Town Reserves opened their season at the Arena on Saturday, with Ambassadors the opponents in the O’Hara Cup 1st round.
Early exchanges were fairly even and both keepers were called into action in an open first half. Matt Irvine was in great form attempting to the link the play well but Town didn’t get forward to support last seasons Golden Boot winner, so the best chances were from long range and set pieces, Jason Donaghy and Simon Freeburn coming closest. Just before half time it was the visitors who sneaked the opening goal when, after a scramble at a corner was only half cleared, the ball was sent into the top corner from 25 yards. Half time score Ambassadors 1-0 Lurgan Town
The second half began with Town playing with much more purpose. The tempo was high and the Town midfield started to boss the game. The first chance of the half came from a Boyce header and it was finger tipped around the post when a goal seemed certain. James McNally was introduced and this added a bit more attacking intent to the team. The equaliser came soon after when summer signing Graham Bunting scored a cracking debut goal, lifting the ball over the keeper into the net.
Ryan McMahon replaced Boyce as Town went searching for a winner, and the big striker scored within a minute of coming on, latching on to an Irvine knock down to place home. Further chances were created for the home side, Devlin, Shaw and Irvine all coming close. Jack Evans was also sent on for his debut for the Seniors and was very bright on the right wing. The back 4 held firm to see the game out with Geoff Greenaway and Aaron Parks outstanding, marshalled well by Matthew Freeburn.
A slow start for Town, but a good result against a much improved Ambassadors team than the one faced last year in Division 2. The reward for the Team is a home tie against Hanover.
Manager Steven Beattie commented: “The boys were fabulous today against an Ambassasors team with a point to prove. After a tough pre season we have gelled when it counts. We were delighted to bring young Jack Evans in from the Under 17 side and have no doubt he will be a valuable asset to the side. We look forward to the season ahead and hopefully bring some more silverware home to the Town”.
Town Reserves: M.Freeburn, Parks, G. Greenaway, S. Freeburn, Bunting, Donaghy, Jordan, Shaw, Devlin, Irvine, J. Boyce. Subs: Redpath, McNally, Evans, McMahon