Lurgan Town returned to action after the Christmas break with a difficult fixture against top of the table Loughgall at Gordon Playing Fields. Long term injury to Caleb Thompson and sickness to others had the u14’s calling on additional help from the u13’s to be able to fulfil the fixture. Town made the worst possible start, going 1 nil down within the opening 2 minutes. A long upfield clearance from Loughgall caused indecision at the centre of the Lurgan defence. An under-hit back pass from Eran Loughran failed to reach the keeper and the Loughgall striker nipped in to make it one nil. Lurgan regrouped quickly and dominated play throughout the 1st half. Jude Rea causing problems to Loughgall from midfield dribbled into the box and was caught late by the Loughgall fullback. The Referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot. Corey Hylands stepped up and calmly dispatched the spot kick into the corner.
Caleb Hawthorne playing in a more attacking role today was dominating midfield and produced several moments of quality. Winning possession time after time he drove Lurgan forward and the team were rewarded with a 2nd goal just before half time. A good move down the right side saw the ball fall to Corey Hylands with his back to goal 18 yards out. A quick turn and wonderful shot from Hylands saw the ball fly into the top corner. Todays 2 goals from Corey Hylands continued his rich vain of form.
Half Time – Lurgan Town 2 – Loughgall 1
Loughgall came out quickly and pushed Lurgan back throughout the 2nd half. Jack Hollis produced two fine saves midway through the 2nd half to keep Lurgan in front. Hylands and Ben Wells had long range efforts comfortably saved by the Loughgall keeper but Lurgan failed to create any meaningful chances in the 2nd half. Midway through the half Lurgan Town made 3 substitutes. Players returning from Covid illness started to tire and massive credit to those lads for competing so well for 50 minutes on their return to football. Loughgall deservedly equalised with 10 minutes to go. A low cross in from the left wing was deflected in by Eolann McKenna for an own goal.
The final few minutes saw no more chances for either side and both coaches agreed a draw was a fair result. A difficult run of fixtures has saw the U14’s play teams that will all be completing for the Premiership Title at the end of the season. Next up are Banbridge Town Juniors.