The Swifts played Hillsborough Reserves on Saturday in their second league game of the season. After a hot summer which caused damage to the Arena grass pitch it was the Swifts getting to play first match on it since May. The pitch was in excellent condition with ideal weather conditions. There were first senior appearances for Alex Wheelan and Adam Leathem.
Hillsborough were in control of the game from kick off as they showed the superior experience as they had Lurgan chasing shadows. The Swifts defence of Ryan Upton, Morgan Smyth and Jonny Turkington were standing firm with some last ditch tackles. Hillsborough deservedly took the lead however the young Swifts team didn’t let heads go down. Unfortunately the Swifts lost Denver Elliott to an injury after 10 minutes and was replaced by veteran Glenn Emerson. The Swifts grew in confidence with Lewis McKinley showing he was getting back to form after a spell of illness. Lewis hit in 2 great corners that should’ve been attacked and a free kick saved by the keeper as well as playing numerous defence splitting passes. The wing backs of Adam Leathem and Ryan Blacoe were getting into good attacking positions. An equaliser for the Swifts came from the hard working Niall McBride when he ran onto a pass that included link up play with Morgan Smyth, Alan Stokes in which Niall beat the offside trap to score with great composure. Niall’s composure was more evident when he was through on goal, he was closed down but he held the ball until support arrived via Simon Wilson which Niall played a pass for Simon to score his first of the season. Glenn Emerson was unlucky not to score as he watched his shot just go over. Hillsborough hit back pretty quick after some confusion in Lurgans defence as the striker scored with a super finish. A super tackle from Glenn Emerson prevented Hillsborough going into the break with the lead. H-T 2-2.
The Swifts changed formation in the second half as they went 4-3-3. The change helped tighten the defensive unit. Alex Wheelan was linking up well with the impressive Jonny Turkington and Niall McBride as the half progressed. The Swifts 3rd arrived via the same duo as the second goal when Niall setup Simon to score his second with a better finish as he gave the keeper no chance. A very fortunate 4th arrived when Niall forced the opposition keeper into an error as he misplaced a pass. The pass fell to Ryan Blacoe who hit a high loopy shot on target which was helped in by the defender. Ryan was awarded the goal as it was on target. In Lurgans defensive area anything that got past the defence was dealt with by Keeper Josh Pugh with comfort. Both teams could’ve had a penalty each towards the end of the game but they weren’t awarded. Scott McCammon came on at right back to give some fresh legs. F-T 4-2
It was a super result for the team against a very good Hillsborough team. The young team showed great desire and maturity to make it 2 wins from 2. There were some super individual performances however it was Niall McBride being selected as the player of the match. Niall is not only a hard worker and goalscorer but always willing to learn and improve. Well done the Swifts.