The Swifts returned to action on Saturday at the Arena a week after defeating league leaders White City. This time it was against title challengers Derryhirk. In the previous encounter Derryhirk deservedly won the game however on this occasion the Swifts were on a high.
There was one enforced change to the starting 11 as Graham Bunting replaced the unavailable Scott Gordon. Lurgan were on the attack early on with Lewis McKinley playing in Callum Watkins but Callum didn’t get a clean shot away. Then it was the same combination again when Lewis’s corner kick landed at Callum’s feet a couple of yards out but his shot went wide then Simon Wilson had a shot blocked. Defensively Scott McBride, Graham Bunting and Jack O’Neill had left a few gaps early on but improved as the half went on. Lurgan eventually took a deserved lead when Lewis played a lovely pass to Tim Millen who played into Callum Watkins to score with a stunning volley. In midfield Aaron Winters, Simon Wilson and Adam Leathem were working hard against more experienced players. A second goal soon followed after Lewis closed down a clearance and the ball fell to Simon Wilson to hit an opportunist 20 yard shot past the stranded Derryhirk keeper. Lurgan gained further control when Derryhirk’s left back was sent off after a poor tackle on Tim Millen which he received a straight red. Lewis had a chance to hit from distance but mishit is effort. Derryhirk had a couple of half chances but Swifts keeper Josh Pugh was in good form. H-T 2-0
Derryhirk came out for the second half two goals behind and a player less but with an increased spirit and belief. They went for broke by pushing more players forward which Lurgan sat to deep and that played into Derryhirk’s hands. On a couple of occasions Lurgan rode their luck as Derryhirk players were caught offside but Derryhirk finally got on the scoresheet to make it 2-1. Derryhirk pressed for an equaliser but good defending and goalkeeping prevented that from happening. Lurgan struggled to get control of the game so brought on Alex Woods to help with this. A few half chances came Lurgans way via Alex Woods and Simon Wilson plus Ryan Blacoe almost got on the end of a cross but the defender cleared over the crossbar. With the score at 2-1 the Swifts needed a third to seal the game and it arrived with 5 minutes left when Lewis McKinley played a pass to Tim Millen to score for with a well placed finish. Tim has now scored in 2 consecutive matches for the first time in his Lurgan Town career. F-T 3-1
It was another great result for Lurgan Town Swifts which took them to the top of the league. The Swifts may have played more games than their challengers but it’s still been a super debut season for the young team. On the day there were good performances from Josh Pugh, Jack O’Neill, Tim Millen, Aaron Winters and Simon Wilson however the 2 that stood out were Adam Leathem which seems to be a given each week with his consistent performances and Lewis McKinley as he continues to do what comes natural to him in providing chances for his teammates but he is also working hard for the team. Well done the young Swifts.