Niall McGinley penalty that he firstly won and then converted himself on 35 minutes made sure Emmet Friars' panel entered the break level following Ben Arthurs' crisp curling opener within the opening quarter-hour of the contest.

It was the introduction of Jordan Hughes that turned the tie on his head. He hadn't scored all season prior to this encounter but his impact was instant after he replaced Adam Neale midway through the second half, scoring with his very first touch of the ball after heading in Reece Neale's enticing delivery.

The 32-year-old marksman wasn't done there, though, as nine minutes from time, he latched onto Arthurs' pull-back and, via a deflection, converted beyond Dergview stopper Shane O'Gara to secure Bangor's passage to the last-16.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, B.Walker(H.Beverland), D.Hume, L.Francis, D.O'Kane(G.Beattie), K.Devine, S.McArthur, A.Neale(J.Hughes), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(R.Arthur).
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Halliday, S.Millar


I'M SO PROUD TO MAKE MARK IN WINNING DISPLAY FOR BANGOR: JORDAN HUGHES

Jordan Hughes took a selfless approach to post-match interview duties and revealed he took most pride in contributing to Bangor's successful progression into the Sixth Round of the Irish Cup at the weekend. The striker, whose first two goals of the season on Saturday helped restore the Seasiders' advantage against Dergview and ultimately inspired the side to a solid 3-1 victory at Clandeboye Park, was sprung from the bench and repaid Lee Feeney's faith in the best possible way.

When introduced for Adam Neale on 67 minutes, the score was level at one apiece with Ben Arthurs' inch-perfect curled finish having been cancelled out by a Niall McGinley penalty for the visitors before half-time, but Hughes wasted no time in making an impact – literally, as within seconds of being brought into the fray, he headed in a Reece Neale set-piece delivery with his very first touch. The 32-year-old doubled up 13 minutes later after an Arthurs pull-back teed up the shot, and via a deflection, Hughes celebrated his second goal of the game that rubber-stamped Bangor's place in the Round of 16, where fellow Playr-Fit Championship outfit Portadown lie in wait. The marksman admitted advancing to the next stage of a historic competition was a major positive.

"Absolutely," Hughes says of the importance of progressing to the next round. "Listen, obviously league form is your bread and butter, but if you can get a cup run, it's always nice. But, I can't complain with the way we've been going of late, you just want to keep the momentum going no matter what the competition is. So, it was obviously important to keep the run going, keep the momentum high and we're glad to be through."

Former Dundela ace Hughes brought his overall goal tally to nine since joining Bangor in January 2022, and he will soon face his former boss at the Duns, Niall Currie, come the first week of February when that showdown with the Ports takes place at Shamrock Park. Being an all-round package as a member of the frontline is something he takes huge pride in, and finding the net is something he takes confidence from while also praising the quality of service around him.

"Yes, I mean, look, it's always nice to contribute to the win, the win's the most important, but it's always nice as a forward to contribute with your goals and stuff," Hughes continued. "Obviously, scoring with your first touch is maybe a bit more unusual! But, again, brilliant delivery by Reece... I hardly had to move, really; I just had to apply the touch and that was it, really. So, really glad. I got a bit of luck with the deflection on the other one, but I'll claim it was going in anyway!" he laughs.

It's been a busy start to the January window on the Clandeboye Road and one of the three new arrivals so far, experienced defender Howard Beverland, debuted as a late sub against Emmet Friars' Dergs. The 33-year-old centre-back has been joined by right-back Conor McDermott and midfielder Tiarnan Mulvenna (both 26), and Hughes feels that the new additions will add competition to an already strong panel as well as challenging himself to continue to improve.

"That's it," Hughes adds on getting off the mark for the season before saying of the strength in depth: "Absolutely, there's loads of competition for places, it's a really strong squad that's just got stronger with January there.

"We're looking good, it's a strong squad but there's lots of competition, but it's a great achievement to be in (third-place in the league). Everyone wants what's best for the team and stuff and, you know, I'm just glad to contribute today as I said."

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 13th January 2024 - NEWINGTON v BANGOR, Championship, Inver Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 6th January 2024)

Bangor FC is pleased to confirm the arrival of midfielder Tiarnan Mulvenna to Clandeboye Park as the club's third signing of the winter window.

Mulvenna (26), who joins from Glenavon where he had spent six months in the Premiership having previously featured for Mid-Ulster League outfit Crewe United, enjoyed a brief stint on the seaside under Hugh Sinclair in January 2020 but re-signs at Clandeboye Park four years later on an 18-month contract.

Also counting St Patrick's Young Men, Newington and 1st Bangor among his former employers, Mulvenna, who was signed by Gary Hamilton at Glenavon but continued to feature under Stephen McDonnell at Mourneview Park, is predominantly a central midfielder, but the Belfast man can also be deployed in wider areas where required and will aim to make his mark under Lee Feeney in the yellow and blue shirt.

Making 20 top-flight appearances and registering a couple of assists in the BetMcLean Cup this term, and possessing experience at the highest level of the domestic game as Conor McDermott and Howard Beverland also have, Mulvenna is a highly regarded player who will also look to make a swift impact when he takes the field.

Welcome to Bangor Tiarnan!

(Posted: Friday, 5th January 2024)

Bangor turn attentions to the Irish Cup for the first time this season as Dergview visit Clandeboye Park in the competition's Fifth Round this weekend.

In the draw, the Seasiders were paired with their league mates from Castlederg, who make the long journey east from Co Tyrone for the second time in as many weeks following a 3-0 Playr-Fit Championship victory for Lee Feeney's charges on the 23rd December.

Second-half strikes by Ben Arthurs, Lewis Francis and Michael Halliday secured victory on that day, with those in yellow and blue entering on the back of an active seven-game unbeaten run stretching back to the end of November and a 4-0 away success over Annagh United. At the start of the transfer window, there has already been some activity, with Conor McDermott (Coleraine) and Howard Beverland (Ballyclare Comrades) linking up as midfielder Jack Henderson (Portadown) and defenders Sean Brown and Ali Omar (both Larne) have exited the club.

McDermott is cup-tied and therefore ineligible having already represented Lisburn Distillery in the competition, however Beverland could make his Bangor debut in this weekend's encounter. The collective aim, though, is to repeat last year's feat and reach the Sixth Round of the tournament, which will inspire belief going into the league where Emmet Friars' Dergs are also close on the horizon.


Bangor defender David Hume admits spirits are positive across the board as the Seasiders bid to make more famous memories in the Irish Cup.

The Seasiders progressed to the Fifth Round via the preliminaries in each of the three preceding seasons, but as a senior-status club, they have been dropped right in and will face fellow second-tier outfit Dergview in the pursuit of progress in one of world football's oldest cup competitions.

Stacked with history dating back well over 140 years, the prestige of the Irish Cup is huge for teams all across the Irish League and below, and with Lee Feeney's men having advanced beyond Mid-Ulster side Tandragee Rovers this time last year to set up a Friday night televised bonanza with Crusaders in the last-16, the ambition to go on a run in the tournament has never been higher on the Clandeboye Road.

Hume, speaking after last weekend's comeback 2-1 victory over Annagh United that extended the club's unbeaten run to seven ahead of facing Emmet Friars' Dergs this Saturday (3pm), revealed that the players are all charged up and ready to go on another cup surge.

"Yeah, it's been going well, it's good to start the new year with the Irish Cup," Hume says of the recent unbeaten run that saw Bangor enter 2024 third-placed in the Playr-Fit Championship.

"You want to get a wee run in there, don't you? So, we pick up a win there, and I think, thankfully it's at home, we don't have to travel all the way down there, but yeah, I think the mentality, everything at the club's good, everyone's positive.

"It feels like there's no one really in our league who we're afraid of, like we're competing against everyone, so I think even when it's in the Irish Cup, I think we're confident we're going in strong against Dergview.

"Pick up a win and pick up a wee cup run as well, and then if we win, we'll see who we get in the next round after that."

(Posted: Friday, 5th January 2024)

Bangor FC can confirm that defenders Sean Brown and Ali Omar have returned to Larne following their loan spells in the first half of the 2023/24 campaign.

Northern Ireland Under-19 international Brown was a mainstay in the right-sided centre-back berth for the Seasiders this term, playing in 22 matches and starting 21 with the full amount of minutes being played in every single one of those starts. He registered one goal and two assists in that time, with the 18-year-old singling himself out as a consistent and high-level performer in his first half-season of regular senior football.

Fellow defender Omar (24), who featured on four occasions in yellow and blue, arrived on an initial loan until January and has returned to Inver Park upon the conclusion of that agreement. The England-born centre-back, who made three starts, made his debut in the 5-1 away success against Knockbreda in mid-October – Brown scored in that game – before featuring in successive fixtures against Institute, Ballinamallard United and H&W Welders.

Chairman Graham Bailie commented: "Thank you to both lads for their time at the club, your attitude, commitment and quality has been outstanding. We wish you every success with the fantastic career you have ahead of you.

"We also would like to thank Larne FC for their continued cooperation and trust with their players."

Brown and Omar depart with the best wishes of Bangor FC for their future endeavours and we thank them for their contributions at Clandeboye Park this term.

(Posted: Thursday, 4th January 2024)

We are delighted to welcome defenders Conor McDermott and Howard Beverland to Clandeboye Park.

Bangor FC is pleased to confirm the signing of defender Conor McDermott on loan from Coleraine for the rest of the 2023/24 season.

The 26-year-old, whose forays from right-back earned him the Bannsiders' Player of the Year award last year, links up at Clandeboye Park having spent the first half of the campaign at Premier Intermediate League outfit Lisburn Distillery. A dependable player who started the BetMcLean Cup Final in front of over 11,000 spectators last term, McDermott joins as someone with extensive Premiership pedigree.

Also representing Cliftonville prior to joining Coleraine in 2022, the Derryman made 42 appearances with the Warden Street club across all competitions in 2022/23, scoring once, before heading out on loan to Distillery ahead of the current campaign where he had made eight appearances in the PIL.

Highly-rated McDermott first rose through the ranks at Derry City, where he won the League Cup in 2018.


Bangor FC is pleased to confirm the arrival of experienced Irish League centre-back Howard Beverland, the club's second signing of the January window.

Beverland, who follows right-back Conor McDermott through the entrance door at Clandeboye Park, links up with manager Lee Feeney's Seasider squad having made over 500 appearances throughout a distinguished career that includes a Premiership winners' medal with Crusaders.

The 33-year-old, originally from Ballymoney, graduated through the ranks at Coleraine before linking up with Stephen Baxter at Seaview where he won the title in 2018 as well as the Irish Cup, thereafter representing Portadown and Ballyclare Comrades in both the Premiership and Championship before making the move to north Down from the latter midway through the 2023/24 term.

He played seven times in the Playr-Fit Championship for Ballyclare this term and featured from the start for Stephen Small's men when the Seasiders emerged 4-2 victors in the County Antrim Shield last-16 back in September.

Welcome to Bangor Conor and Howard!

(Posted: Wednesday, 3rd January 2024)

Midfielder Jack Henderson has left the Seasiders to join Portadown.

We thank the 23 year old for his efforts during his second spell at Clandeboye Park.

(Posted: Monday, 1st January 2024)

Experienced defender David Hume admits it was a monkey off the collective Bangor back after the hosts held their nerve to record a hard-fought 2-1 win over Annagh United at Clandeboye Park on Saturday. The Seasiders fought from behind on the final matchday of 2023 to earn three more precious points for the Playr-Fit Championship kitty, leaving them on 38 points after 22 games and third-placed in the standings.

Lee Feeney's men were disappointed to let slip a two-goal advantage against Ards on Boxing Day, ultimately settling for a share of the derby spoils and a 2-2 draw, but supporters were heartened as the Yellows stayed firm to assure all three points for themselves and an extension of their unbeaten run in the second-flight to seven matches. That includes five victories in the last six, the North Down Derby stalemate being the sole exception.

Lewis Francis' brace meant the tide had been turned by half-time after Ruairi McDonald's 13th-minute deadlock-breaker for Annagh, ramming home six minutes after the Portadown side had found the net before heading in Reece Neale's right-sided corner on 41 minutes. It was a lead Bangor would see until the end and, while a bitter taste is still left from Boxing Day, Hume was proud to make amends.

"Absolutely," the Ballygowan man explained. "I think we'd said earlier this week, we said we'd three games, we'd try and get three wins.

"So, I think against Dergview (a 3-0 victory on the 23rd December) and today, they were good wins, and then we were saying in the changing room there, the Ards one from the other day is still annoying us, especially with where we're sitting in the league. I think we pick up those extra two points (from the Ards clash), and even against Portadown (a 2-2 draw at Clandeboye Park in which Bangor ceded a two-goal lead late on), it was a couple of points there we dropped with the draw, I think we're sitting second if we see those out. So, I think that's a bit frustrating, but it shows where we are in this league, our first year in it and we're annoyed at that. But it's good to win today, it puts us into third at the end of the year, which is a good kickstart going into 2024."

Hume, who is one of the longest-serving players in yellow and blue having joined from Tullycarnet back in the summer of 2020, knew Ciaran McGurgan's Annagh would apply the pressure following the restart and couldn't hide his satisfaction at Bangor's ability to "weather the storm". And after Callum Dougan and Ross Hunter hit the mark in the second half for Ards with Scott McArthur and Ben Arthurs having put the Seasiders into a commanding position on Boxing Day, he was pleased to put right mistakes that had been made.

Hume added: "Yeah, obviously they were going to come out and go for it a bit more, and a bit more direct. You want to win four, five, you want to win more, but it's about weathering the storms and it's putting right what we didn't do the other night. We held out, and sometimes you need to do that I think with teams this year, you've got to grind out wins, defend your box and, you know, hold onto that. I think when they push, you have to weather the storm a bit, and I thought we did that well today."

A big reason why Bangor preserved the lead was thanks to Hume's goalline heroics 68 minutes deep into proceedings. After Stephen Murray had lofted a shot goalwards with shot-stopper James Taylor off his line, the 32-year-old former Tullycarnet ace's defensive instinct kicked in and he headed clear right as the ball was about to trickle in. A nervy moment at the time, it was one Hume could look back on with a smile.

"You know what, I was saying in the changing room there to big James, see because it (the ball) was hanging in the air too long, I was nearly overthinking it!" the popular centre-back laughed. I think big James was sweating because he thought, 'how'd you manage to head it over the bar'! I was just glad to not stick it in the net!"

It was a show of never-say-die spirit that has been documented from within the squad, and Hume saluted the mentality to fight back after going behind.

He continued: "We'd said, Lee had said before the game, their threat is long balls, corners, free-kicks, throw-ins, so not to give them away, and I think their goal came from a free-kick, headed back across and their boy had three of our lads around him in the box, but he got the header.

"I think that was frustrating, but the mentality of our team, we know that if we can get a goal, get back into the game, we can kick on from there. I felt that, when big Lewis made it one each, you felt like the momentum swung our way. We were playing great football in the first half, getting the ball down, playing it about... I think we'd a ton of corners, we probably needed to score another one then, and I always felt, this team creates chances, we'll get back into this game. I think our problem is, and it's something we said in the changing room there, we don't score enough. We get to 2-1 and we just hold it out, but after that, I think we need to try and make it 3-1, 4-1, put the game to bed, so I think that's probably something we need to really kick on with in the new year.

"When we get a good advantage, we don't just have to grind it out like we did in the second half today, but actually go out, make it three, four, five and punish teams, get the goals up because we're doing well defensively but I think we can score more."

(Posted: Sunday, 31st December 2023)

Bangor capped off 2023 on a winning note after securing a nervy, end-to-end 2-1 victory over Annagh United at a blustery Clandeboye Park on Saturday.

Annagh surged into the lead on 13 minutes when Ruairi McDonald capitalised on a bouncing ball in the penalty area, slotting underneath James Taylor to hand the visitors the advantage early on, but Lewis Francis was on hand to level it with his third goal in his last five matches.

The Magherafelt centre-back rifled home from Reece Neale’s initial long throw-in and blasted home at opposition goalkeeper Jason Craughwell’s near post with the Seasiders being behind for only six minutes, and they led through the Dungannon Swifts loanee’s sixth finish of the campaign four minutes before half-time as he powered home a header from Reece Neale’s inswinging delivery on the right.

Chances for Reece Neale and Ben Arthurs before the hour ensured that Bangor started the second period on the front foot, while a Scott McCullough attempt that fizzed off the ground called James Taylor into action. Craig Taylor struck the Bangor stopper’s upright before David Hume spectacularly cleared off the line from Stephen Murray’s attempt, with Annagh finding their groove and making it a battle following the interval.

Taylor and Murray were also causing trouble as Annagh shifted through the gears in the latter stages of the contest, with James Taylor making a pair of fine stops to deny them. Reece Neale tested Craughwell in what was a rare alleviation of Annagh pressure on 86 minutes, while Jack Henderson also arrowed past the post two minutes later, but there were sighs of relief when the final whistle blew and the points were confirmed as all Bangor’s.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, D.Hume, L.Francis, S.Brown, R.Neale, L.Harrison(K.Devine, 48’), J.Henderson, T.Mathieson, S.McArthur(M.Halliday, 81’), B.Arthurs, A.Neale(Walker, 71’).
Subs: M.Orbinson, G.Beattie, R.Arthur, D.O’Kane.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY


Bangor's two-goal hero Lewis Francis lauded how the clinical edge that was somewhat lacking in the Boxing Day draw with Ards had reverted to type to secure a hard-fought victory in the Seasiders' last match of 2023. The centre-back scored a couple of goals in the first half to overturn an early deficit against Annagh United, powering home on 19 minutes after the visitors had taken the lead through Ruairi McDonald six minutes earlier prior to heading in Reece Neale's delicious corner just before half-time to give the hosts the advantage for the first time in the contest.

The Yellows would not relinquish that for the rest of the encounter, but they had to weather a storm to maintain it. Despite Annagh piling on the pressure in the second period, with Craig Taylor striking the upright, Conall Young spurning a presentable opportunity from close range and Stephen Murray's looping shot being cleared off the line by the backtracking David Hume, Ciaran McGurgan's men would leave empty-handed and counterpart Lee Feeney celebrated a return to winning ways following a 2-1 success.

Magherafelt teenager Francis, who ends a December punctuated by four of his six total strikes that has him behind only Ben Arthurs and Adam Neale in the scoring charts, was delighted to come out the right side of this pulsating duel.

He reflected: "Well, against Ards, we lacked that desire in both boxes in the second half, and (Lee Feeney and the coaches) kind of emphasised to us before the game, we have to be more clinical in both boxes.

"We didn't get off to the best start today but I thought after that, we defended our box really well, especially the second half, and then today, we attacked both boxes rightly. I got on the end of two (in the opposition box) so, yeah, all good."

The Dungannon Swifts loanee, who started the last month of the year with a 93rd-minute winner in the 3-2 triumph away to Ballyclare Comrades that came after Bangor had fallen to a 2-1 deficit with less than a quarter-hour of the match remaining, believes the spirit shown since that rousing fightback at Dixon Park has underpinned the impressive form those in yellow and blue have displayed since then.

"I think before Ballyclare, we hadn't came back in a game and won, so I think that was a big turning point for us, and then you look at the form we've hit since Ballyclare, we're the most in-form team in the league and, you know, Tuesday (against Ards) was disappointing, it felt like two points dropped, but you've got to look at it as a point. We're still undefeated, we take it one game at a time and not get too ahead of ourselves."

Three wins out of three against Annagh with nine goals scored in that span marks an impressive return against the previous campaign's promotion play-off representatives, with third-placed Bangor now just a couple of points away from that position in the table themselves.

The players are next in action in the Irish Cup Fifth Round and face Dergview at home, who Francis found the net against seven days prior when the Seagulls despatched the Tyrone men 3-0 at Clandeboye Park. The defender feels progress in tournaments such as these is important going forward. "Everyone wants to go on a wee cup run, so we feel we've got a winnable tie here as well, so we'll not look past Dergview and hopefully we'll do enough to get to the next round."

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 6th January 2024, BANGOR v DERGVIEW, Clandeboye Park, Irish Cup, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 30th December 2023)

BANGOR VS ANNAGH UNITED: SEASIDERS BID TO CLOSE 2023 OUT WITH A BANG

Bangor close out 2023 with a home clash versus Annagh United that presents Lee Feeney's side with the opportunity to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.

A streak of four successive wins – including a clinical 4-0 success against this opposition at the BMG Arena in November, in which Adam Neale bagged a hat-trick on his 50th appearance for the club – was sandwiched between two 2-2 draws with Portadown and Ards, the latter of which being a fixture that left Feeney disappointed given the Seasiders ceded a two-goal lead late on.

His team will bid to make amends against Ciaran McGurgan's side on Saturday, who they also despatched 3-1 at Clandeboye Park in October, and restore the winning fortunes that have inspired belief among supporters throughout the season.

Ben Arthurs, who scored in a seventh consecutive outing in the North Down Derby, is in red-hot form, as is fellow Boxing Day goalscorer Scott McArthur having hit three goals in December prior to this encounter. What the manager's priority will be, though, is three points any which way, and he will have his panel fine-tuned to do just that in front of the fans here.

(Posted: Saturday, 30th December 2023)

Bangor’s first piece of Steel and Sons Cup glory and, in turn, first-ever piece of major silverware was secured 100 years ago today (28th December). It took a second outing to determine proceedings, with the first fixture at Glentoran’s The Oval ending even-termed at 1-1, but on the replay, the joy fell the Seasiders' way.

It was the second successive showpiece the club, by this point merely five years old, had reached in consecutive years. A third-replay defeat to Crusaders in 1922 set the backdrop for this edition.

Almost 10,000 spectators turned up to the historic venue for the first bout in east Belfast, with a gate of over £600 secured as Woodburn’s Curran delivered a leveller seven minutes from the end of the match. In an era pre-dating extra time and penalty shootouts, the all-too-natural solution of that period was simply to take things to a second match.

Brett had put the Yellows – wearing amber and black, given both teams usually donned blue home strips – ahead just before the hour in the initial clash, and Bangor again seized advantage in the replay through Mahood.

But the second goal stands as one of the strangest that the club has scored in their history.

In the 83rd minute of the match, the ball was kicked out of play for a Bangor corner – or at least it should have been, because the referee had never actually seen the ball cross the line.

Rather, the man in the middle, going by Mr T. Liggett, ruled that it was still in play, and unbeknownst to the Woodburn shot-stopper who was in fact preparing for a goal kick, Bingham nicked it and tapped into an untended net for a legal goal. Were it to be seen in this day and age, it would be deemed a conspiracy!

Nevertheless, however they come, it put the seal on a 2-0 victory and crowned Bangor as Steel champions for the first time.

(Posted: Thursday, 28th December 2023)

Lee Feeney cut a dejected figure following the final whistle of the first festive North Down Derby in eight years.

The Bangor manager was speaking after a 2-2 draw with Ards, as the nominal visitors ceded a two-goal lead established in the first half and had to settle for a share of the spoils following this Boxing Day bonanza.

Scott McArthur broke the deadlock just 11 minutes into proceedings before Ben Arthurs doubled the advantage six minutes later, and when Callum Dougan's penalty was parried away by James Taylor following a foul on Ards' marauding midfielder Ethan Taggart 10 minutes from the interval, the Seasiders were in great stead going into the second half.

Ards fought back, though, and Dougan was much more clinical on 71 minutes to reduce the arrears with a well-taken volley before fellow striker Ross Hunter bagged a second that put the match back to the level pegging it would remain on until referee Mark Dillon's final whistle. Yellows chief Feeney spoke post-match of an encounter that had got away from his battling squad.

"That's football," the 45-year-old explained ruefully after the game. "The first 30 minutes, I thought we were superb, we were energetic; we went into a two-goal lead and were executing the game-plan really well.

"From there, we're two goals up, and the third goal in the game is always going to be important, it's a goal that has the potential to swing the tie if Ards get it, and James Taylor makes a great save from the penalty and makes a few other great saves that kept us with that lead at half-time.

"We come out, it's a physical start to the second half and then we come out and start creating chances again, but we weren't taking them when we really needed to as a third goal for us really would have made it safe as a contest. Ards got the goal and the game starts to open up again, they get another goal on the back of that, and we still had chances but we weren't able to find that third goal and we're sat here with a draw.

"To be honest, if we had one shot and scored and played poorly and they had 20 shots and scored none, I'd have taken that more than I would us drawing 2-2 after having loads of chances and playing well and them having a couple and scoring them. That's tough to take from that point of view. But, that's football, it's hard sometimes, and we have to accept that."

Feeney added that Ards' two goalscorers were pinpointed prior to kick-off and, while acknowledging their quality, admitted that he was disappointed they were able to find room in the penalty area and lamented that his team "were poor in both boxes" during the second period.

"The striker, Dougan, we spoke about him beforehand," the Kilkeel supremo elaborated. "That's now him up to 11 goals for the season, he's been an important player for Ards, and it was a really good finish that brought them back into the game.

"But I was disappointed that we left him open. He was in a position where he was free in the box, we switched off for a second and he punished us. He's a player who's got a lot of quality in and around the box, and he was left with time and space and was able to make the most of it.

"From there, they went on and they got a second and, again, I thought it was a poor goal to give away. We're talking at the end of the game, in the second half, Dougan and Hunter... Dougan's maybe only had one shot, Hunter's maybe only had one shot, but they've come away with goals, whereas we had five, six, seven chances at the other end that we didn't take and we could've had four, five goals but we didn't.

"We know what this league's about, we know about the fine margins, and it was another case today... it was like Ballyclare on the opening day, for example (a 3-2 defeat), where we played really well but didn't convert chances and probably didn't get the reward we deserved.

"I thought we played a really good game, the players played well and they're hurting in there, they're really disappointed. But I have full faith, with the way we've been playing recently, that we can get back to winning ways against Annagh."

(Posted: Thursday, 28th December 2023)

It was honours even in the North Down derby at Clandeboye Park this afternoon.

Bangor raced into a two goal lead before half time with goals from Scott McArthur and Ben Arthurs, but a late fight back saw Ards level it with goals from Callum Dougan in the 71st and Ross Hunter in the 80th minute.

Ben Walker curled a shot against the upright and Michael Halliday flashed a diving header just wide in the closing stages.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, B.Walker, L.Francis, D.Hume, S.Brown, J.Henderson, L.Harrison, A.Neale(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs, S.McArthur(D.O'Kane)(J.Hughes)
Subs: M.Orbinson, G.Beattie, R.Arthur, K.Devine.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 30th December 2023 - BANGOR v ANNAGH UNITED, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Tuesday, 26th December 2023)


ARDS VS BANGOR: SEASIDERS BID TO RETAIN BRAGGING RIGHTS AFTER BOXING DAY DERBY

Tuesday, December 26 – Ards vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3pm kick-off

Bangor are in Boxing Day action and will be plentiful in attendance and voice as they face bitter rivals Ards for the second time in the Playr-Fit Championship campaign.

In this clash of eternal rivals, the Seasiders will have their sights on a second derby success of the season following the triumph over Matthew Tipton's men back in August, with Adam Neale slotting home the only goal of the game on that occasion.

Lee Feeney's men enter this clash of forces on the back of a 3-0 victory over Dergview, a fourth consecutive victory during which the opposition net has bustled no fewer than 14 times inclusive of prior encounters with Annagh United (4-0), Ballyclare Comrades (3-2) and Knockbreda (4-1), and will be hopeful of gaining the upper hand once again after clinching fourth spot for Christmas Day.

But the players will demand the best of themselves knowing that an Ards panel, who by contrast are on a five-game winless streak and will have both Tipton and classy winger Eamon Scannell suspended following red cards in their last-gasp 3-2 defeat to Institute last time out, will have the fire in their hearts to put right their recent downbeat form.

Remember, with Bangor listed as nominal visitors for this match, season tickets are not valid for this encounter.


BEN ARTHURS FULL OF BELIEF THAT BANGOR BRIGHT SPELL CAN LAST FOR LONG

Bangor marksman Ben Arthurs homed in once again as his deadlock-breaker against Dergview marked a sixth consecutive goalscoring game, the longest stretch of matches he has scored in for over four and a half years.

The man from the Peninsula netted two minutes after the restart to set the second half on the front foot from a Seasider persuasion, with a dour first period followed by a burst which the 25-year-old commenced when he turned Jack Henderson's initial distance drive into the top right corner. 'Big Ben' may have finished in slightly impromptu fashion but that did not matter as the Seagulls' goalscorer supreme this term bolstered his tally and set his side on the path to a 3-0 victory over their Co Tyrone opponents.

Manager Lee Feeney was left well impressed come the conclusion, with four wins on the spin and 14 goals scored in total since a 4-0 success away to Annagh United put the North Down pride in the right direction following a five-game winless run. Arthurs, again, was all too happy to produce the goods.

Elaborating on his finish, the frontman who first joined Bangor in 2018 reflected: "It sort of helped that Hendy scuffed it to me, but yeah, just tried to use the pace of the ball and just place it into the far corner.

"I maybe didn't expect it to go right in the far corner, but yeah, I'm looking forward to watching it back, it was a good one.

"I sort of needed it because I didn't think I was playing too well but yeah, as I say, I think was what was sort of needed to kickstart the game."

Bangor's impressive form has seen them pick up 12 points out of the last 12 on offer, with a fourth win on the spin against Emmet Friars' panel shooting the Clandeboye clan firmly into the upper echelons of the Championship table after a dry run of just two points in 15.

Arthurs, always one to strive for continual improvement in himself and his team-mates, explained that this run of home matches was a prime opportunity to set the record straight and is fully confident such three-point hauls will continue into 2024.

"Happy days," he says of the current winning run. "We know we have it in us, and we had a bad run where we had five games without a win, and that's probably why we're not as far up the league as we want to be.

"We sort of targeted these fixtures and sort of thought, we'd a lot of home games and stuff and we felt we could really kick on, but yeah, there's no reason why we can't continue our form on through to January and finish the season strong."

On Boxing Day, memories of watching his older sibling, respected goal-getter and former Ards fan favourite Ross Arthurs, immediately spring to mind for Ben ahead of a derby that will once again feature a member of the fine Kircubbin sporting family. The striker with 120 goals in yellow and blue, who adds that he intends to 'take it easy' over the Christmas period ahead of a busy forthcoming schedule, reminisces: "It's my first one (playing on Boxing Day), I used to come and watch the brother whenever he was on the other side, playing for Ards, when it would've been maybe 10 years ago.

"So, I know sort of what the day's like, I know the sort of crowd it brings. Ever since I've come to Bangor, I've been looking forward to getting back to these moments, it's sort of the game you want to be playing in and I think the boys are excited for it.

"We've a couple of days to get ourselves right and behave ourselves over Christmas and we're looking forward to seeing how many turn up and sort of the atmosphere of the game. Obviously, we're playing local rivals, so they're the games you want to play in."


BANGOR RESERVES 1-0 KNOCKBREDA RESERVES: CRAIG ENDS YEAR ON A HIGH FOR YOUNG GUNS

Bangor Reserves signed off for 2023 in the best way possible, with three points gift-wrapped the way of the hosts thanks to a Christmas cracker of a finish from Charley Craig that proved enough to sink Knockbreda Reserves at Clandeboye Park.

The young striker has been in hot form throughout the campaign and was 'Breda's tormentor-in-chief here, hitting a fine strike that bagged an 11th victory in 13 matches for David Downes and his charges.

It also sees the side rise to 35 points, with a 10-point difference – caveated by games in hand for Dundela and H&W Welders directly below – from the chasing pack as the Championship/PIL Development League title challenge continues to tick over nicely.

This 1-0 success against their adversaries from the Castlereagh Hills was hard-fought, but as is often the case at this time of year, victories can come in all shapes and sizes but all have that same precious three-point reward in the end. Bangor's form, therefore, is strong going into 2024, with their first match of the new year being a North Down Derby against Ards at Clandeboye Park. Kick-off in that match is at 11am.

SAM MILLAR: WE SECURED THE THREE POINTS WHEN IT MATTERED AGAINST KNOCKBREDA

Left-back Sam Millar admitted the outcome was the most important aspect of Bangor Reserves' clash with Knockbreda Reserves on Saturday, with three precious points recorded thanks to a solitary goal by Charley Craig before half-time.

The defender admitted that, while it wasn't the Seasiders' sharpest outing in the final third, keeping a clean sheet was satisfying as it was important and it helped inspire the team to a victory that keeps David Downes' troops sitting pretty at the summit.

Millar reflected: "We weren't at our most clinical in the final third, but we were able to put it in the net once and keep the clean sheet and that was enough to win the game.

"At this stage of the season, it's all about getting three points on the board, it's tough conditions to play in and teams are going to be sitting in and soaking up pressure.

"We're going into the new year and top of the table, we're going in having picked up another win on the board and we can't have too many complaints."

(Posted: Sunday, 24th December 2023)

Michael Halliday came off the bench to help Bangor on their way to a 3-0 win over Dergview at Clandeboye Park this afternoon.

Following a lacklustre first half, Ben Arthurs lashed in the opener two minutes into the second half. Lewis Francis prodded home Bangor's second in the 58th minute and then Michael Halliday grabbed a much deserved goal in the 74th minute to round off an excellent second half performance.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale(B.Walker), S.Brown, L.Francis, D.Hume(R.Arthhur), L.Harrison(K.Devine), S.McArthur(D.O'Kane), B.Arthurs, A.Neale(M.Halliday), T.Mathieson.
Subs: M.Orbinson, J.Hughes

NEXT MATCH:
BOXING DAY NORTH DOWN DERBY - Ards v Bangor, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 23rd December 2023)

YOUNG GUNS BID TO CLOSE OUT YEAR ON HIGH NOTE

Saturday, December 23 – Bangor Reserves vs Knockbreda Reserves, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves' final match of 2023 pits them at home to Knockbreda Reserves as they aim to end a successful calendar year with a three-point haul.

David Downes and his team lost out on the victory in agonising fashion last Saturday, conceding in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage-time against title rivals Dundela Reserves that ultimately saw the spoils shared after a 3-3 draw.

The Seasiders face fellow east Belfast opponents 'Breda, who are second from bottom in the division, already assured of top spot on New Year's Day but they will be all too confident of adding to their points tally and strengthening their title charge.

Perched on 32 points from the 36 on offer and still preserving an unbeaten record, something Downes takes pride in as the campaign approaches the midway point, the Yellows will be confident of fending off their foes from the Castlereagh Hills and entering 2024 with much to cheer, but the job is done on the pitch and it will take that same composure and class to get the job done again.

(Posted: Friday, 22nd December 2023)

Saturday, December 23 – Dergview vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3pm kick-off

Bangor's final game before Christmas sees them pitted against Dergview, with victory at Clandeboye Park making it a fourth consecutive success and three points gift-wrapped ahead of Father Christmas' tour of the world.

The Seasiders thrilled under the Friday night lights last time out when they overcame Knockbreda 4-1, with Ben Arthurs and Scott McArthur hitting the target before half-time while Adam Neale and a Jake Willis own goal added gloss after Igor Rutkowski's penalty reduced Breda's arrears.

Adding to that victory against the league's basement dwellers at Clandeboye were triumphs over Annagh United and Ballyclare Comrades on the road, with this weekend's encounter with the 11th-placed Dergs a chance to start the second half of the campaign on a high note.

Lee Feeney will be wary, though, because the Co Tyrone outfit – who visit again in a fortnight's time in the Irish Cup Fifth Round – were victorious on their home patch back in September and have a penchant for upsetting the odds even when the cards are stacked against them. If the Yellows intend to prevail over Emmet Friars' team, they will need to be firing on all cylinders.

WE CARE YOU MATTER - COME AND CONNECT
And ahead of kick-off, why not visit the Bangor Social Club at 1pm for the We Care, You Matter 'Christmas Come And Connect' event?

There will be tea, coffee and treats on offer and everyone is welcome to attend.

(Posted: Friday, 22nd December 2023)

What does Christmas mean to you?

For many it’s a time for family, for catching up, for giving and receiving, for time off work, for eating too much.

For many it’s a sad time, it’s a time of reflection, a time of staring at the empty chair, a time of regrets.

For many it’s a time of incredible pressure, a time of financial strain, a time of great worry.

Whatever your circumstances, wherever you are, whatever this Christmas brings please know you are not and never alone.

There is always someone to talk to, there is always someone to ease the burden, do not suffer in silence.

Be assured of my prayers this Christmas time, I’ll be praying that God gives you the strength, love and support you need to get you through this time of year.

On behalf of everyone at Bangor Football Club remember you are part of our family and you are loved and cared for.

Have a blessed and safe Christmas.

God bless,
Big G
Club Chaplain

(Posted: Wednesday, 20th December 2023)

(Posted: Tuesday, 19th December 2023)

Bangor Reserves were denied three points right at the death as Dundela Reserves snatched a last-minute equaliser to round off a 3-3 draw at Billy Neill Centre in east Belfast.

The Seasiders twice led and once fell behind, but come the end of this top-of-the-table encounter, the spoils were to be shared after a topsy-turvy battle where the visitors turned in an impressive display. David Downes' men entered the interval a goal to the good thanks to Jay Boyd's finish midway through the first half, drilling home after collecting a second ball after a free-kick had only been partially cleared by the Duns defence, but five goals in the final 25 minutes of the match sprung the contest into life.

With 71 minutes gone, the hosts had turned the tables with two goals in the space of six second-half minutes, but Bangor conjured up a response only two minutes after going behind when Ruairi Wright slotted home after Sonny Redford's initial attempt had been blocked. Things got even better seven minutes from time as Charley Craig prodded into the bottom right corner to hand the Yellows the advantage once more but, four minutes into stoppage-time, Dundela found the net from close range to peg it back to three goals apiece.

Reflecting on the encounter, Downes, while a tinge disappointed with the result, praised the performance and feels the best way to make it up is to pick up the maximum points haul in the return fixture at Clandeboye Park later in the campaign.

"Obviously, there is a bit of disappointment," he admitted. "The ball was kind of allowed to bobble around our penalty area, the ball fell kindly for the Dundela players in the box and they've been able to score from that, and we know we've got to clear the ball when it's that sort of situation. In saying that, I felt we put in a really good performance. I felt we dominated for large parts, there were moments when we could've been more clinical, but we were getting the ball out from defence to attack regularly and we were able to put the Dundela defence under constant pressure.

"We knew coming in that we were playing a team that hadn't dropped a point in the league before today, and it was important going in that we didn't lose any ground as we're playing what we consider to be a title rival in this league, and we did that, even if we're disappointed at the end that we weren't able to come away with all three points. For me, I think the best way we make up for it is we pick up three points the next time they come to our place, when it's our home game.

"We'll go out and we'll want to make sure we're left with four points from the two games this season and they only have one, that's what I think we need to do next time and I'm confident the players can deliver that."

David Downes

The Seconds are next in action when they take on Knockbreda Reserves on Saturday, December 23 at Clandeboye Park. Kick-off is at 11am.

(Posted: Sunday, 17th December 2023)

Bangor Football Club remain in talks with Canadian/American investors.

The consortium spent a week at the club and will continue face-to-face talks in mid January 2024.

“The board of directors have had a positive week of discussions with the investment group. The consortium was overwhelmed with what we have achieved so far with only volunteers at the club. They were impressed with the amount of fantastic people we have around Bangor FC and with our club structure, facilities and supporting network.

“The investment group wants to build a long-term vision for the club and they plan to revisit for further talks in January 2024. We will then try and roadmap a new future for the Seasiders.”

Graham Bailie (Bangor FC Chairman)

Members of the investment group visited Bangor FC from 12 to 16 December.

“I make no apologies for reiterating that the best interests of Bangor FC is the board’s highest priority. The talks are still at an early stage, but there are a lot of encouraging signs as we move forward.

“When the time is right for both parties, we will hold a meeting to provide updates to our supporters and answer any questions. As I previously stated, we will listen to our fans as part of this process.

“On the footballing side, it is business as usual. We were delighted that members of the investment group were able to see the team play on Friday night and gain three points as we continue our good run in the NIFL Championship.”

Graham Bailie (Bangor FC Chairman)

SATURDAY RESULT:

DUNDELA RESERVES 3-3 BANGOR RESERVES

(Posted: Saturday, 16th December 2023)

Bangor continued their good run of form with a 4-1 home win over Knockbreda at Clandeboye Park this evening.

Ben Arthurs set the Seasiders on their way in the 21st minute when he headed in a Tom Mathieson cross from the right. Scott McArthur made it 2-0 on the half hour with a low effort into the bottom corner.

Rutkowski slotted home a hotly disputed penalty for Knockbreda in the 55th minute, but substitute Adam Neale restored Bangor's two goal lead in the 64th minute with a well placed low shot.

The final goal came in the 89th minute when Willis put through his own goal following good work from Henderson on the right. Michael Halliday was unlucky in injury time when he rattled the upright with a close range header.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, B.Walker(R.Arthur), S.Brown, D.Hume, L.Francis, L.Harrison(K.Devine), D.O'Kane(J.Henderson), S.McArthur(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(A.Neale).
Subs: M.Orbinson, C.Craig

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 23rd December 2023, BANGOR v DERGVIEW, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Friday, 15th December 2023)

Friday, December 15 – Knockbreda vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7.45pm kick-off

Bangor commence a run of five consecutive games at Clandeboye Park with a Friday night encounter with Knockbreda, where the Seasiders will look to soar past the 30-point mark in the Playr-Fit Championship.

In the second duel with the Castlereagh club this term, the Seasiders bid to back up a 5-1 away success in mid-October with another victory that will extend the winning sequence to three following victories over Annagh United and Ballyclare Comrades.

Lee Feeney's men are back in action for the first time in a fortnight after a waterlogged pitch caused last week's clash with Dundela to be postponed, but they will hope the momentum hasn't relented ahead of another important stretch. The penultimate match before Christmas Day, the Seasiders are targeting their ninth league triumph in their 19th match.

Friday nights have tended to create a buzz around the ground and give the team a lift when they take the field, so it is hoped that this can be achieved once more and this stretch in the campaign can bring about a further points reward.


Saturday, December 16 – Dundela Reserves vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, Billy Neill Centre, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves are involved in a mouthwatering match-up at the top of the Championship/PIL Development League table on Saturday morning when they face their Dundela equivalents at Billy Neills.

A formidable record between the two of 17 wins and one draw from 18 matches makes this a clash where the margin for error is minimal, but with Bangor entering on the back of two wins last week against Warrenpoint Town and Ballyclare Comrades, David Downes' men have their spirits up as they go in pursuit of an 11th victory in league play.

The Duns, meanwhile, are a perfect seven from seven and, with four matches in hand and 10 points to claw back on the division leaders, can be expected to pull out all the stops in their attempts to close that gap.

Victory for the Seasiders will push them up to 34 points and add further breathing space between themselves and the teams below them in the table. Kick-off is at 11am.

(Posted: Friday, 15th December 2023)

Bangor Reserves kept up their impressive winning vein when four different goalscorers combined to notch up a 10th win in 11 Championship/PIL Development League matches on Saturday morning.

The young Seasiders, who were the only team in action on the day as it happened due to the senior side's fixture against Dundela being abandoned due to the adverse conditions, weathered the storm to despatch Ballyclare Comrades U21 4-0 at Clandeboye Park.

The hosts took the lead through stand-in captain Adam Ambrose on 14 minutes; the versatile 19-year-old received inside the box and swivelled to fire into the net, while Ryan Arthur doubled the advantage five minutes before the break with a looping header into the far corner of the net – the centre-back is continuing to notch up minutes under his belt as he recovers from an ankle injury sustained in pre-season.

Seven minutes after the interval and by now playing against 10 men after an injury forced Ballyclare to soldier on with a reduced contingent, Charley Craig kept up his inspired goal-getting exploits to make it 3-0 before Ryan Nixon's forays forward from defence were rewarded just after the hour as he side-footed an Arthur flick-on past the Comrades goalkeeper to wrap up the points.


COACHES' ADVICE HELPED SET US UP FOR SUCCESS OVER BALLYCLARE: ADAM AMBROSE

Bangor Reserves goalscorer Adam Ambrose paid tribute to the advice handed out by coaches David Downes, Ian Boal and Oli Haslam that helped underpin the largely dominant display that accompanied a 4-0 scoreline against Ballyclare Comrades U21.

The versatile talent, who was deployed in midfield against the east Antrim outfit, broke the deadlock after 14 minutes that teed up what was to follow, with Ryan Arthur, Charley Craig and Ryan Nixon also getting their names on the scoresheet later in the encounter.

The Seasiders face a top two battle with Dundela next weekend and Ambrose feels the nature of the success over Ballyclare, the side's 10th win in 11 league matches to date, puts them in a perfect position to do damage in east Belfast.

"From the start of the season, we've been playing well, we've gelled as a team, we've taken on the instructions that the coaches are giving us. We've got this momentum now, I don't know how many wins that is on the bounce but we definitely could go into the Dundela game, just keep that form going and keep pushing.

"The coaches did say just to be patient, keep the ball and tire them (Ballyclare) out. Just to be patient, look for the space, don't be forcing it and the goals will come, and they did, so it proved to work."

Following on from a Monday night victory over Warrenpoint Town that, like Saturday, was achieved in less-than-favourable weather conditions, Ambrose admitted that picking up the maximum spoils on offer was satisfying as the elements posed a challenge.

"Yeah, definitely," he adds on a week that saw six goals scored and six points secured from two league fixtures.

"We were off Tuesday night and we had a bit of time to recover and, back in, we had a friendly against the first-team on Thursday night there, so it was a good run-out, but everyone was well rested and it showed today. We were energetic, I thought."

On his goal, Ambrose, who wore the captain's armband in the absence of usual skipper Kristian Trainor, reflects: "Well, it sort of fell on the edge of the box, I had my back turned, sort of checked my shoulder, seen where the defender was, feinted a wee bit and just slid it in, the near post."

Adam Ambrose

(Posted: Wednesday, 13th December 2023)

Bangor Football Club is in talks about potential investment in the club, with a business group from Canada/America.

Bangor FC Chairman Graham Bailie said: “The board of directors have had early positive discussions with the group about investing in the club. The investment group is encouraged by the facilities at Bangor FC, as well as our excellent academy and how the club is situated in a city with a large catchment area.

“Bangor FC has travelled a long way since the current board took control of the club in 2017, just after they had been relegated from the Northern Ireland Football League. But ultimately, we are aspiring to be the best club that we can be. We want, not only, to get into the Premiership, but also to challenge when we get there. With that in mind, we require investment and expertise to help take us to that next level.”

Members of the investment group will travel to Northern Ireland on 12th December to visit the club, see the facilities and to have face-to-face meetings with the board of directors.

Graham concluded: “The best interests of Bangor FC is the board’s highest priority. We will only keep moving forward with talks, and take any potential proposal to our shareholders, if we believe they are favourable for the club.

“Following further dialogue on a way forward, we will hold a public meeting to update supporters and answer any questions. We will listen to our fans as part of this process. Until then, we would ask supporters and friends to be patient as we progress discussions to secure a potential investment package for the Seasiders.”

Media enquiries to Bangor FC at media@bangorfc.com

(Posted: Saturday, 9th December 2023)

(Posted: Saturday, 9th December 2023)

Saturday, December 9 – Bangor vs Ballyclare Comrades, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor cast their sights on a continuation of winning ways in the Championship/PIL Development League when they face Ballyclare Comrades U21 at Clandeboye Park on Saturday morning.

The Seasiders, who have 28 points from 30 available that was most recently added to in a Monday night success over Warrenpoint Town, are hopeful of staying at the top of the table as they face a Ballyclare panel perched in fifth-place ahead of kick-off.

Manager David Downes, who praised the attitude of his players in tough conditions at Milltown to secure three points thanks to Charley Craig and Jude Carlisle finishes either side of half-time, will have his players fired up to produce the goods and surge beyond the 30-point marker. This would be notably significant given they travel to Dundela next week in what is expected to be a top two battle; the Duns having not dropped a point at the time of writing.

But the players can't look past the Comrades, who will be eager to produce the goods, and know they will have to fight hard to pick up the three points.

(Posted: Saturday, 9th December 2023)

Saturday, December 9 – Dundela vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Wilgar Park, 3pm kick-off

Bangor face a challenging trip to Wilgar Park this weekend where league-leading Dundela will aim to cut the two-game win streak that has been built up over the past fortnight.

A last-minute Lewis Francis winner snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a 3-2 success against Ballyclare Comrades at Dixon Park last weekend to add to a 4-0 trouncing of Annagh United in Portadown courtesy in large part of an Adam Neale hat-trick.

Lee Feeney will hope the winning fortunes keep rolling on in this third successive away day – and a run of five straight matches at Clandeboye Park will follow, with confirmation of a home tie against Dergview in the Irish Cup Fifth Round adding to a league encounter against the same opponents in two weeks' time, Knockbreda next Friday, the Boxing Day derby with Ards and Annagh on the 30th December.


KEY TO SUCCESS IS WORKING AROUND DUNDELA'S EXPERIENCED CORE, INSISTS JOHN DOUGLAS

He has been encouraged by the consistent goal-getting of Ben Arthurs, who has scored in four matches in a row, but will be wary of a Duns side who, under Stephen Gourley's guidance, rose to the top of the table in midweek thanks to Jake Corbett's last-gasp winner in a 3-2 success over Dergview. The 'Hen Run' is a hard place to go and will call on the players to be on top form.

Bangor assistant coach John Douglas feels the key to success at Wilgar Park on Saturday is to stand up and be counted against Dundela's experienced contingent.

The Playr-Fit Championship encounter in east Belfast pits the league-leading Duns against the fifth-placed Seasiders, and the latter could rise to within three points of the promotion play-off position should they shock their hosts and collect all three points.

Victories on successive away days against Annagh United and Ballyclare Comrades have Bangor in a confident mood ahead of this weekend's clash, but Lee Feeney and his charges will not be taking anything for granted against a seasoned core that comprises Willie Faulkner, Jaimie McGovern, Jay Magee and former yellow and blue favourite Andy Hall.

The manager's assistant confirmed as much and paid tribute to the qualities of those types of players within Stephen Gourley's set-up.

"There's no doubt, this is going to be a hard game for us. What's really impressed me about Dundela is the experience. They have a bracket of experienced players at Dundela who've been consistent and driven the team forward throughout the season, and that sort of thing rubs off on the younger players who've improved under that.

"That's something we don't really have by contrast. We've a lot of young players, a lot of very talented young players and a young squad in general, but Dundela probably have that little bit more at the top end of the age bracket, who've been there and done that.

"There's a great fighting spirit at Dundela, it's a tight pitch and they can congest it and make it a battle for possession across the pitch, so we know that we'll have to be on top of our game and win those battles if we're looking to get anything out of this game.

"In saying that, we've been on a good run ourselves and there's a confident group in there who know how to win games, so we'll be identifying how we can get at them and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will work."

John Douglas

(Posted: Friday, 8th December 2023)

Bangor have been drawn to play Dergview in the 5th round of the Clearer Water Irish Cup. The tie will be played on Saturday, 6th January at Clandeboye Park.

(Posted: Wednesday, 6th December 2023)

Congratulations to Bangor FC Ladies trio Olivia Brown, Amber Dempster and Sarah McKillen who were selected to play for the Northern Ireland Futsal team in Belgium last weekend.

It proved to be a great experience on foreign shores for the trio and they had plenty to take away from two matches against a competitive Belgium side across Saturday and Sunday.

(Posted: Tuesday, 5th December 2023)

BATTLING WIN KEEPS SECONDS TOP

Bangor Reserves emerged with a hard-fought victory when they travelled to Warrenpoint Town last night, with goals from Charley Craig and Jude Carlisle securing the maximum reward at Milltown.

The Seasiders produced the goods to move up to 28 points from 30 on offer so far this season, and manager David Downes praised the application of his players to secure a ninth win of the campaign that moves the side seven points clear at the top of the table.

"It was a tough game, from Bangor to Warrenpoint on a wet Monday night in December isn’t easy but the lads were outstanding," reflected Downes after the three points had been secured.

"The defence was made up of all 16-year-olds, and to play so well to come away with a clean sheet makes me feel so proud of them all.

"This group has no fear of anything and play with such confidence; at times, it’s scary. Then when they need to, they can get into the trenches and battle for each other."

(Posted: Tuesday, 5th December 2023)

Bangor assistant coach John Douglas took plenty of pride from the weekend win at Ballyclare Comrades, when the Seasiders fought back from a 2-1 deficit inside the final 15 minutes to claim all three points on their travels.

It was towering teenage centre-back Lewis Francis who provided the decisive say with virtually the last touch of the ball, bulleting home a header from a Michael Halliday flick-on for his third goal of the season. The Dungannon Swifts loanee hit the mark in the third minute of added-time after second-half strikes by Callum Ferris and Gary Donnelly – the latter from the penalty spot – threatened to leave Scott McArthur's deadlock-breaker on the stroke of half-time counting for nought.

It was a victory you would struggle to put a price on and one that triggered an outpouring of celebration from the fans that travelled, with 19-year-old Francis doing well to enhance his ever-growing reputation by sealing Bangor's second consecutive success.

Douglas feels that players like Magherafelt man Francis on the younger end of the squad scale are among those that would benefit most from overcoming the type of scenario the visitors found themselves in, hailing how they reacted to going behind and doing Lee Feeney and the faithful proud with how they never gave in. He also admitted, though, that the performance was not as high-level as in recent times, and adds that there will always be the licence to improve for the tests to come.

He explained:

"I thought that was probably the worst we've played in the last five, six weeks. It wasn't a flowing game, but I felt we adapted to the needs of the game when we needed to, in particular, after going behind.

"It was a scrappy game, it was hard to get a clean spell of possession at times, but we showed the character, especially after the (Ballyclare) penalty (that made it 2-1), and we threw bodies up, we went all out to try and get back in the game, and to win the game in added-time was hugely satisfying.

"This is a young team, and there are players in that team who don't have much senior experience and players who haven't been in that sort of position very often, and I think that's great experience for them.

"That's how you have to react in that sort of situation. You can't lie down, you have to take responsibility and try and get straight up the other end and find a way to get back in the game. It's a young team, we have boys who are still finding their way at the senior level and, to an extent, with that in mind, we are still learning on the job a bit if you like. But that shows, that's what you need to do to get results.

"One of the things we talk about is being better in both boxes. In football, a lot of what you do is defined by what you do in both boxes, showing quality when you're in your own box and when you're in the opposition box.

"This league's ruthless. If you concede chances, then you'll be punished because there are players across this league who can take those chances. Yes, there's the space in between your own 18 and the other 18, you've got to build up from one end to the other, but ultimately, the most important things are how you work in your penalty areas, and to see us be clinical when it mattered was really, really good.

"We'd a few really good performances where we just weren't picking up the results, and a lot of that was down to letting teams kind of come into the game and we didn't have the cutting edge when we were on top, but now, we've scored four last week, we've scored three today and we've two wins out of two, so that's very pleasing."

Douglas also shed light on Ben Arthurs' recent goalscoring run, and the 25-year-old striker's fourth game in a row in which he's marked the scoresheet comes as music to the ears of the management team.

Arthurs, who had found the net against Newington, Portadown and Annagh prior to last weekend's encounter, is in a confident mood and is on his best run of games scored in since February – he hit the mark against Crusaders, Armagh City, Ballymacash Rangers and Portstewart on that occasion. Douglas revealed that, before kick-off at Dixon Park, he made sure to remind the Kircubbin frontman of his recent exploits and to maintain his consistent standards.

Having netted the leveller to make it 2-2, his 118th strike in the yellow and blue shirt as he makes further ground on Andy Morrow's modern-high total of 143 finishes, those words of wisdom certainly seemed to make a mark.

"We were actually telling Ben that in the changing room prior to the game, that he'd scored in three consecutive games, and we told him that's what we want from him, we want him to keep that up," explained Douglas.

"He scored an important goal on Saturday and that's now four in a row he's scored in, and that's the challenge that we set out to him before kick-off; go out and make it four in a row.

"Having a consistent goalscorer is so important at this level, and that was something we wanted to see more of from Ben. He'd scored goals, but they weren't always consistent – he scored four against Ballyclare (in the County Antrim Shield), another few here and there, but he hadn't really had a run of games – but now, he's scoring every week recently, and that helps the whole team.

"That's one of the things we've probably been harping on about the most. We want to see the players deliver consistently and play to their best, or close to their best, every single week, and recently, that's what's been happening.

"Having consistency is important if you want to get results, because any team in this league has the quality to hurt you at any given time, and if you drop your guard, you'll get punished for it as a collective.

"It wasn't our best and it wasn't a fluid style of play, but we showed resilience to come back. But we'll always keep challenging the players and setting targets to go out."

John Douglas

(Posted: Monday, 4th December 2023)

Monday, December 4 – Warrenpoint Town Reserves vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, Milltown, 7:45pm kick-off

Bangor Reserves are in Monday night action in the Championship/PIL Development League when they travel to Warrenpoint Town for a top-versus-bottom encounter.

David Downes and his charges will be eager to boost their table-topping record in the division to 28 points from 30 on offer when all is said and done at Milltown, facing up to the team that is currently propping up the standings in 15th-place.

Warrenpoint, who have three points from their opening seven fixtures, were, however, the winners of last season's eight-team league, and it is for that reason that their threat cannot be underestimated. A 120-mile-round trip on a Monday night is rarely one that feels worth it unless three points are coming back the other way, and that is exactly how the players will feel when they take the field in south Down.

Kick-off at Milltown is at 7:45pm.

(Posted: Sunday, 3rd December 2023)

Bangor took all three points away from a chilly Dixon Park this afternoon with a thrilling 3-2 win over Ballyclare Comrades.

Scott McArthur put the Seasiders ahead in first half injury time with a well struck curling effort, but Ferris equalised for the Comrades just after the hour mark and Donnelly got the Comrades in front from the penalty spot after 77 minutes.

The Seasiders comeback started in the 82nd minute when Ben Arthurs finished off a Michael Halliday flick on and then Lewis Francis grabbed a dramatic winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, L.Francis, D.Hume, S.Brown, J.Henderson(D.O'Kane), L.Harrison, S.McArthur(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs, A.Neale(M.Watterson), T.Mathieson.
Subs: M.Orbinson, K.Devine, B.Walker.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

NEXT MATCH
Saturday, 9th December 2023 - DUNDELA v BANGOR, Wilgar Park, Championship, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 2nd December 2023)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney admits he has been hugely impressed by Ballyclare Comrades this season but adds that his confidence in his players is so high that they can "go on a run" after ending a five-game winless streak last Saturday.

After Ben Arthurs broke the deadlock and paved the way for Adam Neale to hit a first Playr-Fit Championship hat-trick against Annagh United last week, Feeney lifted the lid on the conversations he had with his charges and insists the positivity of recent performances had made the 4-0 victory at the BMG Arena overdue.

The Seasiders now take their talents to Dixon Park for what is already the third meeting of the campaign between these two sides. Ballyclare emerged victorious on the opening day having twice come from behind to win 3-2 in August, while early September saw Bangor return the favour after recovering from a two-goal deficit to win 4-2 in the County Antrim Shield – Arthurs scored all four at Clandeboye Park that night.

While 11 goals in those two clashes have led Feeney to believe that another high-scoring affair could be on the menu, he has been fuelled with optimism that his men can produce the goods once more.

"Ballyclare are a good side, very well-coached by Stephen Small, very attack-minded, and they have a lot of threats in that area of the pitch," said Feeney. "They're a well-built side and they won at the weekend there (against H&W Welders), they're obviously coming in with a bit of momentum on their side.

"I guess there is a bit of an added dimension, we've played each other twice with Ballyclare winning on the opening day and then we got the comeback win in the Shield, so I'd say the two teams have got the feel of each other, and that can work for us.

"They were high-scoring games. We were clinical in that second game, and we needed to be, we had to work hard, but I can see confidence is high among our players and the belief is there that we can win games of football.

"I said to the players on Saturday before kick-off, even though we've not been winning games, the performances have been there and we were disappointed not to get nine points out of nine in the three games before, which I think we could've done.

"I said to them, you've been doing the right things and you're due one, you'd deserve a win, it just hasn't happened yet. They went out on Saturday and they played brilliant.

"I genuinely think we can go on a run, I genuinely do. I think we've the players there and the mentality to go out and put ourselves further up the table if we keep working hard, and that starts again this Saturday."

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Friday, 1st December 2023)

Saturday, December 2 – Ballyclare Comrades vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Dixon Park, 3pm kick-off

Bangor are bound for Dixon Park for the second time this season when they bid to make it back-to-back successes in the Playr-Fit Championship against Ballyclare Comrades on Saturday afternoon.

The Seasiders were handsome 4-0 winners at Annagh United last weekend, inspired by Adam Neale's hat-trick after Ben Arthurs broke the deadlock, and with both players having contributed seven goals between them in the last four league matches, Lee Feeney will hope their form continues to tick over when they visit east Antrim with sights set on a second successive win.

Ballyclare claimed the upper hand on the opening day of the season, emerging 3-2 victors on a sunny August day, but Bangor got their own back the next month when Ben Arthurs struck four goals to record a comeback 4-2 triumph at Clandeboye Park in the County Antrim Shield. With Ballyclare on the back of overcoming Ards 3-0 in midweek, Stephen Small's men will bid for a north Down double in contrast.

Victory would haul the Yellows level with their hosts, who are up to fourth-place in the standings following that success on Tuesday night, but another tough outing is forecast that will call on the players to produce their best once more.

(Posted: Friday, 1st December 2023)

Adam Neale revealed that relief was his overarching emotion after his hat-trick set Bangor en route to a first win in five Playr-Fit Championship matches at the weekend. Having scored three goals in 19 appearances prior to kick-off on Saturday, he doubled his whole-season tally inside 48 devastating minutes as he put Annagh United to the sword.

Adding to Ben Arthurs’ deadlock-breaker merely eight minutes into the action at the BMG Arena, the line-leader – now up to 117 goals in the yellow and blue shirt – handed over a penalty Neale himself had won to convert shortly after the quarter-hour mark before the Ballynahinch frontman notched up two more either side of half-time to seal his second match ball since joining the Seasiders 15 months ago.

He frankly admits that his lack of consistent goalscoring has worn on his mind but, never one to shy away from the challenge, Adam was delighted to produce the goods when it counted and help the Seasiders to all three points on the Tandragee Road.

“It was relief more than anything,” he admits after recording his first hat-trick in league play, having also hit three in a Steel and Sons Cup quarter-final against Albert Foundry a year ago. It’s been a bit stop-start for me, it’s been a frustrating run but I’m hoping now that that (the hat-trick) gets me back on track.

“I’m hoping that coming off that, I can get back to scoring goals – doing what I’ve been doing my whole career. It’s been difficult, but the team created the chances for me and I’m just glad I was able to reward them and score three in the one game here.

“For the penalty, I’d felt I’d kind of earned it. It was my flick-up that hit his (Annagh defender) hand to win the penalty, so I went to Ben and asked him if I could take it as I kind of wanted to finish the job and get myself on the board. That was my opportunity to start something, kick off in the game and I felt confident I could step up and take it. Thankfully, I was able to do that. I was used to being the main penalty taker before I joined Bangor, so I’m used to those sorts of situations and the pressure that can come with them. I think Ben understood that and was happy for me to take it at that point, I was glad to step up and take responsibility, you know, and yeah, on the back of that, I was able to score two more goals from open play.”

Adam Neale

For four consecutive games now, one of Arthurs, Neale or both have hit the net for Bangor. The former is now on an active run of three goalscoring games in a row having of late struck versus Newington and Portadown, while the latter’s headed equaliser against H&W Welders represented somewhat of a return to type. But 30-year-old former Rathfriland favourite Adam isn’t keen to rest on his laurels; rather, he wants to keep the goal tap flowing. Supporting Arthurs (25) – the pair scored 58 goals between them across all competitions in 2022/23 – is also high on his priority list.

“Last season, Ben and I were both scoring regularly, and obviously that had helped us push on in the league and win silverware,” Neale reflected. Ben’s kind of been scoring the goals by himself among the frontline since the start of the season and I’ve been playing catch-up, I fell behind a bit. You can’t really go into this league with just one guy scoring goals, one recognised scorer, so I needed to step it up from that point of view and I was glad to do that on Saturday.

“I’ve got that relationship with Ben, there’s a trust and understanding between us and we obviously scored a lot of goals last season between us to help the club get into the league. I know we’re going to be important as a pairing and as two players who’ll help the club push on up the league table by scoring goals.

“Even for the second goal, it was a loose backpass and it fell for me in a one-on-one situation with the keeper, but I spotted him off his line and I was able to bring the ball around him and have a tap-in. That brought me confidence, staying composed to do the right thing, and it’s helping the team out. I think the more players that chip in with goals, the better. If we have players scoring goals all around the team, in defence or midfield as well, we want to get as many people in on the act as possible, which would be great. It’s a shot in the arm for any player to score so, hopefully, both me and the team can do that consistently.”

Adam Neale

A telepathic understanding with his younger brother Reece (25) contributed in large part to the finish that ultimately completed Adam’s goal haul for the day, and he paid a warm tribute to an “unbelievable” set-up from his sibling to help make the match ball safe. The striker also shed light on the telepathic understanding with a player who has spent most of this term in a left-sided centre-back role but who was deployed in his more favoured left wing-back position in Portadown on Saturday.

“Reece on the third one was unbelievable. Unbelievable, I’m not sure you’ll see a better assist than that all season. How he kept that ball in… I couldn’t believe it, how it didn’t go out of play, and then for him to move forward and stay composed was really good as well. He laid it off to me when he could’ve easily gone for goal himself, he could’ve tried to chip the keeper but he picked out the pass for me and I was able to reward him by putting it in the net for the hat-trick.

“I have my team-mates to thank for it (the match ball). They helped me get off the mark, be it Ben handing me over the penalty or Reece for the last one, and others in the team across the pitch were being creative and were setting me up for chances. You know, it’s a team game at the end of the day, and the team worked really hard and really well to get the win, and thankfully we made our chances count and got the points to take up the road with us.

"There obviously is that connection between us, not just physically but mentally as well. It’s on me to be in the right positions to connect when it is that sort of situation (the hat-trick-sealing goal), but I always have an idea of where he’s going to place the ball when he crosses it or lays it off or whatever. It’s just that understanding. It was great to see him out wide on the left on Saturday. He’s obviously played a bit deeper this season, being in the back-three, but we saw it last season – he’s really dangerous when he’s able to get forward like that, hug the touchline and get forward and create chances. He picked me out and I was able to finish, but I think Reece knew where I was going to be and I knew I had to be in the right place at the right time.”

Adam Neale

(Posted: Tuesday, 28th November 2023)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney delighted over a brilliant performance from his players in the 4-0 victory over Annagh United and singled out a number of influential performers for praise.

The Seasiders supremo watched on as Ben Arthurs broke the deadlock with a stylish finish, plucking out Sean Brown’s lofted supply over the top before slotting beyond ex-team-mate Jason Craughwell between the Annagh sticks.

Adam Neale then took command, doubling his entire tally for the season in just 48 minutes thanks to a devastating hat-trick. First, he slotted home from the penalty spot after his flick-on hit a home hand in the penalty area, then he pounced on a loose backpass and rounded Craughwell to double up just prior to the half-hour before taking on brother Reece Neale’s cut-back and sliding in a cool third on 64 minutes.

Kilkeel chief Feeney was gushing with acclaim for both Neale siblings and Arthurs post-match and laid out just how influential they had been. And Kircubbin punisher Arthurs handing his strike partner over the spot-kick that set him on his way was something that commanded tremendous respect from the boss.

“I have to say, for that first goal for Adam, the penalty, I have to give Ben a huge amount of credit. Ben’s our penalty taker, he’s our first-choice in that regard, but Adam’s obviously went over to Ben and asked to take it, Adam has the belief in himself that he can get off the mark and he goes and scores two more after that for the hat-trick.

“But Ben has confidence in Adam, he has the confidence in his team-mate that he can get kickstarted, there’s the trust between them in that moment and I have to give top marks to Ben for that. I’m pleased for Adam, hopefully that’s him on his way. They were well-taken goals and they were confident finishes. And it’s a big moment for him, too. 13, 14 months ago, he was playing in the Amateur League, he’s played most of his football in the Amateur League, and for him to make that jump and perform at Championship level, he’s been making big strides in his career and working really hard to make that happen.

“It’s been a bit stop-start for him in terms of scoring goals this season, but I know he’ll enjoy that match ball – one more for his collection.”

The set-up for Adam’s third and Bangor’s fourth was thanks in no small part to a massive intervention from his little brother. The ball looked to be spinning across the touchline and out for a throw-in, but a spectacular piece of acrobatics by Reece Neale kept it in play and allowed the 25-year-old to race toward the byline. From there, he acutely laid off and allowed Adam to slot side-footed into the net.

“Reece Neale has been exceptional for this football club,” hailed Feeney in his reflections. The whole ground stood up and applauded how he kept that ball in for Adam’s third goal, you know, the home and away fans that I saw.

“It was just an exceptional piece of skill, to effectively bicycle kick it to keep it in, and work-rate and determination. I don’t know how he did it, but he had the desire to chase after it and has kept the ball alive and then he’s got the composure to drive forward with the ball, doesn’t get a head of steam and picks out a really good pass for his brother. You could call it brotherly love there!

“Reece has been absolutely first class. His character and his personality are beyond his years, he’s a leader, and for a man of 25, he is such an important player and he shows that desire I expect to see from my players. I was really delighted with the way he went about himself.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Monday, 27th November 2023)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney was all too happy with the starring impact made by Mitchel Watterson in the Playr-Fit Championship victory over Annagh United on Saturday.

The Seasiders supremo previously gave Watterson his first taste of a senior matchday panel when including the 18-year-old among his subs for the visit to Institute five weeks prior.

His next appearance among the first selection would be in the starting line-up for this trip to the BMG Arena, where the highly-rated former Linfield Academy midfielder shone alongside Lewis Harrison and Jack Henderson in a 4-0 victory – secured after Adam Neale’s 48-minute hat-trick followed up an opening finish from Ben Arthurs. It was Bangor’s awaited first triumph in five matches, since a 5-1 dose of Sunday service away to Knockbreda in mid-October when both Henderson and Harrison had marked the scoresheet, and the teenager’s influence in the middle of the park alongside that familiar duo was warmly lauded by Feeney.

“Mitchel, I brought him up to the first-team because of how well he’s been playing for the Reserves, and I knew Mitchel from when he was with Linfield Under-18s. I was really impressed by his maturity, his attitude and in terms of his ability as a midfielder, it was beyond his years.

“A few days before the transfer window closed, he gave me a call and said to me that he had wanted to join Bangor, and I told him that I would be delighted to have you here, you’d be very welcome to come. I thought it spoke volumes that he thought here was the best place for him to develop and take that next step. He’s been playing regularly for the Under-20s, with Davy Downes, and he’s been playing really well, so I felt he deserved a chance to make an impression with the first-team.

“I’ve had him in first-team training sessions and had the opportunity to assess him there and he hasn’t looked out of place, he’s adapted to that level of intensity and I’ve had the chance to take a closer look at him from that point of view.

“I think he’s come in and been super, and with certain players in attacking areas not being available, had they been available Mitch might not have got that chance to be in the team this weekend, but I always held belief in him that he could take that next step and I’m really glad he did, he was excellent.”

Feeney also reserved praise for what Downes has achieved during the last number of years in charge of the Reserves set-up.

Having also handed talented sharp-shooter Charley Craig his Championship debut, becoming the 10th player to step up from the second string into a first-team gameday squad this term, the former Linfield and Rangers ace spoke of how a culture has been rubber-stamped for a crop of future stars to flourish on the seaside.

“Davy’s doing great work (with the Reserves). It’s been a gradual build-up to get to the place we are now with our youth set-up but we’ve now got a really good connection between the Reserves and the first-team. He’s an experienced coach who I have a lot of respect for… he had worked before at Linfield Under-16s, he’s worked with players who have went on to play across the water, and in the time he’s been here, he’s created and brought in a culture in there that we’re very proud of.

“Bear in mind, this may be an Under-20s team, but the players that are coming into the first-team, they’re not 20-year-olds, they’re 17 or 18, with the likes of Mitchel and Charley (Craig) at the weekend. We’re able to bring up young players into the team who can impact games.

“They’re able to make that step up to senior football and it’s just a seamless transition, and I find that very pleasing.”

Lee Feeney

(Posted: Monday, 27th November 2023)

BACK TO WINNING WAYS IN FUTSAL

Bangor FC Ladies enjoyed success in the third matchday of the Women's NI Futsal Super League with a victory over Ballymena United Women on Friday night.

Their second win of the Futsal campaign following a 9-0 opening day success over Ballyclare Comrades Ladies, the Seasiders returning to successful ways after falling to a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Crusaders Strikers in the match immediately prior.

This 4-2 triumph at Shankill Leisure Centre was inspired by an Amber Dempster brace and finishes by Olivia Brown and Erin Hennity that notched up the maximum spoils against the Sky Blues.

Next up for the side is some friendly fire in a fortnight's time against Camlough.

(Posted: Sunday, 26th November 2023)

Bangor Reserves picked up their eighth win in nine Championship/PIL Development League matches this season thanks to a slender 1-0 success over their Institute counterparts at Clandeboye Park.

A close-range header by Jay Boyd with 35 minutes gone in the contest proved the only goal of the game, with the result enough to keep the Seasiders top of the table on 25 points from 27 available.

The clash saw both sides push for goals and, indeed, the woodwork was struck at both ends, but Ben McConkey in the home goal kept a clean sheet to help the side to a fifth league win in a row for David Downes and his squad. Boyd broke the deadlock in the first period, hitting his second goal of the season and ensuring Bangor retained a seven-point lead on the chasing pack – albeit with fluctuating amounts of matches played across the 15 teams in the division.

Next up is a Monday night trip to Milltown to take on Warrenpoint on December 4. Kick-off is at 7:45pm.


Bangor Reserves matchwinner Jay Boyd admitted his team weren't at their best against Institute U21 but was satisfied to secure a "scrappy win" that enhanced the team's standing in the table. Boyd broke the deadlock with a well-placed header 10 minutes from the end of the first half, with Bangor holding on for much of the rest of the contest against a Stute side keen to make their presence felt. The striker's reflections were honest, tinged with relief that three more points had been safely tucked away against a quality opponent. He felt that the first period in particular left things to be desired performance-wise but hailed an improvement following the interval that saw a collective Seasider resolve stand tall and a clean sheet success upheld come the end.

He explained: "It was a great performance from the lads. Scrappy game, not a lot we could do, especially the second half... we were told, maybe sit off them, you know, but make sure we're pressing them. The pressing wasn't great in the first half, they were all over us; in the second half, again, they had the chances but, yeah, I think we held on at the end and got the win, which is the most important thing."

Former Ards ace Boyd added that the pressure was perhaps most ramped after he had nodded the hosts in front on 35 minutes. He broke free inside the penalty area and directed coolly into the net from a lofted supply into the danger zone, building the advantage but also in the knowledge that a storm was likely to follow as Institute looked to level up in double-quick time.

The teenage frontman, who represented the County Down select outfit at the prestigious SuperCupNI in 2022, felt game management in the lead-up to the pause was fundamental to securing the maximum spoils for David Downes' group.

"I think after the goal went in, it was see it to half-time," Boyd added. "I think you're most vulnerable after you score, you know what I mean, with the team coming at you again, so see it out to half-time and then second half, Davy's telling us we need to get in their faces.

"We sat off them too much, and when we did press, the team wasn't pressing so they were just taking it round us, so we tried to work on that in the second half, I think we did better but at the same time, they weren't getting out of third gear the whole game. But, listen, we got there in the end and got the win.

"Institute are a great hardworking team and definitely tested us, but we came away with the win."

Jay Boyd

After swapping the North Down divide to wear the yellow and blue shirt during the summer, Boyd, who struck his second goal of the season with his clinching finish against the Brandywell outfit, has been a key component of the panel.

He went on to say that nudging the close-fought affairs rank among the most satisfying victories due to the impact they can make come the season's end.

"Yeah, there are probably the most important wins, the scrappy ones, you know what I mean, where you just have to see the game out," Boyd explained. Institute had most of the chances... we took on board what Davy said at half-time, you know, not see the game out but just make sure we're in their faces, press as a team which we did in the second half.

"It was just one of them games, it wasn't great to watch I'm sure but it's an important win."

Jay Boyd

(Posted: Sunday, 26th November 2023)

ADAM NEALE HAT-TRICK SINKS ANNAGH

Bangor moved back in to the top half of the PlayR-Fit Championship league table with an impressive 4-0 away win over Annagh United at the BMG Arena this afternoon.

Ben Arthurs raced through to slide the ball past Craughwell in the 9th minute and Adam Neale did likewise six minutes later. Neale doubled his tally for the afternoon from the penalty spot on 28 minutes to make it 3-0 at the half-time break.

A remarkable piece of skill from Reece Neale on the left gave him time and space to pick out a pass for his brother Adam to bag a hat-trick and slot home Bangor's fourth.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster, R.Neale, D.Hume, L.Francis(R.Arthur), S.Brown, J.Henderson, L.Harrison(K.Devine), M.Watterson(J.Hughes), B.Arthurs(C.Craig), A.Neale(M.Halliday).
Subs: M.Orbinson, B.Walker

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

NEXT MATCH
Saturday, 2nd December - BALLYCLARE COMRADES v BANGOR, Dixon Park, Championship, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 25th November 2023)

Saturday, November 25 – Bangor Reserves vs Institute U21, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves are in Championship/PIL Development League action once more as David Downes prepares his side to face their Institute counterparts at Clandeboye Park.

The Seasiders, who strengthened their position at the top of the table last time out when overcoming Ards Reserves in a North Down Derby success at Londonderry Park, are unbeaten and have dropped only two points all season as they look to keep their title ambitions ticking over this weekend.

A victory last Saturday that was inspired by first-half finishes from the returning Ryan Arthur and Sonny Redford – although boss Downes also stressed after the match that he felt there were more goals in the game – it is seventh-placed 'Stute's turn to make the long journey down from the north west to tackle the in-form Yellows, who have 22 points from their eight matches so far and are on a run of four consecutive wins.

With seven points separating the table-toppers from the chasing pack, albeit with varying amounts of games played to date across the division, the hope is that another three-point weekend will be forthcoming. Kick-off at Clandeboye Park is at 11am.

(Posted: Friday, 24th November 2023)

The BMG Arena is Bangor's destination this Saturday, with the Playr-Fit Championship campaign continuing into a testing encounter with Annagh United.

After a 2-2 draw with Portadown last weekend left the Seasiders still on the search for a first victory since mid-October, the other second-tier representative of the Co Armagh town will be eager to boost their fortunes at the expense of their visitors.

Finishes by Ben Arthurs and Lewis Harrison shot Lee Feeney's men into a two-goal lead over the Ports at Clandeboye Park, but two late strikes by Dougie Wilson and Eamon Fyfe meant the visitors escaped with a share of the spoils. Ciaran McGurgan's Annagh, who Bangor overcame 3-1 last month thanks to goals from Arthurs, Jack Henderson and Ben Walker, will target a dose of payback in what is the Yellows' first league-related trip to Tandragee Road in a little over four years – that was a Premier Intermediate League clash in those days.

Performances have continued to be up to scratch despite the downturn in results, though, and Feeney will have his charges fired up to make their return to winning ways this weekend. Between the seventh and eighth-placed sides in the division, each level on 22 points, it should make for an interesting battle.


Bangor striker Ben Arthurs is anticipating a difficult match against Annagh United as he sets his sights on a fresh return to winning form this weekend.

Lee Feeney's Seasiders have gone five matches without a win in the Playr-Fit Championship but it is not for the want of trying, with three pleasing displays against H&W Welders, Newington and Portadown all not matched with three points that have eluded the squad since a 5-1 triumph over basement dwellers Knockbreda on Sunday, October 15.

The Yellows' last victory on a Saturday was, in fact, the reverse of this weekend's fixture, when Arthurs marked the scoresheet alongside home town duo Ben Walker and Jack Henderson in a superb 3-1 success over Ciaran McGurgan's Annagh. The Kircubbin frontman is now targeting a third successive goalscoring game having notched up his 10th strike of the season – and 116th in a Bangor shirt – against the Ports last time out, but he is well aware that he and his team-mates must work hard to record back-to-back victories over the Tandragee Road men.

Arthurs played the full 90 when Bangor last travelled to the BMG Arena in a league context, in which Annagh ran out 2-1 victors in a Premier Intermediate League battle in November 2019, and he is wary that, as the sides joust a level higher, the task will be just as difficult.

"Of course, this weekend's going to be a tough test for us," Arthurs explained. "Annagh are a quality team, they've been up towards the top of this league for the past few seasons and reached the promotion play-offs, so we can't afford to take them lightly when we play them this weekend.

"Yes, we beat them earlier in the season, and we played well that day to get the three points, but I've been impressed with Annagh every time I've seen them and they've got dangerous players all across the pitch. We know they've got players in there who can hurt us, and it's going to take the whole team being sharp all across the pitch to get another win.

"The last three games, we're disappointed that we've only got two points out of them; I think we could've got seven or nine points out of those games and no one would've really had any complaints.

"But this league's crazy, any team can turn up on their day and it's hard to predict, so all we can do is turn up and play our best on Saturday. After all, what better time of the week is there than 3pm on a Saturday playing football? You can't beat it, so I'm looking forward." Arthurs also felt having players like outstanding teenage centre-back Lewis Francis, versatile forward Ben Cushnie and leader-like defender Ryan Arthur return from injury provided a fresh injection of belief going into the challenges to come.

Fan favourite Arthur (28), who scored within 90 seconds of his first competitive outing of the season in Bangor Reserves' derby delight over their Ards equivalents last Saturday, was singled out for his vocal nature by the 25-year-old striker, while Francis (19) and Cushnie (22) – team-mates at Dungannon Swifts last campaign – have both made promising impressions since their respective loan arrivals from the Swifts and Glentoran.

Arthurs elaborated: "It's been good to get a few more bodies back in recently, Lewis came back into the team against Portadown and it was like he was never away, I thought he was really impressive again, and then Cush, getting him back in, he's great to play with; he works hard and gets into good positions.

"And then big Ryan, he's an important player for us, and that's off the pitch as well. Even in the changing room, he's vocal, he's a vocal presence and he lifts our spirits.

"It's important to have leaders in the team, and Ryan certainly is that in terms of the way he goes about himself, and having him back in and around the squad's going to be good for us going forward. It's a great feeling having those sorts of guys back in and getting players back from injury, that boosts the morale too, so long may that continue."

(Posted: Friday, 24th November 2023)

Bangor goalscorer Ben Arthurs admits it was a disappointment to have to settle for a draw against high-flying Portadown.

The hosts held a two-goal lead right until the closing minutes of this Playr-Fit Championship encounter, when Dougie Wilson and Eamon Fyfe strikes cancelled out a couple of fantastic first-half drives by Arthurs and midfield maestro Lewis Harrison. The Kircubbin striker, who broke the deadlock 16 minutes into proceedings at Clandeboye Park – he chested down David Hume’s whipped delivery from the right before venomously powering past Aaron Hogg in the Ports goal – moved into double digits for goals across all competitions in that moment before captain Harrison volleyed in a stunning second that doubled the advantage just before the half-hour.

But the Seasiders were to be clawed back by Niall Currie’s travellers in the latter stages and denied back-to-back victories over the Shamrock Park outfit, who had earlier been defeated in the first match-up back in August.

“We were disappointed after the game, it did feel more like two points dropped. A few of the boys were saying in the club, you know, they’d have taken a point before, but just the way the game panned out… it was disappointing.

“We’re into a two-goal lead, it was two great finishes in the end from me and Lewis to build that up and put us on the front foot, but they scored two goals in the 84th and 91st minutes and obviously they’re back up the road with a point. Portadown are one of the best teams in the league, they’re one of the best teams we’ll face and obviously, with that in mind, it’d have been a great result to get back to winning ways, a big game to win at home. That would’ve been great, it was great to see and play in front of such a big crowd as well, but it wasn’t quite to be.”

Ben Arthurs

A winless run of five matches would ordinarily be cause for concern, but that isn’t really the case on the Clandeboye Road. Yellows boss Lee Feeney was pleased by the standard of performance against both H&W Welders (a 1-1 draw at home) and Newington (a 2-1 away defeat) and foresaw a results upturn sooner rather than later. The Kilkeel supremo almost got that against the Ports, but Bangor’s recent tale of so near yet so far is prolonged just a little bit longer. Arthurs, who bagged his 116th finish in yellow and blue on Saturday and has now notched up double-digit goalscoring campaigns at the second, third and fourth-tiers, wants to provide a fresh injection and boost his numbers to inspire a welcome return to winning ways.

“Yeah, that’s me up to 10 goals this season, it’s a good milestone but I feel I can do better. I think I’m on five in terms of the league, that was my fifth there, so I’m wanting to get to the stage where I’m scoring near enough every week and I’m looking to close the gap on those who are sort of at the top of the charts.

“Goalscoring’s a job for players like me and the likes of Adam (Neale), so I’m fully wanting to keep pushing on and picking up more points for the team with my goals.

“Against the Welders, I probably hold myself accountable, and Newington as well… I’d great chances in those games, I hit the post against the Welders, and then against Newington, you know, I’d two really good opportunities in the first half – one, to be fair, it was great reflexes from the keeper, and the other I feel I really should’ve scored two or three minutes in and that has us on the board early.

“Even against Portadown, there were a couple of times I went close – I’d a header that I just put wide and then there was one I tried to chip the keeper, and if they go in, then you’re on the way and out of sight, but that has me motivated, I’m always going into games believing I can score more goals.

“But you have to take those in your stride and always demand more of yourself, so I was glad to get on the scoresheet against Portadown, but that’s now five games without a win so we also really want to put three points on the board.

“The past three weeks, we’re feeling like we could’ve had nine points out of those games but it hasn’t happened for us. Against Institute and Ballinamallard, it wasn’t good enough those days but I also didn’t feel like they were 3-0 or 4-0 games, so we’re not concerned about performances, really.

“I know my role in the team, a lot of it is about finishing off the chances others create – and we have been, the whole team has – and that’s what I want to do, we’re not far from getting back to winning ways and I want to score goals that help us to wins.”

25-year-old sharp-shooter Arthurs went on to pay tribute to the collective spirit inside the dressing room and reckons it will underpin their future successes. The motivation is high to put three seemingly elusive points on the board, with Bangor next leaving their calling card at the BMG Arena when facing Annagh United this Saturday.

“I love our changing room,” adds Arthurs. “I love being a part of it, honestly, this squad.

“There’s a great buzz around the club, we’re playing in front of big crowds every week and we’re all out there, in terms of the personalities in there, we’re all fighting for each other.

“The team spirit is top level, we’re all out there working hard and we’ll be going into training this week confident that we can knock it on the head, this run of games without a win, and go into the weekend believing we can win the game.

“It’s starting to click in terms of the way we’re playing, we know what we need to do in terms of how we play and it’s just about going into games now and getting the job done.

“It’s another tough game against Annagh this Saturday, but I believe we’ve got the character and the standard of performances to go and get a result.”

Ben Arthurs

(Posted: Monday, 20th November 2023)

SEASIDERS SEAL LOCAL BRAGGING RIGHTS

Bangor Reserves bagged the first regional bragging rights of the season when they overcame their Ards counterparts at Londonderry Park on Saturday.

The Seasiders were up to their tricks right from the off, with Ryan Arthur – who was making his first competitive appearance since a serious ankle injury ruled him out of action in pre-season – opening the scoring just 90 minutes in when he looped a header in off the underside of the crossbar.

David Downes' charges continued to create chances, but near-misses and woodwork strikes, which striker Jay Boyd did against his former employers when his venomous bobbling drive rebounded off the upright, kept the advantage at one right up until added-time. An instinctive close-range finish from Sonny Redford after Charley Craig had sent the ball into the area doubled the lead right on the stroke of half-time.

A scoreless second half was again punctuated by goalscoring opportunities, with Bangor seeing out the clean sheet and moving up to 22 points from 24 in the Championship/PIL Development League. They are next in action this coming Saturday when Institute are the visitors to Clandeboye Park, with kick-off timetabled for 11am.

I KNOW WE CAN BE EVEN MORE CLINICAL, DECLARES BANGOR RESERVES BOSS DAVID DOWNES

Bangor Reserves manager David Downes revealed that he felt a tad disappointed despite coming away with the regional bragging rights on Saturday.

That's because he felt there were chances to make their eventual 2-0 winning scoreline over Ards Reserves even bigger, praising the performance on and off the ball but also pointing out that he wants standards in front of goal to stay as high as possible.

Downes went on to praise his squad depth and the overall quality of players at his disposal, and he believes the collective fight around the squad can keep the club flying high at the top of the Championship/PIL Development League. A collective hunger across a young squad to fight for each other and provide healthy competition, he believes, will underpin the Seasiders' title push and help them stay on the winning path.

"I was a bit disappointed, actually," admitted the Reserves boss. "I was disappointed more that we didn't really have the clinical edge where I'd have liked it.

"I felt we'd the chances to have the game wrapped up before half-time. I felt we were doing everything right, how we were building up attacks, how we were off the ball and the way we were pressing, but we weren't as efficient in front of goal which we always want to stay sharp in. We got the two goals in the first half, but there were chances to add to that. We had a goal disallowed (from Sonny Redford), we hit the woodwork (through Jay Boyd) and we had a couple of moments where the ball just went around the post.

"The beauty of it is, though, there's so much competition for places in our squad that no one knows who's starting week in, week out. Some squads, you might have players who you know are going to be in the team, but our squad and our strength in depth is so good that our players never have a place locked down and know they need to fight for their place in the team.

"With our centre-forwards, we have brilliant strength in depth. We had Sonny and Jay playing up top today, we'd Charley (Craig) on the pitch (playing right wing-back), we'd Callum (Johnston) and Jude (Carlisle) as well who came off the bench and made a positive impact. It really is a game by game, if there's a player who's in-form and scoring goals then they'll get the nod, but I know I've someone who's hungry and waiting to make their chances count when the opportunity comes. I think that's a great place to be in, the players work hard for each other and that's all part of the culture I've wanted to bring to this set-up. I'm very pleased with that."

(Posted: Monday, 20th November 2023)

Bangor let a two goal lead slip in a thrilling game at Clandeboye Park this afternoon.

Ben Arthurs controlled a deep cross from David Hume and lashed in the opener past Hogg in the 16th minute. 14 minutes later, Captain Lewis Harrison rifled in the second with a spectacular volley.

The Seasiders looked to be heading for all three points until the 84th minute when Wilson scrambled one back for Portadown. The Portadown equaliser from Fyfe came one minute in to injury time.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, B.Walker, D.Hume, R.Neale, L.Francis, J.Henderson, L.Harrison, B.Cushnie(A.Neale), S.McArthur(K.Devine), B.Arthurs, T.Mathieson(D.O'Kane).
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Halliday, R.Arthur, R.Wright

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 25th November 2023 - ANNAGH UNITED v BANGOR, Championship, BMG Arena, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 18th November 2023)

Saturday, November 18 – Bangor vs Portadown, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3pm kick-off

Bangor return to home soil in the Playr-Fit Championship this Saturday when they welcome high-flying Portadown to Clandeboye Park.

, the relegated side from last season's Premiership, could take top spot if they avoid defeat on their foray east, but Niall Currie will not settle for second-best as Bangor, on 21 points, look to get back on the winning trail and into the top half again, which could happen with a victory this weekend.

Both teams have their respective reasons to win, which should make for a pulsating affair this weekend.

Bangor boss Lee Feeney has spoken of the determination within the playing camp to put things right and end a four-game winless streak against Portadown in the Playr-Fit Championship.

The promotion-chasing Ports travel to Clandeboye Park hungry to atone for when the Seasiders took all three points on their trip to Shamrock Park in late August, when Scott McArthur's 12th-minute strike proved enough to secure victory in a fantastic display by Feeney's men. Although it is later in the season, with Niall Currie's side second-placed in the league, the Kilkeel chief is confident his men have the keys to complete another victory.

"We were hurting after that (against Newington), but we're dusting ourselves down quickly and focusing on this game," Feeney insisted.

"Portadown's going to be a huge challenge for us, no doubt about it, but I'm looking back at the last two performances and I've seen plenty of positives from those games and where we need to improve to get a result.

"They're a strong team, but I think that (recent results) makes us fired up to go out and produce a performance. The first time we played them, we put on a really outstanding performance up at their place and it was good enough to beat them, and I'm confident in the boys, I'm confident that we can get back on the right track again and pick up a result."

(Posted: Friday, 17th November 2023)

Saturday, November 18 – Ards vs Bangor, Championship/PIL Development League, Londonderry Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves midfielder Mitchel Watterson is in high spirits ahead of this week's North Down Derby against Ards, where the young Seasiders will aim to record their seventh win in eight matches in the Championship/PIL Development League.

After a fantastic 3-1 victory over H&W Welders in what was billed as a first-versus-second battle, David Downes' charges rose to the occasion – particularly Watterson, who struck twice to help consolidate the three points at Clandeboye Park.

As the action turns to Londonderry Park against Ards, who are ninth-place in the division with nine points from six matches, Watterson believes his team's recent form gives them a big boost going into a highly charged tussle where regional bragging rights are at stake.

"Yeah, it's good for the lads to be going in with a winning mentality, and we've been doing well," he says.

"So, it's a big game against Ards and we'll prepare well and do the exact same that we did against the Welders."

(Posted: Friday, 17th November 2023)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney praised a positive performance but lamented the lack of reward as the side fell 2-1 to Newington on Saturday.

The boss pointed to a first half where he felt his Seasiders had enough chances to decide the outcome there and then but failed to convert, rueing his squad’s luck thereafter as strikes by Neil Cummings and Zach Barr saw the Swans race into a two-goal lead at Inver Park in Larne.

Defensively, Feeney also reserved plaudits for what he deemed to be an organised showing – excluding during the build-up to the ‘Ton’s finishes – and, although Ben Arthurs’ well-placed finish three minutes from time was not to yield any points to take home, felt the creativity on offer inspired hope that it is not for the want of trying.

Insisting that performances have continued to meet his expectations despite a run of four matches without a win, the Kilkeel supremo has no cause for concern but says he will keep trying to enhance his panel’s efficiency at both ends of the pitch.

“No one’s more hurt than the players."
Lee Feeney

"The first half, we were dominating the game, we controlled the play. We were creating chances, I felt we created enough chances to be maybe 2, 3-0 up at half-time, and I felt we were defending our territory really well; we were defending well in our own half and the opposition half and they (Newington) weren’t creating any chances. I told the boys at half-time, when we went in and it was 0-0… it’s a ruthless league. Teams are ruthless at this level, and they come out and they score right at the start of the second half and, after that, they score a second. They were probably the only times in the game that we let our guard down in defence and we were punished for it, and we accept that; it was tough to take at the end.

“Overall, I felt we were well-organised in terms of our shape, and there were three, four, five colossal performances in there. I wouldn’t say there was anyone who played badly, everyone did okay, and there were a lot of players in there who didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. It’s just coming back to that again, being better in both boxes, and we’ll keep working hard in training on that. I believe it will click at some point… Ben (Arthurs) and Adam (Neale), yes, it’s been a step up in level, but they’re two players who both got 20-plus goals last season, so I think the best is still to come from them.

“It’d be more concerning for me, especially going into a big, big game against Portadown, if we were losing games and playing poorly, but we’re coming in on the back of playing really well last week (against H&W Welders) and playing well again here. It’s not a case of performances not being there, it’s just about quality in both boxes and improving that. It probably was one of the toughest defeats to take because of how well we played, but we took our medicine, we’ll learn from it.”

Feeney was also pleased to welcome back some wounded warriors, with striker Ben Cushnie and centre-back Lewis Francis returning from respective injury absences to enter the fray off the bench against Newington. The manager was boosted by their comebacks after each spent several weeks rehabilitating, but he added that he would not use injuries as an excuse given the modern nature of football.

He said: “It’s always good to get bodies back in, and we have been operating at the bare bones in recent weeks with players being out. We’re now starting to get some of those who had been missing back playing again. We’ve Ben Cushnie, we’ve Lewis Francis, both came off the bench and that was a positive, that’s strengthened our depth a bit more. But at the same time, we’re not making excuses for ourselves or using that as an excuse to drop our standards. When you’re in that situation, you’re counting on the rest of the squad to cover and plug some of those holes, fill in and do a job when we are short on numbers.

“You’ve got Sean Brown there, who’s spent most of the season playing right centre-back – we signed him as a right wing-back. You’ve Reece Neale who’s playing left centre-back and came in as a left wing-back. I think it’s the demands of modern football now that players have to be able to play in at least two positions, and that’s what I want to see – players working at a high standard wherever they’re asked to play. I’ve been pleased with that, with the attitude of the players to perform different roles when I’ve asked them to.”

(Posted: Monday, 13th November 2023)

Bangor FC Ladies were in action on Friday night in the Women's NI Futsal Super League, when they tasted defeat for the first time this season against Crusaders Strikers.

Bidding to follow up a 9-0 victory on the opening night against Ballyclare Comrades Ladies a fortnight ago, it wasn't quite to be for those in yellow and blue this week as the Crues ran out 5-2 winners at Shankill Leisure Centre.

Olivia Brown found the net for the second successive match-day when she hit the target against the north Belfast side, while Robyn McFadden also added her name to the goal count for the first time this term, but it wasn't enough to gain a points reward from the contest.

The squad will be hopeful of returning to winning fortunes when they make the step into their third outing of the campaign

(Posted: Monday, 13th November 2023)

Bangor Reserves produced a fantastic performance to inflict a first defeat of the season upon Harland and Wolff Welders' U21 side and remain top of the Championship/PIL Development League.

A first half that was punctuated by several sequences of good play also brought two goals, with Ruairi Wright and then Mitchel Watterson hitting the target to hand David Downes' men a deserved advantage at half-time. Wright opened the scoring after 17 minutes and was alert to prod past Welders shot-stopper Yusuf Mersin for the opener, while Watterson's finish off the post just before the half-hour mark doubled the lead in an encounter of the league's top two.

The east Belfast side pulled a goal back when a low shot slipped through the grasp of Marc Orbinson and into the net on 65 minutes, but Mitchel Watterson made the points safe 12 minutes from time with a fine finish when he shrugged off a defender, rounded Mersin and slotted low and in.

Against opposition boasting Welders first-teamers like Mersin, Ewan McCoubrey, Callum Byers and Jonny Frazer, Downes was left well impressed come the finish as Bangor rise to 19 points from a possible 21 ahead of next weekend's North Down Derby against Ards.


"WE SHOWED STEEL AND DISCIPLINE TO BEAT WELDERS."
Mitchel Watterson

Bangor Reserves' two-goal hero Mitchel Watterson felt his side put their mental resolve on full display to fend off the response of Harland and Wolff Welders U21 in yesterday's top-of-the-table league clash.

Midfielder Watterson bagged well-taken finishes either side of half-time that added to Ruairi Wright's first-half opener – the second of which came after the Welders had clawed back to within one goal of snatching a draw. p>But the teenager showed class and composure to round the east Belfast team's stopper Yusuf Mersin and slot low into the net, putting the cherry on top of a 3-1 victory that keeps David Downes' squad atop the Championship/PIL Development League table.

Watterson, who made his first senior match-day squad appearance in the 4-0 defeat to Institute at the Brandywell last month, found it an enjoyable game to be a part of against a Welders panel that also included Ewan McCoubrey, Jonny Frazer and Callum Byers, and he was pleased with the squad's overall discipline to secure three important points.

He explained: "Yep, it was a good game, obviously the first goal came across the box, took it well, post and in, and into half-time, it's just keeping discipline – the whole team, not just me but everyone.

"We came out the second half, they were kind of all over us, they came out guns blazing... we just had to make sure we had to keep the line and keep disciplined.

"Second goal, it was crucial, we needed to get it. The next goal (with the score 2-1) was obviously the most important goal; if they (the Welders) got it, they were back in it, but I'm glad I got the two goals and played well, so I'm glad we got the win.

"They came out (for the second half), and it's always, it's football, they always want to come out second half and be on top of you, but you just need to learn to deal with that and cut out the individual mistakes. But I thought we dealt with it well, and we went out and got the next goal (after conceding) and we dealt with it well."

Mitchel Watterson

(Posted: Monday, 13th November 2023)

Newington wrapped up all three points at Inver Park yesterday as Ben Arthurs' late strike proved not to be enough for Bangor to claim a share of the spoils.

The hosts won this Playr-Fit Championship encounter between two sides who started the day level on points, with Lee Feeney's Seasiders staying on 21 and dropping down to eighth-place in the Playr-Fit Championship table.

After a first half where the visitors piled on the pressure but were unable to break the deadlock, Newington drew first blood just two minutes following the restart when Neil Cummings put them in front. The Swans doubled their advantage midway through the second period when Zach Barr found the net after making a darting run behind the defence, with Bangor left chasing the game at that point.

Arthurs converted on 87 minutes after Scott McArthur offered him a route to goal, but the 'Ton saw out the remainder of the contest and held on to secure the victory. Bangor will hope for better fortunes when they host Portadown in the Playr-Fit Championship next weekend (kick-off 3pm).

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, S.Foster(T.Mathieson), D.Hume(L.Francis), S.Brown, B.Walker, K.Devine(B.Cushnie), L.Harrison, D.O'Kane, A.Neale(S.McArthur), B.Arthurs.
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Halliday

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 18th November - BANGOR v PORTADOWN, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00PM

(Posted: Saturday, 11th November 2023)

Bangor FC is delighted to announce a new partnership with Doyle Shipping Group and have the company's support for the future endeavours of the 2023/24 campaign.

The sponsorship will see the Doyle Shipping Group logo visible on the men’s first-team tracksuits throughout the season. We are thankful for their backing, which is reflected by their logo's appearance on our training gear.

(Posted: Friday, 10th November 2023)

After ending a two-game losing streak with last Saturday's 1-1 draw against H&W Welders, Bangor will bid to record three points when they travel to Larne to face Newington this Remembrance weekend.

The Seasiders, chasing a first victory since the 5-1 success at Knockbreda in the middle of October, will do battle with the Swans as equals – the sides are locked together on 21 points, with Newington ahead in the standings in sixth-place courtesy of merely goals scored.

Lee Feeney watched his charges defeat the 'Ton in the first meeting at Clandeboye Park, when Tom Mathieson struck a last-minute winner to add to Ben Cushnie's opener in a 2-1 victory, and a similar outcome for the Bangor boss would hardly go unwelcome.

(Posted: Friday, 10th November 2023)

Bangor manager Lee Feeney has warned that Newington will be ready to pounce should the Seasiders drop off from the high levels he felt his players set themselves last weekend.

Feeney was full of praise for the way his charges acquitted themselves in the 1-1 draw with H&W Welders, when Adam Neale's third goal of the campaign cancelled out Matthew Ferguson's third-minute opener for the visitors, and admitted stopping the slide with a sharing of the spoils at Clandeboye Park last Saturday was just the tonic after heavy defeats to Institute (4-0) and Ballinamallard United (3-0).

But the Kilkeel supremo insists that is no cause for a let-up and expects his team to be just as sharp when taking on the Swans at Larne's Inver Park in the next Playr-Fit Championship outing.

Although Newington have had the brakes put on a thrilling start to the campaign, losing six of their last seven league matches following a mirror run of six victories in seven that set them off on a flyer, Feeney knows that any hint of complacency will be pounced on by the hosts.

"We've seen it with this league, you know," he says. "Any team can beat any team on any given day, and you can't go into any game expecting the points just to be handed to you.

"The middle of the league is so tight, and that's where we are at the moment. From our point of view, we were happy to put a point on the board, and we're hoping that'll be the platform that puts us back on the right track.

"We'll be preparing this week (for the game against Newington) and we'll be organising our game-plan to make sure we're in the best position to go out and deliver a performance. You find that if you make mistakes in this league, against any team, you'll get punished for it, and that's where we need to make sure we're on it and be at our best and put another win on the board."

Lee Feeney

Kick-off at Inver Park this Saturday, November 11, is at 3pm.

(Posted: Friday, 10th November 2023)

Saturday, November 11 – Bangor Reserves vs Harland and Wolff Welders U21, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves are involved in a mouthwatering battle of first against second at Clandeboye Park when they take on H&W Welders' young guns on Saturday morning.

The Seasiders, who lead the league on 16 points, are trailed by merely one point by their east Belfast visitors, who are a perfect five from five from their league matches played to date.

With a match in hand on their hosts, the Welders know they will wrestle the top spot off Bangor and take it for themselves should they secure all three points, hence home supremo David Downes will have his players fired up to deliver after extending their strong start last weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Queen's University. Charley Craig scored the winner in an otherwise scrappy affair, and he and his team-mates will look to continue their imposing form with a statement success this time around.

Kick-off at Clandeboye Park this Saturday, November 11, is at 11am.

(Posted: Friday, 10th November 2023)

CRAIG WINNER FOR SEASIDERS

Bangor Reserves' return to league action did not come with a deviation from winning ways as Charley Craig struck the only goal of the game to take down Queen's University.

A scrappy encounter at The Dub in south Belfast was to be decided by one moment of joy for striker Craig, who ensured that Bangor had picked up 16 of the 18 points on offer to date in the Championship/PIL Development League.

It also sees the Seasiders retain their status as division pacesetters with half a dozen league matches contested, only dropping points against Portadown at the end of September and winning each of the other five games to keep a three-point lead over second-placed Institute. After the players kept ticking over by overcoming Magherafelt Sky Blues 5-2 in a friendly, that translated well to edge this tight clash and put three more points in the bank.

The Under-20s are next in action against Harland and Wolff Welders at Clandeboye Park next Saturday, November 11. Kick-off is at 11am.

(Posted: Monday, 6th November 2023)

Although disappointed not to net three points at a sunny Clandeboye Park on Saturday, Lee Feeney declared himself satisfied with the efforts of his Bangor players as they stopped their brief losing rot in the Playr-Fit Championship.

After sharp-shooting Matthew Ferguson put Harland and Wolff Welders a goal to the good inside three minutes, Adam Neale’s reply just after the half-hour brought parity back to the scoreline – and 1-1 it stayed for the remainder as both sides settled for a draw and a share of the spoils having also played out a goalless stalemate at Blanchflower Park in September.

The Seasiders, having scored none and conceded seven in bitter reversals to Institute and Ballinamallard United in the past fortnight, had chances to nudge the game, but two teams who started the day locked on 20 points are each one better off but remain evenly matched. A winner by nature, home boss Feeney – who reserved special praise for goalscorer Neale, strike partner Ben Arthurs and his younger brother Reece when reflecting post-match – felt the victory was in sight, but a strong collective display was enough to inspire him that the turbulence of late has been left behind.

“I was really pleased with the performance,” the Kilkeel manager said. “I felt on Saturday, there were some real big performances; there were so many players who stood up. The past two weeks, looking back, obviously they were two heavy enough defeats and even though I didn’t feel we were that far out of the game, but we didn’t really have those big performances.

“I felt there were some colossal performances out there, and I don’t mind naming them – Reece Neale, I thought he was absolutely outstanding, and big Ben Arthurs, too; when he’s on top form, he can be unplayable at times.

Reece, I thought he really led the team from the back, and he’s a young pup still in football years but he has a top, top personality. He’s a real leader. He’s a huge character in the dressing room and I felt his overall performance really showed how he gets people up for games. And Ben, I felt on Saturday that he was more aggressive, he was a bit more angry, and I was saying to him to go out there and be like that. The way he won that header (for the goal), the way he knocked the other guy off, the hunger and desire to win it and get it into the six-yard area… I was delighted with that, and that’s what I know he’s capable of. For me, when he’s got that aggression, it makes him a better player.”

The direct link-up between his strikers for the equaliser, when Arthurs won his aerial battle and teed up Neale to nod past Welders shot-stopper Yusuf Mersin from six yards out, was a welcome sight for Feeney.

The 30-year-old Ballynahinch forward notched up his third finish of the campaign, and it has been a stop-start pursuit of goals since the step-up to Championship level, but Clandeboye chief Feeney felt it was just reward for how Neale has been acquitting himself during games.

“I was delighted to see the two of them combine for the goal,” the manager continued. “Adam’s maybe not had it all his own way in front of goal this season, but he works so hard for the team, he’s got a super attitude and I’m glad for him that he got his goal, which was a great piece of anticipation from him as well.He’s been trying to make it happen; he’s not had the luck of it but he’s been working to get in those types of positions and be on the end of those types of chances. He got in ahead of the ‘keeper and he made sure he put the ball in the net. Hopefully now, this is the start of a run for Adam.”

On the duo’s partnership that yielded 58 strikes in last season’s double-winning escapade, he added: “I trust Adam and Ben, and even when they’ve not been scoring, I trust both of them to go out there and do a job, lead from the front and really lift those around them. That’s why they’ve been starting games together and I’ve seen no need to change. I trust them, the coaches trust them, their team-mates trust them, and I know they’ve got what it takes to make a difference, and I’m glad they did.”

Feeney also reinforced his admiration for the character and personality of his dressing room, elaborating on why he was never in doubt that his charges would return to better fortunes. The ex-Linfield and Rangers star also challenged them to keep that mindset up and, even if it did not result in three points at the weekend, that spirit and level of chance creation is what is needed to secure the maximum fruits going forward.

“We’d chances to win the game, Ben was unlucky hitting the woodwork a couple of times and I felt we bossed the play for large amounts of the game,” reflected Feeney. “There was the chance right at the end, I thought it was in – the (Welders) ‘keeper spilt the ball with the last kick, I thought it was going to go over the line but, to be fair to him, he did well to regather himself. It was a bit disappointing from that point of view, that we could’ve won it, but it’s massively positive we’ve stopped that wee mini-run and got a good point.

“As I’ve said, there’s great characters in that dressing room – and for being a young squad, too, a lot of young players in there, the collective mentality for such a young group, it really is brilliant. Injuries have brought us down to the bare bones recently, and we’re looking forward to getting more bodies back, but as long as they have that belief, they can do anything.”

(Posted: Monday, 6th November 2023)

A first half Adam Neale header from a Ben Arthurs cross levelled matters for Bangor as the Seasiders played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with H&W Welders at Clandeboye Park this afternoon.

Bangor had fallen behind to a Matthew Ferguson header in the 3rd minute before Adam Neale pounced to nod the ball past Mersin in the 31st minute. Ben Arthurs was unlucky not to get himself on the scoresheet, hitting the Welders crossbar in the first half and then striking the upright in the 62nd minute. Welders keeper Mersin got down to deny Arthurs in the closing seconds as he just about managed to stop his low shot from crossing the line.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, D.Hume, A.Omar(S.Foster), S.Brown, B.Walker, K.Devine(D.O'Kane), L.Harrison, S.McArthur(J.Henderson), B.Arthurs, A.Neale(T.Mathieson).
Subs: M.Orbinson, J.Hughes, M.Halliday

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 11th November, NEWINGTON v BANGOR, Championship, Inver Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 4th November 2023)

After a run of two successive defeats, Bangor will have a particular keenness to return to winning ways when taking on Harland and Wolff Welders in a finely poised Playr-Fit Championship encounter.

Two teams that are separated by one place and no points, and who played out a goalless draw in the first meeting of the sides in mid-September, the winner will hope to gain at the loser's expense – and in the Seasiders' case, that would mean leapfrogging their east Belfast-based visitors and moving back into the top half of the table following successive defeats to Institute (4-0) and Ballinamallard United (3-0) throughout the last fortnight.

Paul Kee's Welders, who themselves were on a run of two straight losses prior to last week's comeback triumph over Stute – they hit four goals in the final 20 minutes at Blanchflower Park to win 4-1, with the visitors having been reduced to 10 men in the first half – are hoping to surge up the table, and that latest win continues a trend whereby four of their six league successes to date had come after they conceded the first goal. They also possess the joint-top marksman in the division, Matthew Ferguson, who bolstered his tally of nine with a brace last week.

And with 25 goals scored in total, Bangor boss Lee Feeney is wary of the threat the yellow-and-black-shirted outfit will pose. Nevertheless, his and his team's determination to offer a response will be through the roof, and after that home reversal to the Mallards in unenviable weather conditions last time out, the manager will be hopeful that his charges have a spring in their step.

Don't forget our NEW BOBBLE HATS and SCARVES have arrived and are available to purchase from the club shop at Clandeboye Park, both priced at £15, and if you can't make it to the ground, simply email media@bangorfc.com and we'll get you sorted.

Saturday, November 4 – Queen's University U21 vs Bangor Reserves, Championship/PIL Development League, The Dub, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves are back in competitive action after a three-week hiatus to take on Queen's University's young guns at The Dub on Saturday.

As David Downes' charges sit atop the Championship/PIL Development League table having pocketed 13 out of the 15 points on offer, the Seasiders will aim to notch up a fifth league victory of the campaign when they travel to south Belfast this weekend.

The Students, who are 13th-placed out of 16 teams but enter on the back of a 1-0 victory at Institute last time out, will be fired up to surge their way up the table, and Bangor – who produced an encouraging performance to overcome Magherafelt Sky Blues 5-2 in a friendly that showed few signs of rust – must once again deliver to their usual high standards to avoid being caught in the hosts' firing line. They delivered a hugely brimming second-half display and came from behind to take down Newington U21 in their last league outing in mid-October, and that is the vein Downes will want his players to continue in.

Having expressed his delight at the brand of football being unleashed and the number of players from his squad receiving first-team call-ups, the manager has a squad high on confidence and will once again look to put the opposition under the sword. Kick-off at the Malone Road complex on Saturday is at 11am.

(Posted: Friday, 3rd November 2023)

With no league game last week, Bangor Reserves were on the road for a friendly at the Meadowbank Sports Arena to face Magherafelt Sky Blues and kept up their winning form this campaign with a 5-2 success.

The Seasiders were required to be patient early on but broke the deadlock in the first half through Callum Johnston, who also had a penalty saved in the first half. An own goal by Jacob Chisholm as he tried to clear the ball meant it was level at the break.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with the Reserves dominating the possession, with Callum Johnston making good on it when he doubled up to make it 2-1, but Magherafelt struck again and levelled for the second time in the game after a defensive mix-up following a route one ball over the top was pounced on by the Magherafelt striker, who finished well.

An own goal after a Ruairi Wright cross into the box was followed by a fourth, which was finished off by Adam Ambrose. The fifth strike that secured the win for those in yellow and blue came shortly after, as Kristian Trainor sensationally scored directly from a corner kick.

Jude Carlisle got his first full start for the Under-20s this season and was outstanding in central midfield, giving manager Davy Downes a headache for next week's selection. Callum Johnston also staked a claim for another start after banging in two goals and hitting the crossbar.

Downes was delighted with the "unbelievable" standard of football in a "positive friendly with plenty of positives from the game" and pointed to some other fantastic pieces of play that could have added even more gloss to the scoreline.

The Reserves boss reflected: "There were also two fantastic moves from keeper to centre-forward from us. One move must have been 15 or 16 consecutive passes but narrowly missed the target by Sonny Redford, and the other from the goalkeeper, across the backline, down the right into the central midfielder then out to the left, the ball across the six-yard box but the striker was just wide of the target.

"The boys are playing possession-based football with massive confidence all over the team. If we can be more clinical in the final third, then we will be very strong all over the pitch. Then it’s just about consistency."

Downes will hope to keep that momentum flowing with Bangor back in competitive action in the Championship/PIL Development League this Saturday, November 4, when they travel to Queen's University. Kick-off at The Dub is at 11am

Lee Feeney was methodical in where he felt the weekend encounter with Ballinamallard United was won and lost – and sees no reason to panic as he bids to get Bangor back to winning ways again.

p>The Seasiders fell to a second successive defeat in the Playr-Fit Championship on Saturday, when the Mallards triumphed 3-0 at a wet and windy Clandeboye Park in an outing which saw the hosts drop to seventh-place in the standings.

First-half finishes by Darragh Byrne and Simon Warrington were added to after the interval by a Jamie McGrath free-kick that wrapped up the points for the visitors to tuck away with them on the road back to Co Fermanagh. In a battle of the birds, Mark Stafford’s Ducks atoned for when their Seagull counterparts conquered them by the same scoreline at Ferney Park in early September, piling on the woe for Bangor after the previous week’s 4-0 reversal at the Brandywell against Institute.

But while fortune may not have favoured those in yellow and blue lately, Feeney is refusing to get swept away and believes there is no reason to panic as he aims to turn the tide sooner rather than later.

"Yeah, it’s exactly that, it’s a bump in the road," the Bangor boss said. "Well, I would say it’s more like a mountain in the road, as we’re obviously now coming on the back of two games where we’ve conceded seven and scored none. We need to be better in both boxes to get over that mountain. Looking back at the game, I would say we had most of the play, most of the possession, and they (Ballinamallard) had four real goalscoring chances and scored three of them. They had four real good goalscoring chances throughout the 90 minutes."

They had another, a header in a good position from a corner, but they had three really good opportunities and scored three goals. That was the difference between them and us on the day. They took their chances… I’d say they deserved the win for how they defended as well, they did a good job, but for us, we’d times where we just didn’t pick out the right final ball, and we need to be intelligent in and around the penalty area and be more ruthless.

We didn’t make the most of our chances when we were building up towards the final third, and I felt it was the same as last week (against Institute) – if we get the first goal, that could shift the momentum, but it wasn’t to be."

Some of the harsher realities of the Championship have been dished out to Bangor recently, and that puts extra demands on the players to find a way out of the rocky waves and back to calmer waters. Feeney is in no doubt, though, that he has the personalities in his squad to do just that.

"It’s fine margins in this league and we need to work on rectifying that, but I also have a top, top dressing room; there’s a lot of great characters in there, a lot of winning mentalities and the personalities to come back from a setback like this."

"There are players in there, obviously a lot of them in there from last year, who won trophies and who know how to perform under pressure, and I’m confident in them to respond and I’m confident things will get better. That’s why I’m really looking forward to playing the Welders, even with the last two results. We’ll work on things in the week and I believe we’ll come back fighting."

by Lewis Bennett
(Posted: Monday, 30th October 2023)

It was a good day for ducks as Ballinamallard United swept Bangor away in torrential Clandeboye Park rain this afternoon.

The Bangor defence were caught flat-footed in the 11th minute when a pull back from the byeline was swept home by Darragh Byrne. A defensive slip in the 34th minute let in Warrington to smash the ball past Taylor for Ballinamallard's second.

James McGrath curled a free-kick past James Taylor six minutes into the second half to complete the scoring on a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the Seasiders.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster(T.Mathieson), R.Neale, A.Omar, S.Brown, B.Walker(M.Halliday), J.Henderson(S.McArthur), K.Devine(D.O'Kane), L.Harrison, B.Arthurs, A.Neale.
Subs: M.Orbinson, J.Hughes

(Posted: Saturday, 28th October 2023)

Saturday, October 28 – Bangor vs Ballinamallard United, Playr-Fit Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3pm kick-off

After a run of five away games in the last six outings, Bangor will tackle the first of two home matches in succession in the Playr-Fit Championship as Ballinamallard United visit Clandeboye Park this Saturday.

Lee Feeney is readying his currently fourth-placed troops to respond in style following last weekend's 4-0 defeat to Institute at the Brandywell, with the Mallards making the long trip from Co Fermanagh desperate to atone for a 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture last month.

Ballinamallard, who remain under the interim tutelage of respected defender Mark Stafford following Harry McConkey's recent exit from the Ferney Park hotseat, were winners over Ballyclare Comrades last Saturday – and that victory, secured courtesy of Simon Warrington's solitary strike just after the hour mark, means they enter this clash in ninth-place and having not lost any of their last four games in the division.

Bangor could rise back above Institute and into third should results fall their way on Saturday, but a return to winning ways in front of their own fans – the Seagulls had won each of the previous two league matches beforehand, scoring eight goals in the process at home to Annagh United (3-1) and away to Knockbreda (5-1) – will be the priority aim for Feeney after a humbling time of it in the north west. Ending October on a high note and leaving the ghosts of Saturday past behind with three points here would be just the treat on Halloween weekend.

Match sponsor: Peter Ewart

Ball sponsor: Henderson Memorials

(Posted: Friday, 27th October 2023)

There was little joy for the Seasiders this afternoon on Bangor's first trip to the Brandywell in over 50 years.

Shaun Leppard opened the scoring for Institute in the 17th minute when he was quickest to react to a loose ball in the area and fired it past Taylor. Bangor were then rocked by three second half goals from the impressive Kirk McLaughlin. Bangor's best chance of the afternoon fell to Adam Neale in the second half, but he could only blast his shot straight at Muldoon.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, S.Foster, A.Omar, S.Brown, B.Walker, J.Henderson(S.McArthur), K.Devine(D.Hume), L.Harrison(D.O'Kane), A.Neale(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs(T.Mathieson).
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Watterson

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 28th October, BANGOR v BALLINAMALLARD UNITED, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 21st October 2023)

Saturday, October 21 – Institute vs Bangor, Playr-Fit Championship, Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, 3pm kick-off

This Saturday, Bangor are bound for the north west when they travel to Institute in the 12th match of this season's Playr-Fit Championship.

The Seasiders enter the clash having signed off the first third of the pre-split with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Knockbreda, entering this match-up at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium in third-place – one position and one point ahead of their hosts.

Stute thought they had snatched a victory at Clandeboye Park in the first meeting of the teams back in early September, but Lewis Francis' header instead saw Bangor steal a point right at the death. The centre-back's composed finish in the seventh minute of second-half added-time had secured an almightily dramatic 1-1 draw, but his second goal of the campaign was rather one that added comfort; another header following the interval that put Lee Feeney's men 5-0 up at Breda Park on a rare Sunday kick-off.

As a result of that success in the Castlereagh Hills, blotted only by Matthew Henry's late consolation after he capitalised on a mix-up in defence, the Yellows sit on 20 points, although Institute – who, under Kevin Deery's management, are just a point further back and with a game in hand – will be especially determined to finish the job this time and leapfrog their visitors into potentially as high a place as the promotion play-off spot. It promises to be tasty in what is the Bangor's men's team's first competitive visit to this ground in 51 years.

(Posted: Friday, 20th October 2023)

The Seasiders ran out comfortable 5-1 winners over Knockbreda at a sunny Breda Park this afternoon.

Bangor went ahead within 30 seconds of the kick-off when Jack Henderson's 20 yard shot found it's way into the bottom corner of the Knockbreda net. Lewis Harrison prodded in a Reece Neale corner kick after 28 minutes and 11 minutes later, Adam Neale blasted in the third.

Sean Brown made no mistake when the Knockbreda defence gifted him a chance just after the hour mark and Lewis Francis headed in the fifth from a Dylan O'Kane corner kick a couple of minutes later. Knockbreda grabbed a late consolation in injury time.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster(A.Omar), R.Neale, L.Francis(T.Mathieson), S.Brown, K.Devine, L.Harrison, J.Henderson(D.O'Kane), A.Neale, B.Arthurs(M.Halliday), B.Walker(D.Hume).
Sub: M.Orbinson, S.McArthur

LEAGUE TABLE

Today's victory sees the Seasiders move up to third place on 20 points in the Playr-Fit Championship with our first round of games now complete.

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 21st October 2023 - Institute v Bangor, Championship, Brandywell, 3:00pm

(Posted: Sunday, 15th October 2023)

SEASIDERS SEAL MAJOR COMEBACK WIN

A Clandeboye Park comeback win for Bangor Reserves, inspired by four goals in the second period, propelled them to 13 points from 15 and security at the top of the Championship/PIL Development League table.

Newington took the lead five minutes from half-time as a well-placed back-post header was cushioned past Marcus Thompson into the net. Sonny Redford and Jay Boyd each forced saves early in the second half in pursuit of an equaliser, but that pressure paid off when, on 52 minutes, Charley Craig ploughed home an accurate low drive into the bottom left corner, unerringly striking to draw Bangor back on level terms.

Then, on 70 minutes, Mitchel Watterson rammed the Seasiders in front. He picked up a through-ball in his stride and slotted beyond the goalkeeper to put David Downes' team in front before, just three minutes later, Sonny Redford blasted the hosts into a two-goal cushion from inside the six-yard area.

The outcome was finally signed and sealed one minute from time when Ryan Nixon strode forward from defence, fended off a number of challenges and slid in at the near post to round off a comfortable and commanding second-half performance.

(Posted: Saturday, 14th October 2023)

After a trip to Larne on Tuesday night, Castlereagh is the port of call this Sunday when Bangor travel to face Knockbreda in the Playr-Fit Championship.

The Seasiders, who were knocked out of the County Antrim Shield by the Inver Reds in midweek, bid to return to winning ways against a Breda outfit that is still on the search for their first point of the season after 10 matchdays. As a consequence, they are rooted to the bottom of the table, but a brave 4-3 win away to Ballymena United in the Shield Round of 16 proves they have some steel about them.

Most recently, these two sides met in the 2022 Promotion/Relegation Play-Off, with Knockbreda emerging as 4-2 winners on aggregate despite Bangor creating scenes of pandemonium at Clandeboye Park when Ben Arthurs and Zac Fletcher strikes in added-time hauled back a two-goal deficit. It was a heartbreaker for the yellow and blue following at a sunny Breda Park, but now, the two teams do meet as Championship equals less than 18 months on.

Lee Feeney will be targeting a second consecutive league victory on this occasion, having claimed total spoils last time out thanks to Jack Henderson, Ben Arthurs and Ben Walker goals against Annagh United. Doing so against Colin McIlwrath's men would lift them up to 20 points and, pending other results, perhaps as high as second-place.


BANGOR RESERVES VS NEWINGTON U21: SEASIDERS EYE SWIFT RETURN TO VICTORY

Saturday, October 14 – Bangor Reserves vs Newington U21, Championship/PIL Development League, Clandeboye Park, 11am kick-off

Bangor Reserves are eyeing a return to winning fortunes when they welcome Newington U21 to Clandeboye Park in the Championship/PIL Development League this Saturday.

David Downes' men were agonisingly eliminated from the Junior Shield last week, when they were defeated in a penalty shoot-out to Limavady Rugby FC that spelt the end of their interest in the competition at Bangor Sportsplex. Following a 2-2 draw in which the hosts led twice, and with extra-time not able to split the teams, the outcome was decided on spot-kicks where the visitors prevailed.

Downes, who was delighted to see Academy trio Sam Millar, Kristian Trainor and Ethan Scott named to the bench for the seniors' County Antrim Shield clash with Larne on Tuesday night – forward-thinking left-back Millar and fleet-footed forward Trainor were introduced during the second half – will hope for a quick return to victory and three more points that would boost the Reserves' tally to 13 from 15 possible.

Most recently, a fortnight ago, the Seasiders were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Portadown Reserves in a game Downes felt his team had done enough to win. Both he and his players will aim to be at their clinical best against the Swans this weekend.

(Posted: Friday, 13th October 2023)

Three first half goals from Larne ended Bangor's participation in this season's County Antrim Shield last night. Corey Smith, Ilijah Paul and Craig Farquhar were on target for the Inver Men who now progress to the semi-final stage of the competition.

BANGOR TEAM:
M.Orbinson, R.Neale, L.Francis, D.Hume, T.Mathieson, J.Henderson, K.Devine(K.Trainor), D.O'Kane, S.Foster(S.Millar), S.McArthur(M.Halliday), A.Neale.
Subs: J.Taylor, L.Harrison, B.Arthurs, E.Scott

(Posted: Wednesday, 11th October 2023)

MATCH TICKETS
(CASH PAYMENT ALSO AVAILABLE AT TURNSTILES)

(Posted: Monday, 9th October 2023)

Scoring your first goal for a club is always a special feeling – no less than when they are high-quality strikes and contribute to the team picking up three points.

That was exactly the case for Jack Henderson and Ben Walker, who respectively opened and closed Bangor’s goal account against Annagh United en route to a 3-1 victory in the Playr-Fit Championship on Saturday. Midfielder Henderson swept home a gorgeous opener just before the half-hour mark with a sublime first-time take into the bottom right corner, before teen wing-back Walker recorded his first senior goal, converting a delightful free-kick three minutes from time that all but confirmed the three points for Lee Feeney’s charges.
READ MORE
(by Lewis Bennett)

(Posted: Sunday, 8th October 2023)

Goals from Jack Henderson, Ben Arthurs and Ben Walker helped the Seasiders cruise to a 3-1 win over Annagh United at Clandeboye Park this afternoon.

Jack Henderson lashed in the opener from 20 yards after 28 minutes. Ben Arthurs notched up his 8th goal of the season 9 minutes later when he controlled a high cross field ball to stroke the ball past Craughwell.

Ben Walker stepped up to crash in a 20 yard free-kick off the Annagh crossbar in the 87th minute before Annagh grabbed a consolation goal at the death.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM
J.Taylor, S.Foster, R.Neale, L.Francis, S.Brown, J.Henderson, L.Harrison(J.Hughes), K.Devine(D.O'Kane), B.Cushnie(A.Neale), B.Arthurs(T.Mathieson), B.Walker.
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Halliday, S.McArthur

NEXT MATCH:
Tuesday, 10th October 2023 - Larne v Bangor, County Antrim Shield, Inver Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 7th October 2023)

The Seasiders produced a battling performance at the Coleraine Showgrounds last night, taking the Premiership side to extra time.

The Bangor defence held firm until the 89th minute when Matthew Shelvin headed in for Coleraine, but a last gasp penalty kick from Ben Arthurs sent the game into extra time.

Lee Lynch struck the only goal of extra time in the 98th minute.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster(T.Mathieson), R.Neale, L.Francis, S.Brown, B.Walker, L.Harrison, J.Henderson(M.Halliday), K.Devine(D.O'Kane), B.Cushnie(B.Arthurs), A.Neale(S.McArthur).
Subs: M.Orbinson, J.Hughes

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 7th October, BANGOR v ANNAGH UNITED, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Wednesday, 4th October 2023)

Defeat to Dergview on Saturday has fuelled Lewis Harrison’s fire to bite back strong in the BetMcLean Cup this coming midweek.

The Bangor captain may have put Bangor in a promising position at a wet and windy Darragh Park, but the Tyrone team conjured up a rousing reaction when goals either side of half-time by Padraig Lynch and Niall McGinley ensured the maximum reward was the hosts to retain. Harrison, who opened the scoring from Seanna Foster’s delivery on 17 minutes – his first of the campaign as he made an immediate return to the starting line-up from suspension – felt that, although the Seasiders could have been more clinical in the latter stages in Castlederg, his side had not done enough to win the contest.
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(by Lewis Bennett)

(Posted: Sunday, 1st October 2023)

Dergview fought back from a goal down to take all three points in the rain at Darragh Park this afternoon.

Lewis Harrison crashed in the opener for Bangor in 17th minute, but Dergview drew level in the 38th minute when Padraig Lynch headed in a hotly disputed free-kick.

The Bangor defence was caught off guard in the 55th minute when McGinley raced through to place the ball past Orbinson for the winner.

An unmarked Michael Halliday headed wide of the upright and Lewis Harrison blasted over in the closing stages to round off a frustrating afternoon for the Seasiders.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
M.Orbinson, S.Brown, R.Neale, S.Foster(B.Walker), D.Hume(M.Halliday), L.Francis, L.Harrison, D.O'Kane(K.Devine), A.Neale, B.Arthurs, S.McArthur(B.Cushnie). Subs; M.Thompson, J.Henderson, T.Mathieson

NEXT MATCH
Tuesday, 3rd October - COLERAINE v BANGOR, Coleraine Showgrounds, Bet McLean Cup, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 30th September 2023)

Newington

Tom Mathieson came off the bench to slot home a late winner for the Seasiders against league leaders Newington at Clandeboye Park this afternoon.

Bangor took the lead in the 17th minute when Ben Cushnie slotted home a rebound off the upright from a Ben Arthurs header. Newington were level in the 25th minute when Hughes struck home a penalty kick.

There was late drama when Newington crashed a shot off the Bangor crossbar and James Taylor denied a goalbound effort from Rice with an outstretched leg. In the 88th minute, Adam Neale evaded a challenge to break free on the right to cross for substitute Mathieson who slid the ball past Smyth for the winner.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, S.Foster, D.Hume, L.Francis, S.Brown, D.O'Kane(B.Walker), J.Henderson(K.Devine), B.Cushnie(A.Neale), B.Arthurs, S.McArthur(T.Mathieson). Subs: M.Thompson, M.Halliday, J.Hughes

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 30th September, Dergview v Bangor, Championship, Darragh Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 23rd September 2023)

Seanna

Right wing-back Seanna Foster felt a draw was a fair reflection of the contest between Harland and Wolff Welders and Bangor on Saturday.

The defender also credited the Seasiders’ resolve at the back and cited a fourth clean sheet in seven league matches as a key fulcrum behind how the team can taste success this term. Foster was speaking following a goalless draw in east Belfast between the sides who started the day third and fourth in the table, but neither could make a decisive dent in the scoreline that could have laid full claim to the three points.
READ MORE
(by Lewis Bennett)

(Posted: Sunday, 17th September 2023)

It was honours even and no goals on the Holywood Road this afternoon as Bangor and the Welders played out a scoreless draw. Bangor's best chances came in the second half when a Ben Arthurs strike went just past the upright and a quick flick from Scott McArthur was well saved by Argyrides. Lewis Harrison received his second caution of the afternoon in the closing stages as he attempted an overhead kick in the Welders penalty area.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster, S.Brown, B.Walker(R.Neale), D.Hume, L.Francis, L.Harrison, D.O'Kane(J.Henderson), B.Cushnie(T.Mathieson)(K.Devine), B.Arthurs, S.McArthur(A.Neale).
Subs: M.Orbinson, M.Halliday

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 23rd September, BANGOR v NEWINGTON, Clandeboye Park, Championship, 3:00pm

(Posted: Saturday, 16th September 2023)

Bangor have been drawn to play Larne at Inver Park in the second round of the ToalsBet.com County Antrim Shield.

The tie will be played on Tuesday, 10th October at Inver Park.

LADIES ROUND OFF THE SEASON
It wasn't to be for Bangor Ladies last night in the PWC Super Cup Final at the Blanchflower Stadium. Congratulations to Lisburn Rangers Ladies who lifted the trophy with a 5-0 win.

(Posted: Sunday, 10th September 2023)

A stunning finish into the top corner from Ben Arthurs after just four minutes set Bangor up for a win in today's Championship clash with Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park.
Ben Cushnie then came off the bench to round off a terrific team performance with two late goals.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster, R.Neale, S.Brown, D.Hume, L.Francis, J.Henderson(D.O'Kane), L.Harrison, B.Arthurs(K.Devine), A.Neale(B.Cushnie), S.McArthur(B.Walker).
Subs: M.Orbinson, S.Redford, M.Halliday.

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 16th September, H&W WELDERS v BANGOR, Championship, Blanchflower Stadium, 3:00PM

(Posted: Saturday, 9th September 2023)

LEE FEENEY & BEN ARTHURS - BALLYCLARE POST-MATCH REACTIONS

A valiant comeback victory over Ballyclare Comrades has ensured Bangor their place in the quarter-finals of the County Antrim Shield. That Tuesday evening recovery from an early two-goal deficit was inspired by Seasider favourite Ben Arthurs’ four-goal haul, delivering two in each half to bring the Clandeboye institution into their second Shield last-eight encounter in three seasons; the previous occasion being in 2021, when a Second Round defeat to Cliftonville at Solitude spelt the end of their crusade.

This year, though, provides a unique dynamic. Five of the eight representatives of the quarters are from below the Premiership – Bangor join fellow second-tier trio Ards, Knockbreda and Dundela as well as last season’s PIL runners-up Ballymacash Rangers in flying the flag – and, depending on how Saturday’s draw pans out, the Yellows could find themselves in with a very real shot at a semi-final showdown. Feelings on prospective future opposition and much more were dissected by the heroic Arthurs and Bangor boss Lee Feeney post-match.

READ MORE

(Posted: Saturday, 9th September 2023)


A four goal haul from Bangor striker Ben Arthurs helped put the Seasiders through to the quarter final stage of the County Antrim Shield at Clandeboye Park this evening.

Bangor started slowly, and the game was just 15 seconds old when Roohi fired the ball past Taylor. The Bangor defence was in disarray five minutes later when Roohi found space in the box once again to double the Comrades lead.

The Seasiders fought back and Ben Arthurs slotted the ball home after 15 minutes and then powered home a header ten minutes later to put the sides level going into the break.

Bangor took control of the game in the second half and two more powerful headers from Ben Arthurs secured Bangor's place in the next round.

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Foster, R.Neale, B.Walker, D.Hume, L.Francis, L.Harrison(J.Henderson), D.O'Kane(A.Ambrose), B.Arthurs(M.Halliday), A.Neale(J.Hughes), B.Cushnie(S.McArthur). Subs: M.Orbinson, S.Millar.

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 9th September - BALLINAMALLARD UNITED v BANGOR, Championship, Ferney Park, 3:00pm.

(Posted: Tuesday, 5th September 2023)


(Posted: Monday, 4th September 2023)

LAST GASP LEWIS

Lewis Francis heads home a 97th minute Seanna Foster cross to make it 1-1 in this afternoon's game against Institute at Clandeboye Park.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM
J.Taylor, S.Brown, R.Neale, D.Hume, L.Francis, B.Walker(S.Foster), J.Henderson, L.Harrison, B.Cushnie(M.Halliday), B.Arthurs(A.Neale), S.McArthur(J.Hughes)
Subs: M.Orbinson, D.O'Kane. T.Mathieson.

NEXT MATCH:
Tuesday, 5th September, BANGOR v BALLYCLARE COMRADES, CAS, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 2nd September 2023)

NEW LOAN SIGNING - ALI OMAR
We are delighted to welcome Ali Omar to Clandeboye Park.

The 23 year old central defender joins the Seasiders on loan from Larne until January.

Omar joined the Invermen in the summer having previously played more than 50 times for Torquay United.

SEAN BROWN SELECTED FOR INTERNATIONAL DUTY
Congratulations to defender Sean Brown who has been selected for Gareth McAuley's Northern Ireland U19 squad ahead of next Thursday’s friendly with Italy in Prato.

MATCH DAY INFORMATION - BANGOR v INSTITUTE

  • 12:00 Noon - Social Club Opens (Live Football On TV from 12:30pm)
  • 2:00pm - Home Turnstiles Open (BFC Season Tickets are valid, Adult: £8, Conc. £5, U16 Free with Paying Adult)
  • 2:00pm - Hot Food Truck and Tuck Shop / Souvenir Shop Opens
  • 3:00pm - Match Kick Off

(Posted: Saturday, 2nd September 2023)


BACK BEATS ON HIS ROAD TO RECOVERY
With the news that defender Gareth Beattie had suffered a broken fibula during the game against Portadown last Friday, the Clandeboye Bangor Supporters Club have set up a GoFundMe page to assist Gareth during his time off work and on his road to recovery.

Contributions to support Gareth on his road to recovery can be made here:
Support Gareth

(Posted: Thursday, 31st August 2023)

We are delighted to welcome Seanna Foster back to Clandeboye Park for the remainder of the 2023/24 season.

The 26 year-old defender returns for another season long loan from Cliftonville.

Welcome back Seanna!

(Posted: Wednesday, 30th August 2023)

A first half strike from Scott McArthur was enough to give Bangor their first win over Portadown at Shamrock Park since August 1994.

Bangor started brightly with the three frontmen of McArthur, Arthurs and Cushnie linking well to cause the Portadown back line all sorts of problems. The game was only 5 minutes old when Ben Arthurs went close with a 30 yard drive that was pushed round the post by Buchanan. A great piece of play in the 12th minute saw McArthur find space outside the area to drive low into the bottom corner of the net.

Bangor defended their lead magnificently throughout, with Neale and Francis commanding the centre of defence. Two stunning goal line saves from James Taylor midway through the second half denied the Ports any route back into the game and secured three valuable league points for the Seasiders.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, G.Beattie(T.Mathieson), R.Neale, L.Francis, S.Brown, B.Walker, J.Henderson, L.Harrison, S.McArthur(K.Devine), B.Arthurs, B.Cushnie(A.Neale).
Subs: M.Halliday, M.Orbinson, D.O'Kane, R.Murphy

NEXT MATCH:
Saturday, 2nd September, BANGOR v INSTITUTE, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 3:00pm

(Posted: Friday, 25th August 2023)

Congratulations to Bangor Ladies who qualified for the PwC Super Cup Final with a 3-2 win over Ballyclare Comrades at Clandeboye Park this evening. Amber Dempster(2) and Lydia Clarke were on target for the Seasiders. The Final will take place on Saturday, 9th September.

(Posted: Wednesday, 23rd August 2023)

(Posted: Wednesday, 23rd August 2023)

The Seasiders have been drawn at home to Ballyclare Comrades in the opening round of the ToalsBet.com County Antrim Shield. The tie will be played on Tuesday 5th September.

(Posted: Monday, 21st August 2023)

Bangor FC have teamed up with strength and conditioning coach Phil Greenwood to help support on pitch performance. Phil, from HI Performance NI, will be responsible for providing targeted strength and conditioning plans for players, working closely with Bangor FC coaches and the club's medical team to improve performance as well as mitigate injury.

Head of Bangor FC Medical Services Luke Neal said: "Phil is a great asset to the club, as strength and conditioning are essential components of football performance. He is specialising in developing speed, and power within the team as well hopefully reducing the chance of future injury.
"Phil has an excellent CV, working with teams at the highest level of sport for over the past 10 years, including Blackburn Rovers FC, Blackpool FC, Tranmere Rovers FC, Team Ireland Hockey and Ulster Rugby, as well as multiple individuals within athletics, motorsport, and golf."

HI Performance NI Phil Greenwood said: "I'm delighted to be able to support the Bangor FC management, and squad with their athletic development for the forthcoming season.
"I have worked with a number of professional football teams, and I am confident that I will be able to use my knowledge and experience to help develop the strength, power, and speed within the Bangor FC men’s team."

HI Performance NI is located at Blackwood Golf Centre, Bangor.

(Posted: Monday, 21st August 2023)

Dundela took all three points away from a wet and windy Clandeboye Park this evening.

Playing into the driving rain, the Seasiders struggled to find their feet in the first half. The Shed End had little to cheers about as Lee Rea fired the Duns into a two goal lead before half-time.

A more energetic second half performance saw Bangor come back into the game. A bullet header from Ben Arthurs in the 66th minute made it 2-1, but despite creating numerous chances, the leveller proved elusive.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, S.Brown, R.Neale, B.Walker(G.Beattie), J.Henderson(J.Hughes),T.Mathieson(D.Hume), L.Harrison, B.Arthurs, A.Neale, S.McArthur(B.Cushnie).
Subs: M.Orbinson, K.Devine, D.O'Kane

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 25th August - PORTADOWN v BANGOR, Championship, Shamrock Park, 7:45PM

(Posted: Friday, 18th August 2023)

Adam Neale scored the winner as Bangor came out on top in tonight's North Down Derby at Clandeboye Park.

The Seasiders made most of the running in the first half with the clearest chance falling to Tom Mathieson who slashed his effort just wide of Moore's upright.

The lively Scott McArthur finally broke free of the Ards defence in the 61st minute to slide the ball wide of Moore for Adam Neale to tap the ball home from a yard out.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
J.Taylor, R.Neale, S.Brown, L.Francis, B.Walker, J.Henderson(D.O'Kane), L.Harrison, T.Mathieson, B.Arthurs, A.Neale(J.Hughes), S.McArthur(K.Devine).
Subs: M.Orbinson, R.Murphy, M.Halliday, S.Millar

NEXT MATCH:
Friday, 18th August - BANGOR v DUNDELA, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Friday, 11th August 2023)

A late header from Darius Roohi denied Bangor a share of the spoils in our opening Championship fixture at Dixon Park this afternoon.

The Seasiders started brightly and Scott McArthur bundled in the opener after nine minutes. The home side drew level after 29 minutes when Morgan rifled the ball past Orbinson through a crowd of players. The Seasiders were ahead again in the 41st minute when Ben Arthurs rose to knock the ball down to McArthur who blasted the ball past Breen. The Bangor celebrations were short-lived as Roohi smashed in an equaliser before half-time.

Ballyclare's eventual winner came in the 87th minute when Roohi headed in a corner from close range.

GARY'S MATCH GALLERY

BANGOR TEAM:
M.Orbinson, G.Beattie(S.Brown), R.Neale, L.Francis, D.Hume, J.Henderson, L.Harrison, B.Walker, B.Arthurs, A.Neale, S.McArthur(T.Mathieson).
Subs:B.McConkey, D.O'Kane, K.Devine, J.Hughes, J.Black.

NEXT MATCH:
FRIDAY, 11th AUGUST, BANGOR v ARDS, Championship, Clandeboye Park, 7:45pm

(Posted: Saturday, 5th August 2023)