The Swifts took to the Arena 3G pitch on Saturday for the last official game on it before it closes down to be resurfaced. Dromore Amateurs Reserves were the visitors.
Lurgan went into the game with numerous changes due to players unavailable throughout the clubs senior section. The Swifts named centre half Jack O’Neill in goal and 48 year old Phil McKinley on the bench. Also numerous u19 players in the squad which they had just come through a semi-final game that went through to a penalty shootout win one hour before Swifts kick off.
The Swifts needed to get back to winning ways and went with an attacking formation but the game was a little scrappy. Players from both sides were showing very little composure on the ball. Lurgan lost Simon Wilson to injury after 5 minutes then Matthew Maye after 25 minutes. However, it was centre half Morgan Smyth to ease the tension a bit when he went on one of his trademark runs through the opposition. This time there was a finish of a striker when he placed the shot across the keeper into the net. Lurgans defence of Turkington, Smyth, Hoy and sub Scott McCammon were pretty much in control as they protected Jack O’Neil from making to many saves. However, Jack dealt with everything that did get past and had one excellent save. Lurgans second arrived when Callum Watkins setup centre half Dylan Hoy for his first goal of the season. Denver Elliott, Adam Leathem, Luke Glenn and Lewis McKinley were working hard in trying get Lurgan to play a game that’s more suited to them. Denver Elliott almost got a third but his long range shot went over.
The second half the Swifts started to find more space as Dromore wanted to attack more to get back into the game. Despite the extra midfield space the Swifts didn’t create to many scoring opportunities. In fact Dromore had a few better chances but poor finishing and super defending from Lurgan the score stayed 2-0 as it approached the end. The stage was set for Phil McKinley to make his first appearance for almost ten years since retirement. Lewis McKinley was running on empty and Ryan Blacoe was carrying an injury so Phil replaced Blacoe with 5 minutes left. Within 2 minutes Callum Watkins had is shot deflected to Phil McKinley with Phil deciding to control to ball and calmly score past the keeper to give Lurgan a 3-0 win.
It was a nice way to finish the last game on the current surface with a win and a clean sheet. It was a battling team performance however credit to Jack O’Neill for standing in as keeper, all U19s for coming through two tough games and Dylan Hoy showing a return to form. The player of the game went to Adam Leathem for another all action midfield display.