FOR the second week in succession Lurgan Celtic went out of a cup competition on a 3-0 scoreline when they lost at Newbuildings last Saturday.
Newbuildings were quickest out of the blocks and penned the Hoops back but the defence ably marshalled by Paul Donegan played the ball out of defence without any sign of panic as the home side, as expected, tried to gain a firm grip on proceedings although in Celtic’s first attack Raymond Fitzpatrick was just marginally offside when put through.
The home side forced a corner but Ciaran Fox in the Celtic goal punched well clear to see off any danger. Daniel Ryan then put in a couple of breaks stretching the home defence and Aaron Haire blazed wildly over the bar when well placed but overall the Hoops were looking very lethargic in their movement and lacking real urgency on and off the ball but for the final 15 minutes of the opening half they totally dominated the play forcing Newbuildings to concede a number of free kicks which yielded nothing although in the final minute of the half Donegan came close when he took possession from a corner and shot narrowly over sending the teams in at the interval scoreless.
When the sides came out for the second half Newbuildings went at the Hoops and gained three corners in quick succession with Fox turning the first two over the bar while under fierce pressure but could only palm out the third and central defender Dean Curry, a target for Derry City, drove home through a crowded six yard area to give his side the lead on 50 minutes.
Play then went from end to end and Fox made a good save from a low long range effort and after McKavanagh made way for Laverey the keeper stopped a goalbound effort with his foot and by this stage Celtic were looking disjointed and spiritless as the home side sensed an upset was on the cards. O’Hara then hit a shot just past the post and Mackin came on for McCabe with Celtic going three at the back in an attempt to salvage the game but they conceded a second goal om 70 minutes when the referee harshly adjudged McEvoy to have pushed a home player in the area when it appeared that the forward had fallen over his own feet and despite the protests of players and supporters alike the decision stood. Steve Curry slotted the penalty home to increase the score.
The Hoops finally had their first goalscoring attempt on 75 minutes when Mackin and Haire combined for Haire to see his effort saved by the goalie and he came off shortly after this to be replace by Lawless but by then the game was slipping away and although the Hoops forced a few corners they were caught out when a break resulted in Faulkner scoring a clinching score on 87 minutes to leave the hopes of the Hoops in tatters for the second week in succession.
The overall performance of the side was not up to the standard expected and too many players had below par performances on the day and too many players didn’t seem motivated or hungry for the game despite the fact that a last eight place was up for grabs. With only the league to concentrate on now is the time for everyone to pull together on the field starting this week with a difficult away trip to Queen’s University who are a quality side although Celtic beat them last November and a simliar result will re-ignite the Hoops promotion charge.