Hoops pay penalty after losing a two goal lead

Lurgan Celtic celebrate one of their goals.
Lurgan Celtic celebrate one of their goals.

Lurgan Celtic paid the penalty for throwing away a two goal lead as they bowed out of the Bob Radcliffe Cup to Loughgall at Knockramer Park.

Celtic took the lead when Declan McVeigh intercepted a pass and played the ball to Henderson who burst through the centre of the pitch and swept a pass to Chris Lavery who put in a low cross from the left and Lavery moving in at speed fired the ball home from an acute angle. Stung by this setback Loughall went at Celtic and McCorry made another good save.

Loughall were dominating play and equalised when a ball was played into the box and Colin Rooney was adjudged to have fouled the opposing forward,the referee awarding a penalty despite Celtic protests and this was despatched leaving the scores level on the half hour.

This seemed to unsettle Celtic for a time but they regained the lead on 40 minutes with a great goal. C Lavery received the ball out on the left and sent a cross over for Fitzpatrick to connect with a superb header sending the Hoops 2-1 ahead at the break.

On 65 minutes Loughall lost a player for a tackle which earned him a second yellow card but despite going down to 10 men they pressed hard for an equaliser without troubling the Celtic defence with any direct shots on goal.

The Hoops looked to have total control at this stage and they extended the lead on 83 minutes after McVeigh raced in to make a timely interception and played the ball to Niall Lavery who put over a cross finding Fitzpatrick who calmly beat his marker to make it 3-1.

Loughall through caution to the wind and were awarded another disputed penalty on 87 minutes when a forward was adjudged to have been fouled in the penalty area and this was converted leaving the score 3-2

Worse was to follow for Celtic when right on the final whistle the referee awarded a third penalty to the visitors after a ball was played into the Celtic defence and it bounced before striking a defender and was adjudged a hand ball. The visitors despatched their third penalty of the afternoon sending the game into extra time. Fitzpatrick almost scored with a header in the first period but keeper Buchanan held the ball on the line to thwart the Hoops striker and in the second period Niall Lavery almost broke through but couldn’t get a telling shot and just prior to the end of play McCorry was replaced in goal by Michael Goff for the penalty shoot out.

Celtic were first to go and the first three penalties were scored by the both Laverys and Fitzpatrick with Loughall also scoring their three, but the Hoops fourth taken by Henderson was saved and Loughall moved into the driving seat by scoring. Next up was John Cochrane who levelled the score leaving the Loughgall keeper Buchanan to win the match but Goff saved his effort leaving the scores tied at 4-4. After Jonny McCarron had shot effort saved Loughall then scored to seal a win that looked unlikely earlier. This Saturday the Hoops resume league action when they travel to Limavady Utd at 3.00pm.

Last Saturday the youth team travelled to play high flying Armagh City, a team unbeaten in four years.

The Young Celts put in a tremendous performance and came away with a 4-0 win with goals from Kevin McAlinden, Jonathan Douglas and Ruiri McCann who scored two leaving their opponents shell shocked as up to now they had looked unbeatable and this win puts Celtic clear at the top of the table.