Lurgan Town National under 14s braved the elements on Saturday at the Arena to a 1-1 draw with fellow title challengers Maiden City and with the gales and rain causing havoc to the play and credit to the boys to play in those conditions.
The draw only tells part of the story as Maiden only got their equaliser in the dying seconds to break the Lurgan hearts after the boys battled hard to win the game.
The match was never going to be a classic due to the weather although the boys tried to get the ball down and play when they could but really the weather took control of much of the play and blew the ball all over the place at times. The first half saw Lurgan start well with Ryan Finlay going close with a shot and Andrew McIvor nearly heading a Zach Annett free kick in. With winds gusting across the pitch balls into the box just would not drop to a Lurgan player with Rhys Jones and Mark Farrell nearly on the end of chances but the elements took control to the boys disappointment.
Maiden played on the counter but keeper Reuben Cobb was alert to any danger with the back four of Jordon Brown, Zach Annett, Jamie Lamont and Ross McMorris outstanding playing with control and calmness and most of Maidens shots came from long range to Lurgan’s relief.
The second half started at a frantic pace with Maiden pushing forward more but captain Josiah Burgess was working hard in midfield and pushing his team forward and it was Josiah who broke the deadlock hooking a shot over his head and over the keeper. At this stage Oran McGuckin was looking dangerous with Ryan on the right also causing Maiden problems at every chance and it was his cross that Sam Tuxworth nearly converted just going wide and the second goal just would not come which left the match on a knife edge.
Maiden had a couple of chances and a free kick on the edge of the box which sailed over and a win looked on the cards until the final couple of seconds when a high ball sailed over the Lurgan backline and the Maiden striker nipping in to break Lurgan hearts. The boys were outstanding in awful conditions with the back four fantastic and very unlucky, but player of the match goes to Josiah Burgess who after his injury is really finding top form again.