It was a change of direction today with our first shield game of the season and it couldn’t get much tougher then being drawn against the current league leaders. Right from the off Town battled with Downpatrick all over the park with neither team giving any ground until about 20 minutes gone Downpatrick drew first blood leaving Town keeper Mackay with no chance. Lurgan equalised not long after from a James Maguire corner which was almost curled directly into the net, the Downpatrick keeper failed to deal with the cross properly and helped it on in.
The 2nd Downpatrick goal came when Town didn’t deal well with a loose ball in the box and an opposition striker pounced to poke it home, however the boys didn’t give up and when James Maguire slipped Jake Turner through on goal he made no mistake with the finish bringing it back to 2-2. Unfortunately Lurgan couldn’t hold out until half time and a failure to close a Downpatrick midfielder down 20 yards from goal resulted in a toe poke into the top corner. Heads began to drop and half time couldn’t come soon enough to allow the boys to regroup.
Town didn’t start the second half and within 5 minutes a poor clearance landed at the foot of a Downpatrick winger who put his laces through it from about 20 yards out and drilled the ball into the top corner past a helpless Mackay. The opposition 5th came soon after and the the body language from a few of the boys suggested they had given up at this stage and when playing against a well drilled side like Downpatrick without everyone contributing 100% we were always going to be against the ropes. Lurgan did have their chances with Jake Turner making a few runs deep into Downpatrick box but they dealt with the threat well and they came to nothing in the end. Downpatrick added another 3 goals to their tally with some great finishing that the boys could learn from and just before the final whistle Luke Harrison was unlucky with a shot from left wing which the Downpatrick keeper just tipped over the bar.
This really was a game of 2 halves. The first half there was nothing between the 2 teams with some great competitive football played with good sportsmanship. Second half when things didn’t go their way some of the Lurgan boys dropped the head and became lazy in their play resulting in the 8-2 defeat. Happy with first half display, disappointed with the second would sum up the managers view on the performance. 3 Players who stood out today for Town were Ben Hampton, Ben Cuthbert and James Maguire.