Lurgan Town U17s played Newry in a Lisburn League Cup game on Saturday. The Town haven’t had the best of 2017s to date however there were encouraging signs the previous week. In the two previous encounters between the teams it was Newry that took the victories.
This was the first time this season that Lurgan started the same eleven in consecutive games. It was Lurgan that started the game brightly with the team playing good aggressive football and also keeping good shape. Lurgan have found good balance lately with the midfield 3 of McIvor, Evans and McKinley all with different qualities but complementary to the teams needs. Lurgan did take the lead when Lewis McKinley swung a corner which was spilled by the Newry keeper and Pedro De Araujo was on hand to score his first goal for the club. The goal give Lurgan more belief and encouragement as their game went up another level as the wide men of De Araujo and O’Neill were causing problems along with the non stop work rate of striker Aaron Winters. Lurgan doubled their lead when good quick incisive play that included McIvor, De Araujo and Winters eventually ended up with Lewis McKinley powering home a right foot shot past the keeper. A few minutes later Lurgan got a third with the goal of the game and maybe the season as Lewis McKinley received the ball 35 yards out and with one glance spotted the Newry keeper a couple of yards of his line, then with his wand of a left foot Lewis hit a thunderous shot that the keeper could only get a fingertip to as it flew into the top corner of the net. Newry did threaten on occasions but Adam Craig was in excellent form and was well supported by the strong defensive unit of Russell, Upton, Smyth and Millen. H-T 3-0
The second half Lurgan knew Newry would come out all attack therefore Lurgan had a change in formation plus had to replace Jack Evans due to a slight injury. Newry pressed continuously but Lurgan were staying strong and solid plus Adam Craig pulled of a number of excellent saves. Newry’s towering centre half was spending lots of time up front and on one occasion he watched his header somehow get tipped over the bar by a great reaction save by Adam. Despite all the pressure Lurgan counterattacked with pace and skill as Winters, Hall were instrumental in creating opportunities. There were good chances falling to Mark Boyd, Adam Hall, Andrew McIvor as well Aaron Winters but Lurgan couldn’t add to the three already scored. Lurgan tried to hold on for a clean sheet however with 5 minutes left Newry got a consolation goal which they probably deserved for all the pressure they put on Lurgan. F-T 3-1
This was a superb result for the squad and will face Craigavon City in the next round of the Cup. On the day it was great to see the unity of the squad and it was difficult to select a player of the game with every single player playing but a wee special mention for Jonny Russell who was superb at right back.