Lurgan Town u15’s surrendered their unbeaten league run today in disappointing fashion. The team to take the Lurgan scalp was last seasons league and cup double winners Mountjoy United. The boys were under no illusion this was always going to be a tough game but the coaches had belief in the ability of boys and approached this game like every other, expecting nothing less than 3 points and 100% commitment. Unfortunately too many boys just didn’t turn up on the day and despite starting reasonably well quickly began to digress in their play allowing Mountjoy to much time and freedom on and off the ball. Mountjoy began to thrive against the disjointed Town side, easily slipping in behind the visiting defence a number of times before taking the lead. The coaches made an early change to the Town team and formation with thoughts to try and force the game further up in the opposition half which began to show some signs of working with Mackenzie Craig going closest for the Lurgan boys with a rasping shot from about 20 yards out just going over the bar. Unfortunately though Town could not find the breakthrough coming into half time chasing a 1-0 deficit.
Town started the second half with a bit more purpose and began probing from the whistle, half time substitute Spencer Young grabbed the equaliser for Town within only five minutes of the restart, when a ball was played wide right from midfield and cut back in across the box for Spencer to finish with ease and things were beginning to look on the up for the Lurgan lads. A catalogue of errors though would be the Town downfall in a crazy 15 minute spell of the game. Mountjoy retook the lead when one of their players was allowed to run unchallenged in midfield before releasing the right winger who had been gifted far to much freedom to roam, the ball was then spread from right to left and it was the left winger who administered the coup-de-gras drilling the ball high into the net through the hands of the Lurgan keeper. It wasn’t long after, from a goal kick situation, a pass out to a Town defender was very quickly closed down right on the 18 yard box with the defender being relieved of the ball, the striker now in control made a dart through the box homing in on goal before being chopped down, with the referee rightly pointing to the penalty spot for the foul. The Mountjoy player made no mistake with his shot stretching the lead to 3-1 and left Town looking with an extremely steep hill to climb. The town defence who have been reasonably solid for the first part of the season where at sixes and sevens for a period and only for two great saves from James Hamilton in one on one situations the game could very easily have been out of sight. Lurgan did settle again after a while and clawed themselves back into the game when a long ball over the top was chased down by Spencer Young forcing the opposition keeper into making a mistake and the ball coming back off Spencer’s knee and hitting the back of the net. With about 10 minutes to go Town began to find their gears trying to salvage something from the game and were unlucky when a corner played in by Ben Cullen resulted in the ball being met by the head of Josh Johnston which was saved by the keeper. Spencer Young was also unfortunate not to get his hattrick when chasing down another through ball clashed with the out coming keeper and the ball spinning out of play. James Maguire came was unfortunate from a free kick right on the edge of the box only to see the ball sail just over the bar and then Josh Johnston again was just wide with another header from a corner right at the death.
This was a very disappointing day at the office not just because of the result but because of the manner in which it came about. There is no doubt Mountjoy deserved the 3 points with Town putting in a lacklustre display at best. The boys will need to up their game over the coming weeks if they want to stay in the mix come the Christmas break. The report card will say ‘Must do better’. It is very easy to apportion blame after a defeat and to look and point the fingers at others, but if we are going to learn anything we need to examine ourselves and that is what we do as coaches, we continuously look to see how we can improve situations for the team and we ask the players do the same, that rather than look to the performance of others that they evaluate their own performance and think about how they can individually improve their contribution to the team. We win together and we lose together. So we begin again with Monday night training and look forward to getting back on track next weekend.
Team: James Hamilton, Kyle Thompson, Adam Vennard, Sofian Mouhsine, Mark Christie, Ben Cullen , Aidan Cassidy, Tom Leatham, Ethan Gorman, Josh Johnston, Ronan Watkins, Mackenzie Craig, Spencer Young (2), Kyle White, James Maguire