McAfee kicks off scoring in five-star National League win by Lurgan boys

Darragh Gray sliding in on duty for County Armagh in the Milk Cup. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Darragh Gray sliding in on duty for County Armagh in the Milk Cup. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Lurgan Town under 16s’ Subway National League campaign featured a 5-2 success from the road trip to face Ballymena United.

Zach Annett, John Lee McAfee and Ross Hull helped Lurgan enjoy early control.

Andy McIvor, Jamie Lamont, Ross McMorris and goalkeeper Tyler Boyce - the latter on his debut - provided a solid foundation.

Darragh Gray, Robbie McAteer, Ryan Finlay and Mark Lucas also proved impressive.

John Lee McAfee kicked off the scoring with a smart finish and Hull increased the lead with a shot from inside the danger zone - with both goals the result of strong progress along the left.

A penalty shout was waved away but Lurgan Town entered the interval with the upper hand.

Ballymena hit back after the break before Lurgan Town reclaimed control thanks to Mark Lucas.

An additional effort arrived without success from Ryan Finlay then Adam Loughran produced the finishing touch ahead of a second Ballymena goal.

Slick passing by Sam Tuxworth, Nathan Hamilton and Josh Millar kept Ballymena on the backfoot before Lucas increased the lead to 5-2.

Hull’s individual performance attracted praise during the strong team display.

Ben Davison, McMorris and Lamont each enjoyed positive returns from injury.

Lurgan Town under 16s’ Mid-Ulster League meeting with Valley Rangers finished with a setback to hopes of League Cup progress.

Lurgan Town entered the match with victory the target to march on into the semi-finals.

Aaron Winters was on hand to break the deadlock after a teasing pass by Jack Evans which Lewis McKinley collected on the run.

McKinley was pushed wide by the goalkeeper but his angled shot goalwards bounced off a post and Winters made no mistake.

A controversial equaliser arrived - despite Lurgan Town appeals that the ball had gone out of play - before Valley added a second before half-time.

Brett Smyth’s header was then forced home by Nathan Stewart to set up a final push.

Stewart came close then Evans hit the crossbar and McKinley tested the Valley backline.

However - despite strong play by Jonny Russell, John Dickson and Tim Millen - Lurgan Town failed to secure the win required to progress.