Town reserves took on Lower Maze in Lisburn and came away with a point after a scrappy game. Despite the mild conditions the pitch was heavy and cut up pretty quickly, making the game a slog in patches. Town started relatively brightly and created a few chances for the front three of Irvine, Boyce and Winters. The deadlock was broken by Irvine when he cut in from the left and finished well.
The game turned into a long ball marathon after that as players took the easy option rather than attempt to play short on the worsening surface. Lower Maze were more effective with this tactic and scored twice before the end of the half to lead 2-1 at the whistle.
Town rejigged the midfield to cope with the direct ball at half time and came out with a renewed purpose. Service to the strikers instantly improved and Irvine grabbed his second of the game with a thumping finish to draw the sides level soon after the restart.
Town were well on top at this stage and added further goals when Irvine completed his hat trick with another excellent finish cutting in from the left, and Andy McIvor burst through the defence to finish one on one with the keeper.
Towns play did get patchy again however, and the game looked like it was going to drift away without further incident. But Lower Maze are fighting the drop and they piled bodies forward in an attempt to get back into the game. They got their rewards from a set piece to pull one back, and with the last kick of the game capitalised to a defensive mistake to get a point.
Team: Hancock, Devlin, Carson, Freeburn, Wing, Stokes, James McNally, Evans, Boyce, Irvine, Winters
Subs: Trainor (Stokes), Bunting (Wing), McIvor (Evans)