Lurgan Town made the short trip to AFC Craigavon for their first derby encounter of the season, and came away with a superb 7-1 win.
Both teams didn’t start the opening 5 minutes well at all, misplaced passes were causing problems for both teams. Scott Wiltshire took charge on 7 minutes, skipped past his man, passing into Luke Adams who hit a defence splitting ball to release Gargasas, and the big Lithuanian finished with ease past the AFC keeper. Shortly after this, Gargasas teamed up well with Gregg, who found some space and sent a thunderbolt toward the top corner, only to see Geoghegan make a superb save.
Lurgan made it 2-0 on 29 minutes. Following a brilliant save at close range from Heaney, the ball broke to the edge of the box with unlikely source Tiarnan Judge making no mistake, slotting home and doubling the lead. Good work by Smiley on the right, playing into Gregg, who worked an opening for himself and struck a loose shot towards goal, but Timmy Millen had other ideas, “intentionally” directing the ball home to make it 3-0 and get him off and running for the season.
Morgan Smyth went agonisingly close with an effort at the back post, but wasn’t to be for the young full back. Just before the half time mark, a superb run by Gregg, left the defender in his wake, got to the bye line and composed himself before picking out Luke Adams at the back stick to comfortably head home making it 4-0 at the interval.
The second half started as the first finished with Lurgan Town taking charge from start. AFC were becoming increasingly frustrated, and it started to show with some of the tackling, but the Lurgan men didn’t let this affect their game and continued with wave after wave of attack. Finishing was poor, and unlike the lads who are normally clinical in front of goal, and it gave hope to Craigavon on 62 minutes, when Lurgan Town failed to clear the ball, resulting in McManus tapping in from close range, much to the joy of the home support and players that the clean sheet had disappeared for the Lurgan men.
Heaney was going close and will be disappointed not to find the net on the day, while Hamilton forced a few more saves close range saves from Geoghegan, before Judge stepped up and doubled his tally for the day, finishing well again from the edge of the box to make it 5-1. Another attack from Lurgan Town, seen a poor clearance from AFC, with the ball dropping to Gregg who fired the ball into the net under pressure to make it 6-1.
The final goal of the game came when Joel Adams pushed forward and was fouled on the edge of the box, letting Gregg stand over it. With more men in the wall than normal, the odds were against him, but a superb finish into the top corner leaving the keeper rooted to the spot to made it 7-1. The game finished with more chances going a miss much to the relief of Craigavon and the frustration of the Lurgan men.
Final Score: AFC Craigavon 1-7 Lurgan Town
Lurgan Town can be happy with scoring seven goals on the day, and what is pleasing is the goals are coming from players all over the pitch, and not just set individuals, which has been the case throughout pre-season also. Sometimes in these games it’s easy to lose your composure and discipline especially from a positional point of view, so in that aspect it’s something to improve on for the Lurgan men. Some great goals were on show with good play in stages of the game, and everyone can be over the moon with the result which put the boys top of what is shaping up to be a very competitive league.