Lurgan Town u15’s went into todays match hoping to build on the previous weeks performance. A no show by the designated referee and then losing the toss we were always going to be up against it. Lurgan Celtic who had been on a great run of form were given a helping hand early on when their striker collected the ball, despite standing at least 4 yards offside when played, was allowed to run on into the box and allowed to get his shot away putting it out of the reach of the Lurgan Town keeper. Celtic then stretched their lead with an absolutely shocking penalty decision within 5 minutes of the first goal, with Adam Vennard simply holding the Celtic striker off with his strength, the Celtic player was pushing against the big town defender and when he realised he wasn’t shifting Adam he went to ground. The Celtic striker made no mistake with the finish giving the opposition an undeserved 2 goal cushion early in the game. Credit to the Town boys they continued to battle on and tested the keeper when Ben Cullen hit a drive towards goal but was straight into the keepers arms, Ben did however pull one back shortly after with a finely hit shot leaving the keeper stranded. Town finished the half on top of the play but due to circumstances beyond their control came in 2-1 down at half time and still all to play for.
Town started the second half the way they finished the first looking for the equaliser and trying to play the football, refusing to get dragged into the kicking, pushing and punching that the opposition were blatantly bringing more and more into the game unchecked by the stand in referee. Ethan Gorman was unlucky not to get the equaliser when driving through the Celtic back line spotted the keeper off his line but unfortunately just lifted the ball to high and over the bar for a goal kick. Spencer Young was also unfortunate when through on the keeper they both met the ball at the same time and the keeper went down seemingly coming out worse in the collision and play stopped for a short period. Celtic did have a few chances the second half as well but were easily dealt with between the organised Town defence and quick thinking from James Hamilton in nets. Celtic did however stretch their lead with about 15 minutes to go with a well taken goal. Again Town gathered themselves and a great ball down the right wing and perfect delivery from James Johnston to the front post allowed Spencer Young to nip in and tuck the ball in past the Celtic keeper. Unfortunately this was to be the last goal of the game with Celtic walking away with a 3-2 victory and all 3 points.
This was both an encouraging and disappointing game for different reasons. Disappointing that an official didn’t turn up to a game which was always going to be hard fought, disappointing with the early undeserved 2 goal advantage gifted to the opposition, disappointing that a lot of the misbehaviour went unchecked in a game that could easily have seen the opposition down 1 possibly 2 players by the end and disappointing that the man in the middle was put in the thankless position in the first place due to a match official not showing up. Encouraging that despite everything the boys got on with the game in the manner that they did, encouraging that because of the way they played they were never out of the game, encouraging that over the course of the game Town were the better of the 2 sides and encouraging that after the past 2 weeks performances we look like a team that is back on track.
Next week will be another tough fixture against Armagh City going into the Christmas break.
Team: James Hamilton, Kyle Thompson, Adam Vennard, Mark Christie, Aidan Cassidy, Ben Cullen (1), James Maguire, Ronan Watkins, Mackenzie Craig, Ethan Gorman, Spencer Young (1), Kyle White, Sofian Mouhsine, Josh Johnston