Slick Celtic cut Annagh down to size in key game

Lurgan Celtic hold off a challenge by Annagh United.
Lurgan Celtic hold off a challenge by Annagh United.

Lurgan Celtic hold off a challenge by Annagh United.

In the end it was the Hoops who came out on top with an emphatic victory.

Annagh showed their intent when Shea Campbell hit a low shot narrowly wide and in the first 10 minutes as the large crowd witnessed both sides playing a cagey game, but the Hoops back four of Declan McVeigh, Jonny McCarron,Stephen Hutchinson and Adam Rodgers were alert to any signs of danger .

The Hoops began to probe down the flanks with Chris Lavery and Daniel Ryan showing plenty of pace stretching the Annagh full backs in several attacks. On 15 minutes Raymond Fitzpatrick beat his marker and shot wide but the stalemate was broken in the 19th minute after Ryan broke down the right,cut in towards the box and passed to Chris Lavery who rifled the ball past a despairing Ciaran Fox.

Several minutes later Annagh were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the penalty area and Campbell hit a low drive which Conor McCorry parried but as an Annagh attacker went for the loose ball the linesman already had his flag up for offside.

Celtic had a free kick in a similar position but Niall Lavery was well off target. By this stage the midfield of Dale Malone, Niall Lavery and Josh Barton were taking a firm grip of the game playing at a tremendous pace.

The score was doubled in the 35th minute after Barton received the ball in midfield and swept a great pass to Ryan who tore down the right wing and put in a superb cross for Raymond Fitzpatrick to head past an isolated Fox to the joy the large home support. Annagh then broke upfield and had a good effort well saved by McCorry to keep the score intact while just before half time Barton made a strong run and shot narrowly wide as the Hoops turned the screw making light of the strong wind blowing in their faces.

Five minutes after the restart Chris Lavery weaved past three defenders but Fox saved well to keep his side in touching distance but a minute later Lavery was fouled in the penalty box and Fitzpatrick slotted the spot kick home opening up a three goal gap effectively finishing the game as a contest.

On the hour mark Campbell had a gilt edged chance to reduce the arrears but he scuffed his shot and knocked the ball into the arms of a grateful McCorry while Chris Lavery shot just wide as the onslaught continued.

Aaron Haire came on to replace the impressive Barton and five minutes later the Hoops further extended the lead when Chris Lavery went on a run and slipped the ball to Fitzpatrick who returned the pass and Lavery calmly netted to make the score 4-0.

Celtic fully deserved this momentous victory with a magnificent team performance with every player contributing to the victory giving quality performances and the McLeans Man of the Match was awarded to Stephen Hutchinson. The match ball was sponsored by Stephen Magee Contractors.

The club also thank those who contributed to the collection held at half time for Downs and Proud

On Tuesday night Lurgan Celtic were back in action but suffered a shock home 1-0 defeat by Newington.

They played most of the second half with nine men after Raymond Fitzpatrick and Adam Rodgers were dismissed in a two minute period and despite their numerical disadvantage had the better chances but lost to a scrappy goal scored in the final minute of time added.

Celtic travel to play Moyola Park on Saturday and the following Tues 21st April have a derby at Dollingstown.