After two failed attempts Lurgan Celtic and Coagh finally played their outstanding game in the Coca Cola Intermediate Cup at Coagh’s reserve ground last Saturday due to the regular pitch being deemed unfit, but the teams agreed to swap grounds to eventually get the game played.
Celtic made the trip with only youth team player Caolan Lavery on the bench due to unavailability of no less then seven players, three cup tied and the rest out through illness or injury so Chris Coleman and Daniel Rowney made their first starts in defence and goals respectively.
The match started with Celtic playing into a strong swirling breeze but despite this they tried to take the game to Coagh.
However the home side took the lead on 10 minutes after sustained pressure led to a well hit shot aided by the wind leaving Rowney rooted to the spot as it flew into the top corner.
Celtic battled to try and gain a foothold in the game but went further behind after Jonny Montgomery was harshly adjudged to have fouled a Coagh forward and the rather softly awarded penalty was easily despatched leaving the visitors two down after 21 minutes.
It was no surprise Coagh went three goals ahead in the 35th minute after Celtic failed to deal with a cross and the ball was tapped in, but the Hoops reply came within two minutes after some good play down the left when Raymond Fitzpatrick’s deft pass let in Michael Toland to steer a right foot shot into the far corner.
Although the pitch held up well the surface was slippy and after the opening minutes a few of the Celtic players found difficulty keeping their footing as they made attempts to challenge for the ball leading to them committing fouls they normally wouldn’t have. Just as it looked like they would go in 3-1 down Coagh scored a disputed goal right on the whistle when the ball was played through to a player who appeared a yard offside but with no official linesmen the referee didn’t blow and the ball was easily tapped in to put the home side 4-1 up at the break.
Celtic started the second half in more determined fashion, but as luck would have it the strong wind that Coagh enjoyed in the opening hale subsided and the Hoops didn’t have the advantage the home side had earlier.
Celtic were the more dominant side although they had a certain sluggishness about them due to not having played a game since the 11th of January.
During the second period Coagh were on the back foot for most of it, but when they did break on two occasions Rowney pulled off good saves to keep the scoreline intact.
Montgomery connected with a blistering low free kick from all of 35 yards which the home keeper kept out with some difficulty and on 80 minutes Celtic got the reward their control of the game deserved when a corner from the right was firmly planted into the net by Fitzpatrick with a firm header leaving the scoreline at 4-2.
The Hoops couldn’t get a third goal to set up a grandstand finish with both sides probably glad to hear the final whistle on a bitterly cold day.
This Saturday Celtic return to league action (weather permitting) at Knockramer Park kick off 3.00pm when the entertain league leaders PSNI and most if not all of the missing players should be available for selection.