Friday night saw the two Lurgan Town under 15 teams meet for the first time this season in league action. This was a big game for both teams with the current league leaders hoping to continue their unbeaten run and the Predators keen to put an end to that run and in turn grab their first points of the campaign. The conditions on the night were some of the worst the boys have played in with driving wind and rain from the off which steadily got worse as the game went on. Both teams struggled at times keeping control of the ball resulting in a lot of untidy play. Predators had set up well and closed down Town possession quickly forcing mistakes and at times leading to unusually poor decision making, Town however saw the majority of the ball throughout the first half without ever really looking dangerous in the final third, and any shots from distance were not helped by the wind against them resulting in Ronan Watkins and Ben Cullen both seeing shots drift wide of the post. Both keepers had very little to do until Travis Young bundled Ronan Watkins over in the box for a penalty kick. Some gamesmanship delayed the penalty for a slight period before Ben Cullen stepped up only to see his resulting shot go wide of the post to the joy of the Predator team and their supporters. Both teams went in at half time scoreless, the Predators clearly happy that they had stuck to their game plan and Town disappointed that they could not get into their stride.
The second half kicked off and the wind picked up at times swirling from all directions making the conditions very difficult for all concerned. Town began to impose themselves a bit more in the second half pushing play further up the pitch but without any sign of breakthrough goal. This was beginning to look like a game with draw written all over it, that is until Ashley Martin fouled 25 yards out from goal and Ben Cullen stood up to make amends from his earlier penalty miss by driving the ball high into the roof of the net, direct from the free kick. This seemed to waken the Town boys up a bit and they began to probe with a bit more determination to try and stretch the lead although the Predator team stayed strong to keep them out. As the game grew into the closing stages Town began to play some fast moving and flowing football especially down the right hand side of the pitch but just seemed to be missing that final cutting edge that would allow them to stretch their lead. The game finished 1-0 to Lurgan Town with the Predators side becoming the closest any side has come this season to ending Towns winning run of form.
This was a game that always had the potential of becoming a banana skin but credit to the league leaders who despite struggling to hit their best form found a way through to pull the much needed three points out of the hat. Credit must also go to Jonny Martin and the Predators side who fought for everything, they stood tall and went toe to toe with the Town side and it must be said were very unfortunate not to come away with at least a point only for a moment of magic to take that away from them. We hope the Predator lads can take that confidence and team spirit into their upcoming games and build on the performance we all know they are capable of. As for the Town side we now look towards next weeks game against Mountjoy who have recently been hitting a good period of form.
Team: James Hamilton, Kyle Thompson, Adam Vennard, James Maguire, Mark Christie, Ben Cullen (1), Aidan Cassidy, Tom Leatham, Ethan Gorman, Ronan Watkins, Mackenzie Craig, Spencer Young, Josh Johnston, Kyle White, Sofian Mouhsine