Moyola Park travelled to Crystal Park on Saturday to play fourth placed Banbridge Town.
With no game last Saturday, Moyola Park manager Mervyn Pattison was looking to keep a recent run of four games unbeaten intact.
Moyola started the game much better than the home side and found their stride early on with Adam Gray testing right back James Wilson early on.
The Castledawson men were pressing high up the pitch and pinning the home team in their own half. It was Moyola doing all the attacking and in the 10th minute the breakthrough came; a ball down the left wing evaded Wilson and Conor Taggart picked up the ball in space before coolly lobbing the outrushing Tuda Murphy.
The home side struggled to create any clear cut chances in response to Moyola’s early goal with the best chance falling for striker Jamie Smith however Moyola keeper Marc Maybin saved well.
Town were finding it difficult to stop the impressive Christopher Dowie but were finding some joy down the flanks with Chris Kingsberry and Ryan Gourley finding space and getting the ball into the box, however they were met with a flawless Moyola defence.
Banbridge found themselves fighting an uphill battle on 23 minutes when Moyola were awarded a penalty by referee Crangle after an uncharacteristic error from Chris McGrath. Daniel McElhatton put his powerful spot kick to Murphy’s left and although he guessed correctly and got a strong hand to the ball he couldn’t keep it out.
The visitors were on top and were hungry to add to their lead and got the reward for their energetic approach when they bagged a third goal on 23 minutes. Adam Gray picking up the ball before turning and skipping away from defenders Stephen Greene and Glen Waddell, his low shot well saved by Tuda Murphy who got down to push the ball away but Moyola striker Connor Taggart was following up and had an easy tap in to make it 3-0.
The home side were shell shocked and in disarray as the visitors almost added a fourth when midfielder McElhatton found space down the Town left, his cross too long for Dowie who did well to keep it alive and pull it back for Taggart whose shot was cleared off the line by skipper Moffatt.
Banbridge found a lifeline right on the half time whistle when they were awarded a penalty when Harris handled in the area. Captain Moffatt stepped up and took the penalty however Moyola keeper Maybin had the measure of it and saved well low in the bottom left.
Town searched for a lifeline in the second half, and had more of the possession but struggled to break down a well organised Moyola team who were better than their opponents all over the pitch.
With 20 minutes remaining Kevin Anderson replaced Moffatt and his physical presence in midfield saw Town get more of the ball and they were able to venture higher up the pitch. However, Moyola had given themselves plenty of breathing room with a three goal cushion and despite seemingly taking their foot off the pedal they were able to shut down Town’s attacks.
With ten minutes left the visitors made their second change with Kelly replacing Doey in the heart of the Moyola back line. The frustrations of the Town team were showing when the hard working Chris Kingsberry found himself in the referee’s book for dissent.
Town’s failure to find a reply to a Moyola side who had done the damage early in the game meant the home side were ultimately condemned to defeat.