With last seasons U12 Lisburn League side moving up to the U13 National League the Mid Ulster League side took the step and moved into the Lisburn League. Their first game was a difficult fixture against Lisburn Distillery in Belfast. Not only is this year a change in league for the U13 boys but also a change in the structure of their game itself, moving from the small 9-a-side game to the full 11-a-side. A lot of work had been put in with the boys over the summer months and this showed in their first competitive 11-a-side match where they competed well and matched Lisburn Distillery all over the park. From the first whistle Lurgan got the ball down and tried to play football on what was a difficult pitch with both teams finding it hard to keep their footing at times.
Lurgan created some early chances and were unlucky not to go 1-0 up when Jake Turner narrowly missed putting the ball in the opposition net from close range. Distillery were strong and quick at the back with the Lurgan strike force of Turner and White having to work hard to have any chance of success. Lurgan back 3 of Cassidy, Hammond and Cuthbert however were equally as dogged in their defending with Distillery resorting to having to shoot from distance without troubling the Lurgan Town keeper Luke Harrison to much, on the one occasion Distillery did manage to break through the Town defence Harrison was quick to react collecting the ball at the feet of the oncoming striker. As the half wore on it looked as though both teams would come in with a halftime stalemate, unfortunately though the referee played a big part in the outcome of the game giving Distillery a penalty kick which had everyone on the Lurgan line scratching their heads in bewilderment. The penalty taker dispatched his shot well into the bottom right hand corner just out of reach of the outstretched Luke Harrison who had judged and went the right way.
The boys came in at half time feeling hard done by but they rallied round and came out the second half determined to make up for the sense of injustice they were feeling.
The Town midfield of Hampton, Maguire and Hegarty started to take control early in the second half passing the ball well, bringing the Town wingers of Boyce and Rainer into play more with Jake Rainer in particular having some success with his pace and strength when running at the Distillery back line. Ethan Geddis replaced Kyle White upfront and Rian Furphy came on to replace James Hegarty as Town tried to press with an equaliser but unfortunately despite all their hard work it was not to be. The boys can take quite a lot out of this game, they worked hard, played some good football in difficult conditions, showed character and team spirit when they could very easily have dropped the heads. A lot of positives on the opening day of the season for the boys.