Town U15’s travelled to Coalisland this week in a top of the table clash. Looking to finish the month on a high after good wins in their opening 3 matches the boys were under no illusion that this would be their hardest test to date against an also unbeaten, high scoring Coalisland side who up until today had only conceded 3 goals. Town started reasonably well and were the first to come closest to scoring with Ethan Gorman cracking a shot off the crossbar early in the game, Spencer Young also came close when a great ball was played in from the right wing Spencer rose to meet it heading downwards he just didn’t make the connection he would have liked with the keeper collecting in his arms. Town continued to push with Mackenzie Craig a driving force in the midfield always battling and probing for the opening that would make a difference. It was Ethan Gorman who eventually did open the account, running with pace holding off and beating a number of Coalisland players before making sure the ball hit the back of the net. Town were well on top at this stage and Coalisland were losing their composure a bit and Town were looking stronger as the game went on. Ethan again came close, but again the bar denying him. Jake Turner who had been causing problems on the left had to come off when he was caught high on the leg and was replaced by Ben Cullen who took over where Jake had left off running at the Coalisland back line. Despite creating the majority of the chances in the first half Town struggled to find that elusive second goal that would have given them a comfortable cushion going into half time. With a couple of minutes left on the clock the quick wee Coalisland striker found himself some space between the Town centre halves who were stretched covering the fullbacks who at times were just sitting to high up the pitch, running onto a through ball the Coalisland striker rounded the Town keeper and finished to make it all even at the whistle.
Town made a few changes at half time with Josh Johnston and Ronan Watkins coming on for Spencer Young and Mackenzie Craig who had been an absolute engine in the first 35 minutes but unfortunately he had picked up a yellow card just before half time and the coaches felt with such a tight game they couldn’t take the chance of going down to 10 men and reluctantly took Mac off. There was no fear though as the guys coming on were absolutely up for the fight and the second half began with Town again driving at the Coalisland backline at every opportunity, Josh Johnston had a go early on putting the ball over the bar before Ethan Gorman again was stopped by the woodwork but not to be put off he got going again and with another strong run carved the defence open to claim his and Towns second goal of the day. Josh Johnston almost made it 3 when he too carved open the defence only to drag the ball just wide of the post. Johnston and Ben Cullen began linking up well on the right wing causing all kinds on problems with one of these moves almost putting Ronan Watkins on the score sheet. Ben slipped Josh down the line and with still plenty of work to do his quick feet lost 2 players before putting a fine ball across to the unmarked Watkins just off the back post, the ball took an unfortunate bobble just as Watkins was about to strike it and by the time he was able to bring it under control Ronan had been closed down. The game eventually finished 2-1 and another valuable 3 points on the board to stay top of the table with Armagh City on 15 points a piece.
The boys were unfortunate at times, hitting the woodwork 3 or 4 times over the course of the game. Town were good from back to front with James Hamilton having very little to do due to a solid defensive performance which in turn allowed the more forward players to play their game comfortably without worry. There are lessons to be learned from every game and todays lesson is to be a bit more clinical when the chances do come and a bit more disciplined in the wider defensive areas easing unnecessary pressure at times to ensure these games are out of sight as early as possible. The fact the boys are creating so many chances in the games is a big positive and conceding only 5 goals over the opening 4 games is also a big positive, so all in all a good solid performance with some things we can improve on for our next game going from strength to strength.
Team: James Hamilton, Sofian Mouhsine, Kyle Thompson, Adam Vennard, Mark Christie, Ben Cullen, Aidan Cassidy, Tom Leatham, Ethan Gorman (2), Ronan Watkins, Mackenzie Craig, Josh Johnston, James Maguire, Spencer Young, Jake Turner