Lurgan Town U19s played Craigavon City yesterday in the Semi Finals of the Savage Cup. The match kicked off and Lurgan set the early pace which cumulated in Niall smashing a ball against off the crossbar after being played in by Matthew. The match was very physical and for some reason Craigavon seemed to be favoured by the referee who booked Morgan for his first tackle which would set the standard for other tackles but only if committed by Lurgan Town he was oblivious to Craigavons physical intent. This however did not deter Lurgan who played through the zones and pressurised Craigavon defence who were resolute.
It was City who took the lead with their centre forward turning in the box to fire a shot through the defenders outstretched leg for it to bobble past the keeper. This buoyed City who looked for another goal but Lurgan plugged away and again took control of the game, attempts by Lewis, Niall and Woods all to no avail, however it was Woods who from a free kick caused confusion in the City defence for Adam to hammer home at close range. 1 each. It wasn’t long after that Lurgan went ahead when Alex Woods picked the ball up outside the box and drove a shot to the goal keepers right Lurgan 2-1 up.
Second half City upped the intensity but Lurgan maintained their discipline and posing a threat at every opportunity. Unfortunately the referee still seemed to be targeting Lurgan with yellow cards whilst allowing City to get away with similar offenses, and this accumulated in Jay picking up two yellows in quick succession to leave Lurgan with 10 men for the next 35minutes. This made Lurgan more determined and keeping City at bay with strong defending and battling in the middle of the park. Joshua made a first class save by diving to his right and pushing the ball away to safety to keep Lurgan in front.
With full time approaching City broke from midfield while Lurgan tried to play offside and the midfielder poked the ball past the on coming keeper. Full time 2 each 20 minutes extra time. The first half was played at a frantic rate and both sides went close. As the end of the first period of extra time approached City broke down the right. With the ball driven across the box the third man runner tapped the ball into the net. City 3 Lurgan 2 .
The second half of extra time City tried to slow the play down by taking longer to take throw ins and the keeper holding onto the ball a bit longer, however he wasn’t booked but for some reason our keeper was booked for the same reason. As the second period of extra time was closing the ball was played down our left which was driven across the box. Denver trapped the ball and turned while letting a shot off which bobbled into the net, que wild celebrations from both the team and the coaches. 3-3 and on to PENALTIES.
City scored with their first and Lurgan missed with a save by the City keeper. However that was matched by Joshua 3 spot kicks later, so after 5 penalties it was level. Sudden Death Lurgan and City matched each other but City missed first and Lurgan needed to score the their’s to win – Lurgan missed, sudden death continued.
City missed again and up walked Adam Leatham who slotted his home and again prompted massive celebrations from the lads result in in Adam at the bottom if a massive pile on. A great team performance by everyone and great to see the lads supporting each other during the penalty shoot out with the takers, subs and injured players all in the centre circle. Well proud.
Team: Joshua, Matthew, Morgan, Jay, Blacoe, Timmy, Adam L, Simon, Lewis, Niall, Woodsie, Ryan, Wheelie, Denver and Oliver
MOTM: Joshua Pugh. 3 great penalty saves.