After a successful 6 years in the Mid Ulster Youth League coach Phil McKinley’s team played their first ever Lisburn Invitational League game on Saturday. The squad lost 4 players from last season which included player of the year John Dickson and Top Goalscorer Nathan Stewart however 4 new players Tyler Boyce, Darragh Gray, Ross McMorris and Pedro De Araujo were added.
Lurgan started the game strong and there were lots of success down the left side with Aaron Winters giving the Hillsborough right back a tough time. There were chances for Darragh Gray and Aaron Winters to open the scoring but their shots were off target, then Aaron Winters played the ball into the penalty area for Adam Hall but unfortunately as Adam went to shoot it took a wicked bounce over his foot. Lurgan controlled the first 20 minutes of the game with the defensive unit that included Boyce, Millen, O’Neill and Russell keeping it a quiet morning for keeper Adam Craig. Lurgan did eventually take the lead when the teams top assists player the last couple of years Lewis McKinley seen his free kick headed expertly home by new senior reserve team player Jack Evans. In midfield Sammy Davidson was keeping it simple by keeping the ball moving therefore having Hillsborough players chase the ball a lot. HT 1-0
The second half Lurgan just weren’t as fluent with the midfield losing the battle early on therefore Hillsborough did get more of the ball. Lurgan decided to freshen things up by bringing on Ross McMorris, Brett Smyth, Pedro De Araujo and Mark Boyd. The changes plus the sending off of a Hillsborough player allowed Lurgan to control the game once again with more scoring opportunities being wasted. The win was sealed a couple of minutes from the end when Mark Boyd was fouled in the penalty area therefore giving the ref no option but to award a penalty. Darragh Gray confidently stepped up to take the penalty which the keeper almost saved as Darragh hit it down the middle to seal the win. FT 2-0
The team were very solid for most of the game with all the players performing well but it was centre half Tyler Boyce being selected as player of the game. It was good to win the first game however there will be tougher fixtures to come.