A fourth cup game in as many weeks for Lurgan Town Reserves ended in a cruel defeat at the Arena against Hanover Reserves.
Town started much the better side, first to every ball and feeding their forward line at every opportunity. They opened the scoring when Jamie Boyce thumped home a finish after latching on to a lovely through ball.
The lads kept up their tempo despite some horrific conditions but an uncharacteristic mistake at the back let in Hanover for the equaliser.
Before half time Town thought they had regained their lead with a sublime Derrick Shaw chip, only to have the referee pull the play back for a Town free kick, a decision that the he later admitted was the wrong one.
The second half started poorly from a Lurgan Town point of view, two errors in judgement at the back saw a Hanover player gifted time and space to pick his spot from distance.
Hanover got their third through a header from a corner, despite there being a clear, serious foul committed as the ball arrived in the box. Hanover showed their experience at this level by slowing the game down and frustrating the Town players, protecting their lead well, but Jamie Devlin was introduced and he sparked a second wind for his team.
Three great chances came and went for Lurgan Town as Hollis, Shaw and Devlin failed to hit the target when they all should have done better.
Town grabbed a goal back in injury time when Shaw smashed home from 20 yards but it was too late for Town to claw back an equaliser and force extra time. Hanover go through to the next round in their defence of the O’Hara Cup that they won last season.
This was a harsh lesson for the lads. Missed chances and simple errors will cost the team at this level, but they’ll get a chance for revenge in the league later in the season.