Lurgan Town U13’s met Loughgall Youth on Saturday in their third league match of the new season, sharing the honours in the end at 1-1.
Loughgall enjoyed the better of the early exchanges particularly when it came to winning second balls. With plenty of encouragement from the sidelines, the Lurgan lads shook off their early lethargy, settled down and began to work hard to win possession.
Town had an effort from a corner cleared off the line and there was some good work down the right from Adam Leathem, Alex Woods and Declan Lavery but too often the final pass to release forward Nicholas Brownlee was lacking.
Nicholas had a chance to put Town in front after he beat his opponent only to scuff his shot into the keeper’s arms.
Town started the second half in more solid fashion but there were still too few challenges being won and Lurgan were too slow to close the player in possession when Loughgall had the ball.
This was their undoing on the edge of their own box when a cross wasn’t stopped, keeper Jack Greenlee was left exposed and the ball broke to the Loughgall player whose looped shot hit the base of the post and went in despite a valiant effort from Jordan Dawson to clear it.
Town immediately changed their shape with Odhran McMullan and Declan Lavery withdrawn, new recruits Aaron McGibbon and Nathan Cowan coming on and Alex Woods pushed up. This galvanised the team and Lurgan enjoyed better possession with a series of corners and throw-ins forcing Loughgall to defend for longer periods.
Town were again thankful for Jack Greenlee who had to make a couple of smart saves from Loughgall counter-attacks.
Thomas Tallon was replaced by Ross Ewing and ultimately it was his corner that led to a deserved equaliser when Nathan was first to react in the box to poke the ball home for his first goal in a Town shirt.
Cameron Graham came on for Ruairi Conlan with 10 minutes to go and did well to offer energy and disciplined protection in front of his back four as Lurgan closed the game out for a deserved draw.