Lurgan Town U15’s kicked off their season proper today with a hard fought win against a decent Dungannon Youth side and some questionable refereeing decisions. Both teams started reasonably well on a slippy pitch but it wasn’t long before Town began to take control and dominate possession, playing a good team game from the back to front. Ronan Watkins tested the opposition keeper and defence a couple of times before opening the scoring with a 20yard shot which the Dungannon keeper fumbled into the net, not long after Town should have had a penalty when the ball was deliberately handled in Dungannon area but the referee ignored the calls despite clearly seeing the incident, Town were continuously frustrated by refereeing decisions throughout the game which opposition parents even commented on. Credit to the Town players though they never let it get to them and continued to push for the for the second goal and a bit of a cushion going into half time, it wasn’t to be though and in a rare Dungannon breakaway down the left hand side of the pitch a ball was whipped into the danger area and took a wicked deflection off one of our own players past a stranded James Hamilton who could do nothing about it. The boys came in 1-1 at half time despite having the majority of the play.
The coaches changed the shape slightly at the beginning of the second half to try and force the issue but found it working against us with Dungannon beginning to dominate play for about 15 minutes at the beginning of the half with a few of their stronger players getting to see more time on the ball, the shape was quickly changed back and Town began to take control again of the play, but another poor refereeing decision gave Dungannon the lead when they were awarded a very dubious free kick 25yards out from goal, the kick was hit high and hard and keeper James Hamilton was unfortunate not to keep it out of the net. Town players were beginning to become frustrated with the officiating which was close to boiling over, with a town player picking up a yellow card for making a comment on one of the many decisions going against us. The boys however regained their composure and with the clock running down showed tremendous character digging in and pressing for the equaliser with Josh Johnston unfortunate with a header just wide of the post followed shortly after with a drive right at the keeper before he got his just rewards to take the score back to 2-2 and not long after with only minutes of the game to go forced the opposition keeper into making a mistake and tucking the ball into the net to the delight of his teammates who were ecstatic when the ball hit the back of the net.
Couple of good lessons learnt today with team spirit and character shown in the face of adversity and the boys got their just rewards in the end.