Town Reserves returned to action for the first time since December 2nd with a local derby fixture against Hill Street Reserves at the Arena.
A derby fixture like this was the perfect match to return to after such a long break as it ensured any rustiness in the players would be blown off early on.
Town started like a house on fire and Bunting set the tone by winning the first few battles down the left hand side as Hill St were frustrated in their attempts to get forward. Bunting then started an attack as his ball inside found McMahon who had a shooting chance but slipped at the crucial moment. The Town midfielder didn’t slip the next time he got the ball in that area, as he took Irvine’s pass in his stride and smashed the ball home from the edge of the area after 10 minutes.
Five minutes later the trick was repeated as McMahon again received the ball on the edge of the area, and he turned to fire home a second under the keeper.
Towns tails were up and kept the pressure on the Hill Street goal, Houston going through on the keeper but he hit it straight at him. From the resulting corner however, James Lindsay curled the ball straight in over the keeper to put Town 3 up.
A let off for Town came next as Hill Street got a penalty but they fired the ball over the bar, and after a bizarre retake decision, Boyce made a fantastic save. Again Town capitalised on this and went up the pitch to force another corner. Adam Glenn’s delivery was slotted home by Houston at the back post.
Before half time the Hill Street striker kept the game alive for his team by volleying home unmarked at the back post. Half time 4-1.
As impressive as Town had been in the first 45 minutes, the message was to keep the tempo high and kill the game off as soon as possible. The team responded inside 2 minutes of the second half when Houston again went through one on one and this time he slotted home a calm finish.
Hill Street were reduced to 10 men around the hour mark but they pulled a second goal back when they scored a penalty with 25 minutes left.
Town again responded well to that set back. Irvine got himself on the scoresheet when he pounced on a lose ball in the box to round the keeper and tap into the empty net, deserved reward for the teams top scorer after taking some tough challenges and putting in super work rate for his team.
Town then introduced some fresh legs up top with McNeil and Luke Glenn coming on in place of Evans and Houston who had worked tirelessly. These two lads gave fresh attacking options for the midfield of Trainor, McMahon and Adam Glenn to pick out and this lead to a grandstand finish. Firstly McNeils run was picked out in behind the full back and he cut into the box to smash a finish beyond the keeper for the 7th goal, keeping up his record of scoring in every game he’s played for the reserve side. His second followed shortly after when he followed up Adam Glenn’s spilled shot bravely, and tapped into the net.
The scoring was completed with the final kick of the game when Luke Glenn picked the ball up on the left and he slalomed into the box and dinked the ball over the keeper for a brilliant goal and seal a very satisfying performance from Lurgan Town. Final score 9-2.
Special mention must go to the Town back four of Lindsay, Wing, Freeburn and Bunting who were magnificent, marshalled brilliantly by Boyce.
The team would like to dedicate the win to the family of Player of the Year Adam Craig after the sad passing of his father Ivan this week.
Boyce, Lindsay, Freeburn, Wing, Bunting, McMahon, Trainor, A Glenn, Houston, Irvine, Evans
L Glenn (Evans)