Lurgan entertained St Mary’s of Portadown on Saturday morning and came away with a 2-1 win, which now sees them into the next round of the Plate.
The game started very slow with neither team getting out of first gear and despite Lurgan’s high percentage of possession they just couldn’t break the deadlock, with play breaking down in the final third of the pitch. St Mary’s sat deep and provided stern opposition for the ever pressing Lurgan lads, counter-attacking with their very impressive front men. The defence of Mawhinney, McCambley, Truesdale and Wilson dealt with the counters relatively well but the threat was very evident and credit to St Mary’s they utilised this extremely well, giving the Lurgan back four a tough morning. With fifteen minutes gone St Mary’s made the breakthrough, with some neat counter attacking football equalled by some poor Lurgan defending. Lurgan found themselves in a tough situation however like all good teams, they have character and resilience, this was shown with some hard fought battling in the middle of the pitch with Brown, Young and Mulligan pressing and chasing every ball down. Their hard work was soon rewarded when they won the ball back and began to retain possession and control of the game. With five minutes to go in the first half an exquisite pass by Wilson found a willing runner in Sean McCartan who powered his way to goal and equalised for Lurgan Town, with a clinical finish.
Half Time 1-1
The Second half began and St Mary’s began to take the game to Lurgan yet again going close on a number of occasions only for the very impressive Cunningham in goals to thwart their efforts. Lurgan then began to realise that they were in a real tough game and they needed to increase the intensity, tempo and work rate if they were to progress into the next round. There were a couple of changes made Lyle replaced Wilson and McConville replaced Truesdale. The changes began to bring a bit more life into the Lurgan side and again Lurgan began to regain composure of the game. Lyle was outstanding up top carrying the game to the St Mary’s defence and McConville helped to regain composure at the back for Lurgan. With both team’s keen to progress and fighting for every ball the game became very scrappy and it could have went either way. A foul in the middle of the pitch was awarded to Lurgan at the dismay of everyone watching, however Lurgan didn’t wait and a quick ball from McCambley played in Mulligan who ran from just over the half way line to hold off two defenders and slipped the ball past the on rushing St Mary’s Goalkeeper. The decision from the referee and the sucker punch goal seemed to affect the St Mary’s team and Lurgan began to press and push for more goals missing a number of clear cut chances. Lurgan then introduced Mallon into the game, the tricky winger made an instant impact with a mazy run beating two St Marys defenders only to put his effort wide of the post. Lurgan kept pressing for the third and with the introduction of Matthews it was clear what their intent was, more goals and a convincing win. However, as Lurgan pressed for the third they were caught in the middle of the park and St Mary’s broke again only to see their excellent shot saved with ease by Cunningham. The whistle blew and Lurgan sealed their victory. Well Done All. Man of the Match Fraser Cunningham who was outstanding in goals.
Team (Cunningham, Mawhinney, McCambley, Truesdale, Wilson, Brown, Young, Mulligan, McCartan, Mallon, Matthews, Lyle, McConville)
Full Time 2-1
Lurgan have progressed now into the next round of the Plate to play Craigavon City Colts on 18th March. Lurgan Town would like to thank St Mary’s for the competitive game and wish them all the best for the rest of the season. Lurgan on the other hand will need to up their game if they are to continue on their winning ways.