Lurgan Town MU Predators 04’s were back in action this week after a one week break due to a pitch postponement last week. Town came into this game off the back of a big win in the league cup 2 weeks previous. Lurgan knew this was always going to be a tough game with Fivemiletown United siting 2nd in their league division, the boys knew this was going to be one of our biggest tests yet in Mid Ulster with young Josh Johnston turning down the chance to go and watch his team Arsenal play live in the big London derby to instead step out in the Yellow, Red and Black of Lurgan Town, now that is dedication.
The visitors were the brighter side from the first whistle pressing high up the pitch and putting pressure on the Town midfield and defence. Lurgan just couldn’t get into their stride in the early stages with the ball being given away cheaply on to many occasions inviting pressure on ourselves. It was Town however that broke the deadlock totally against the run of play when a great ball was threaded forward left for Ronan Watkins who made no mistake with his finish. This galvanised the home side for a short period but unfortunately this didn’t last long when the opposition lively number 8 was allowed space to run with the ball and finished well to bring the score level. As the half went on Town began to drag themselves into the game and forcing it to be played further up the pitch and this paid off with five minutes to half time when Soufian Mouhsine collected the ball in the box and an opposition player came flying in with a reckless challenge deservedly earning himself a red card for dangerous play and a penalty for Lurgan Town. The initial shot from James Maguire was saved by the opposition keeper but James was first to the rebound putting himself in where it hurt to poke the ball into the net. 2-1 at half time and the Town coaches where happy with the lead but disappointed with the application on the pitch. Town made a couple of changes at half time to try and nullify the opposition strengths and take the game by the scruff.
The second half began 11 against 10 but Fivemiletown didn’t let that hold them back and they tried to push for the equaliser, Town did have their chances in the second half with a few frustrating decisions going against them none more so than a third goal disallowed when a free kick was spilled by the Fivemiletown keeper and Cameron Mackay was first to react putting the ball in the net. The referee blew for offside although it certainly seemed a very harsh decision for the Town team and Coaches who certainly seen it differently. As the game progressed the visitors threw everything at the game pushing for an equaliser and it came when an unusual slip-up at the back who had been reasonably solid all game allowed the opposition striker through to take the teams level, which is how the game finished with points shared in the league cup. It was a disappointing draw from the Town perspective, we certainly didn’t play to our strengths today against a 10 man opposition for most of the game. The visiting side certainly left the happier of the 2 sides with the result in a game of controversy with an opposition player and coach sent off both which they hotly disputed and a disallowed goal for Town which we certainly disputed. It was a grafted point in a game when we weren’t at our best, which was frustrating for both the coaches and the boys who just couldn’t get things going the way we would have liked. Games like that come along from time to time and we have to take and learn from it. The boys did show character when things weren’t just going right and kept digging in. The point still leaves Town in a good position at this early stage in the group with 4 points out of a possible 6.
Team: Jake Edgar, Luke Hammond, Ben Cuthbert, Adam Vennard, James Maguire (C) (1), Bobby Jones, Ricardo Aruajo, Josh Johnston, Cameron Mackay, Ronan Watkins (1), Sofian Mouhsine, Kyle White, Ronan McCann, Aidan Cassidy, Jake Turner