LURGAN BBOB 3 TULLYVALLEN 1
IN their last game of their 25th year anniversary season Lurgan BBOB triumped to lift the prestigious Foster Cup after beating Tullyvallen 3-1 at Annagh United’s Tandragee Road ground in Portadown last Friday night.
A close match was expected and so it proved for the most. Tullyvallen opened the scoring early on before BBOB came storming back to deservedly win 3-1 by the end, and so lift the cup for their third time, albeit their first time in thirteen years.
As is often the case in finals with a lot at stake, the showpiece occasion was quite tense and nervy at the start. Having won this cup only two years ago, Tullyvallen settled more quickly and they came closest to scoring when they had a looping effort that struck the crossbar. This seemed to spur BBOB on and they responded when Benjamin Greer lobbed a long range free-kick just over the crossbar, and then Matthew Gordon shot just wide past the outrushing goalkeeper.
On the quarter hour mark it was Tullyvallen who broke the deadlock when they broke down a BBOB attack and then worked the ball very quickly forward to their inside left channel before squaring for their attacker to slot home from inside the penalty area. This actually was the jolt that BBOB needed and now they really started to play, with the central midfield trio of Neil McConville, Jonathan Russell and Mark Russell starting to boss the game, while Richard Ferguson and Andrew Smyth became more prominent in the attacking wide areas. By playing some attractive pass and move football, BBOB pressed Tullyvallen into deep defence for much of the remainder of the half, winning a series of corner-kicks and coming close to equalising on a number of occasions.
On the half hour mark and after more sustained BBOB pressure, Smyth took a throw-in in a very advanced position on the right, which found Mark Russell close to the six yard area and he turned his marker to squeeze the ball into the net at the near post. BBOB continued to press until half-time but were unable to score again before the end of the half, a half which they did not now want to finish, and so the scores remained level on 1-1 at the break.
A buoyed up BBOB began the second half in very lively fashion and it was no surprise that they took the lead just ten minutes after the interval. Ferguson’s fine inswinging corner kick on BBOB’s right saw the Russell brothers combine well at the back post to tee up Derek Wilson for an improvised back heel finish. Tullyvallen responded by rallying hard in a bid to get back into the game but BBOB worked tigerishly to deny them any real opportunities. Alan Dowey and Stephen Harte were moved into midfield areas to give BBOB renewed energy here. BBOB pressed Tullyvallen hard, epitomised by outstanding midfield anchor McConville, with Vallen’s only response now to play long balls, which actually meant a lot of action in the BBOB half by this stage. However, BBOB’s back four of Wilson, Greer, skipper Matthew Kennedy and Derek Blakely, were all immense throughout the whole contest and continued to keep their opponents at bay, backed up by rock solid goalkeeper Seth Mathers behind.
With a quarter of an hour to go BBOB broke forward and after good work involving Harte, BBOB’s hardworking striker Gordon poked home from just inside the penalty area, a deserving goal for both the young striker and his BBOB team. BBOB comfortably saw out the closing quarter of an hour by still pressing right from their attack, where William Irvine now also played his part late on, right back throughout the whole team to their defence. In the end BBOB were full value for their 3-1 win, acknowledged also by a very gracious Tullyvallen in defeat.
BBOB will be delighted by this win and thrilled to win the Foster Cup in their 25th year anniversary season. This really was a fine team effort by the whole BBOB squad, where they showed great character to come from behind to win. As well as displaying their battling qualities throughout, they produced some fine periods of play, particularly for the last half hour of the first half when they equalised and then for the earlier part of the second half when they deservedly went ahead before extending their lead later on.
Lurgan BBOB thank their big support on the night and also Keith Hamilton for the matchday sponsorship.
LBBOB: Seth Mathers, Derek Blakely, Benjamin Greer, Matthew Kennedy, Derek Wilson, Neil McConville, Mark Russell, Jonathan Russell, Andrew Smyth, Richard Ferguson, Matthew Gordon. Subs: Paul Wright, Matthew Greer, Alan Dowey, Michael Wheatley, Ben Nelson, William Irvine, Stephen Harte.