The Lurgan Town U13 LL side exited the cup today on the back of a catalogue of very poor refereeing decisions against them. With a strong side at their disposal today the management and boys were expecting big things from this game, against a Lisburn Ladies side siting second in the league. The boys took to the field with confidence and worked hard throughout competing for everything on the park but despite creating a few chances early on found themselves unfortunately falling a goal behind. This however did not deter the boys who drew level soon after when Cameron Mackay made it five goals from five in 2017.
From this Lurgan pushed on and took the game under their control and Jake Turner had a lovely finish to take the lead to 2-1, Lurgan had 2 enormous penalty calls dismissed within 10 seconds of each other deep in the second half. The first claim was for a clear handball within the box with the opposition player controlling the ball with her arm followed almost immediately with a Town player being pushed to the ground, but the referee didn’t want to know and the boys frustration began to grow at the baffling decisions being made in the game, this trend continued when the opposition keeper handled the ball outside her area to deny a Town attack, the referee told the Town manager that he should really send the keeper off and when asked then why he wasn’t sending her off he shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
9 minutes injury time was played with Town still leading 2-1. 3 minutes later an opposition striker took a dive in the Town box and with the howls from the opposition line the ref was quick to point at the spot and the penalty taker dispatched to take the score to 2-2, as soon as play began from the centre the referee blew for full time and extra time. The boys gathered themselves together for extra time and went all out for the win only to find themselves falling behind in the first period due to a well struck goal. Town did equalise in the second period of extra time when Cameron Mackay timed his run perfectly and finished with clinical precision to leave the keeper with no chance. Unfortunately for Cameron the referee continued to be intimidated with the opposition line and blew for offside leaving the Town players, coaches and parents with a feeling of pure frustration.
The game finished 3-2 to Lisburn Ladies but hats off to every one of the boys who took to the field today. They played with the Lurgan Town motto at the forefront with their ‘hearts on the sleeve’, they never let themselves down despite the clear and obvious frustration at circumstances of which they had no control. Brian White, the Lurgan Town Coach spoke to the referee after the game and received an apology and an acknowledgement that he ‘the referee’ had got so many of the big decisions wrong including Cameron’s second goal and said on reflection he was quite angry with his own performance. This was no consolation to the boys who we feel tonight should have been in the hat for the next round of the cup but it just wasn’t to be. The job now is to pick the boys up at training and get them prepared for next Saturdays game.