The first Saturday that the U17s had a match in over 4 weeks, and playing the team gunning for the league in Lurgan Celtic.
Lurgan Town started on the front foot. Travis, Matthew, Morgan, Jay and Rivaldo marshalled the defence and playing the ball out from the back with the two full backs trying to overload the opponents wings. Celtic’s tactic seemed to be let the keeper kick it long and try and win the second ball. As the Town defence were on top and with the middle of the park winning the knock downs it wasn’t long before Lurgan began to create chances, mainly down the right hand side where Matthew, Denver and Niall were interchanging play. It was these three that led to the first goal. Rivaldo rolled the ball out to Matthew who played it to Denver who played Matthew back in. He drove to the edge of the box where Niall had made a run and crossed the ball towards him. Niall jumped with the centre half but both allegedly missed and the ball rolled into the net. Matthews first goal. 1 nil up.
Again Lurgan carried on were they left off with attacking Celtics full backs. Niall was fouled on the left wing. Adam H placed the ball and the lads bunched up on the D. Adam drove the ball towards the back post where an unmarked Denver, who made a late run; side volleyed the ball into the net at the back post. 2 nil.
Lurgan Town were coasting at this stage and unfortuantately allowed Celtic back into the game. Warning signs should have been heeded when Rivaldo pulled off a stunning one handed save to prevent what looked like a certain goal. Lurgan began to drop further and further back and although were not troubled the pressure eventually won. From an Celtic corner the ball bounced around and as Lurgan stepped out leaving two Celtic players on the goal line the ball was played back in and bobbled home of one of the two “offside” players, which the referee judged to be on side. 1-2.
Celtic scored their second shortly after, again in contenous circumstances. Two Celtic players standing on their own, between our goalkeeper and defensive line, broke down the right wing and as one of our chasing centre halves won the ball unfairly, using his hands to push the attacker over-free kick. Ball played into the front post and their midfielder glanced the ball passed Riv. 2 each half time.
The second half started where the 1st left off. Lurgan changed personnel at half time which saw the introduction of Joshua for Oliver who had run all over the pitch and due to lack of game time his calves begun to seize up. Although Celtic started on the front foot Lurgan Town began to take the control with their passing game and against the run of play conceded an unlucky third with a low drive shot. 3-2 down.
Town did not let their heads drop and they continued to play their passing game and where pressing for an equaliser. It came shortly after when Niall won a corner and with the lads bunched up trying to create space for a chance the ball was knocked out into the middle of the park. Adam H screamed that the ball was his name, as Alex was looking to play the ball back in, Alex left it and from 30 yards Adam struck the ball ever so sweetly low and the ball flew passed into the far left hand side of the net, the Celtic keeper did not even move. 3 each and Lurgan Town were on fire.
Niall and Denver switched positions with Niall now on the right wing and Denver up front. Niall tormented the left back with his control, pace and skill and should have had a penalty when manhandled in the box. The ball broke on the left and as Niall drove towards goal he struck the ball across the goal mouth, Denver who has an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time, side footed the ball with his right foot towards the goals left hand post, the ball came off the inside of the post and hit the net. 3-4 to Lurgan Town. Every player went to Denver and celebrated with him, great to see. 5 minutes left for Lurgan Town to see the game out. For once we did thait. No stupid mistakes, ball cleared when it should have and running the clock down taking the ball into the opposition corner.
Final whistle Lurgan Town victorious and an away win.
The coaches and the parents on the side line seen the potential, development, spirit, camaraderie and fight of the boys. Each and every one were fantastic and the game was a pleasure to watch. MOTM: Travis Barr whose set the tone for the rest of the boys with that first tackle. Well done Travis.