It was 2 points lost for the Swifts on Saturday against Annalong Reserves as there were numerous scoring opportunities but some wayward finishing and the visiting keeper in excellent form prevented a Swifts win.
Annalong started the game sharper with Lurgan a little lethargic in defence. It was no surprise when Annalong took the lead after some slack defending. However, from this moment on the Swifts increased the tempo and played some great football. The Swifts got back into the game when Dylan Hoy played a pass to Callum Watkins which Callum outpaced and out muscled the centre half to score with a super finish. The Annalong keeper won the battle against Lewis McKinley on 3 occasions. Lewis swivelled to hit a volley which the keeper saved, then the next effort seemed destined for the net when Lewis received a lay off from Callum to hit first time but somehow the keeper tipped it around the post and finally the keeper tipped over a Lewis free kick. The keeper also tipped over a Ryan Blacoe cross then Jack O’Neill played a couple of defence splitting passes but the Annalong defence eventually cleared the ball on both occasions. Lewis McKinley played two delightful passes over the defence for Callum Watkins but nothing came from the shots. The corners from Lewis was causing problems for the Annalong defence. Annalong had a few attacking spells in the remainder of the first half with a couple of shots not on target and those that were on target were saved by Josh Pugh. Lurgan possibly should’ve had a penalty but it wasn’t awarded when Ryan Blacoe was fouled in the box. H-T 1-1
The Swifts made a change at halftime with 16 year old Matthew Maye being replaced by 36 year old Scott Gordon who came back out of retirement. Scott Gordon was soon showing some class as he slotted in beside Adam Scorah and Dylan Hoy. While the body may not be the same the footballing brain was still very active. Scott hit a trademark pinged pass over the Annalong defence to right wing back Morgan Smyth but the Annalong keeper made another good save from Morgan’s shot. The chances were falling thick and fast for Lurgan but they were squandered by Jack O’Neill, Callum Watkins on a couple of occasions plus a Dylan Hoy header from a corner. Then 2 stinging shots from Lewis McKinley which the keeper tipped over one and the second onto the post. Ryan Blacoe also had another shot tipped over. The Swifts threw everything at Annalong but couldn’t get the all important winning goal. The Swifts then replaced Adam Leathem and Simon Wilson with Adam Hodgkinson and a senior debut for Fionan Dunbar. The frustration grew into Lurgans game as some players lost their discipline which was down to the series of missed scoring opportunities. With the Swifts pushing for the winner they almost got caught out on the break but Annalong striker was possibly called offside wrongly. F-T 1-1
While it’s disappointing not to collect all 3 points there were lots of positives as the lads played some super football. Adam Leathem had another good game then the 3 left footed players stood out. Firstly Ryan Blacoe played well on the left wing and was very unfortunate not to get a goal. Scott Gordon produced a super 45 minutes with composure, communication and some super passes. However, player of the match was Lewis McKinley as he was involved in all things good for the Swifts from dead balls and exquisite passing. Credit to Annalong as they may have tired a little but they kept battling to hold out for a point.