Lurgan Town made the short trip to Lord Lurgan Park and left victorious in a 7 goal thriller against local rivals Lurgan Celtic. With both teams challenging at the top of the table the game had the making of a classic and didn’t disappoint. Celtic were out of the blocks quickest putting town under pressure early on and creating some good chances. The sustained pressure was rewarded as Celtic took the lead with a well worked goal. Celtic continued to pile on the pressure and were awarded a penalty, the lively Celtic striker broke through on goal but was thwarted by a perfectly timed tackle tackle by Kyle Thompson, unfortunately for Town the referee judged it as dangerous play with studs up and pointed straight to the spot. Celtic despatched the ball down the middle with James Hamilton very unlucky not to keep it out when he dived but his trailing foot still making contact with the ball.
Town’s reaction was impressive and rather than put their heads down they brought the game to Celtic. A free-kick from the left was delivered with venom by Adam Vennard and eventually fell for Josh Johnson who despite seeing his initial shot blocked followed up to make it 2-1. Town were back in the game and beginning to dictate play. Another free-kick, this time taken from the right by Ben Cullen was delivered into the danger zone begging to be attacked. The invitation was accepted by Kyle Thompson who’s bullet header would have made any premier league striker proud. Chances were being created at both ends of the pitch, Adam Vennard and Kyle Thompson managed their line well snuffing out any real danger with firm challenges and setting Town away on their own attacks with quick transitions. Ben Cullen, Mackenzie Craig and Aidan Cassidy were solid in the midfield and linked up well with the wide men Ronan Watkins and Ethan Gorman. After some good link up play Ethan found himself in space down the right, he managed to cut in and get a shot away which found the back of the net after taking a slight defection off a Celtic defender.
Town had completely turned the game on its head going in 3-2 up at Half time from being 2-0 down. Second half was much of the same both teams going toe to toe with very little ground given by either side. Celtic scored early in the half to level things up once again with further chances for both teams going begging, Celtic hitting the bar and James Hamilton pulled off some fine saves to keep the scores level. Town made some changes bringing Spencer Young and Jake Turner into the mix. Spencer was straight into it making his presence felt with his endless pressing and hard workrate, a nightmare for any defender to deal with. With Gorman constantly torturing Celtics left back, town felt another goal wasn’t to far away. After yet another run down the right Gorman cut the ball back to Spencer who’s first shot was saved by the keeper turning it into the path of Jake Turner who couldn’t quite get his shot away to finish the rebound, after yet another defensive block the ball fell again at the feet of Spencer who this time made no mistake, blasting the ball into the roof of the net. 4-3 With minutes left on the clock, town just had to keep things tight and see the game through which they did.
A hard fought 3 points after a great game of football by both teams. A big big win for Town with the league now wide open and all to play for. Each and every player put in a good shift today and gave their all on the pitch front to back. The only disappointment was a late injury to Aidan Cassidy who had worked tirelessly in the midfield. All the boys, coaches and parents wish Aidan a speedy recovery.
Team: James Hamilton, Tom Leatham, Kyle Thompson (1), Adam Vennard, Mark Christie, Aidan Cassidy, Ben Cullen, Josh Johnston (1), Ronan Watkins, Mackenzie Craig, Ethan Gorman (1), James Maguire, Spencer Young (1), Ricardo Aruajo, Jake Turner.