Crusaders v Loughgall

 
 
Loughgall Youth travelled to Belfast on Saturday to take on a lively Crusaders side and the Youth had to put in a real fighting display. In a what was a scrappy first half for the villagers ,then exploded into life when James Black opened the scoring five minutes before half time with what was a stunning goal from about thirty yards.

 

The second half for the villagers was a much better display although the surface didn’t really allow for free flowing football.Crusaders came back into the game when a ball over the top was cleared,only for the Crusaders forward to thump high into the net.Loughgall knew they in a game and had to fight hard in all departments.Loughgall eventually got the break their second half performance warranted,when Sam Kerr turned and smashed home his first of the day and this was soon followed,when for a second match in a row James Black scored directly from a corner.Today the boys had to roll up their sleeves and really dig deep against a strong Crusaders side.Although not at their fluent best Loughgall never gave up and the fighting display was excellent to see.
 
John Forde played well in goals and when called upon performed very well.The defence of Jamie Cupples, Nathan Stoops, Ben Gillis, Chris Lindsay and then Jordan Bentley all had good, steady games.With the midfield of Ben Gibbons, James Black, Marcus Stevenson and Alexander Black all having good games with James in particular grabbing the lime light for what simply was a excellent strike to set Loughgall on their way. Sam Kerr, Adam Neill and then Curtis Mayes all played well up front with Sam turning and firing in a crucial goal as well.
 
Man of the Match: James Black
 
Squad: John Forde, Jamie Cupples, Ben Gillis, Nathan Stoops, Chris Lindsay, Ben Gibbons, James Black, Marcus Stevenson, Alexander Black, Adam Neill, Sam Kerr, Curtis Mayes and Jordan Bentley.
James Black
 

Ballymena v Loughgall

 
 
Loughgall Youth travelled to Ballymena on Saturday past with confidence low after a hard few weeks.With not having had a game for two weeks due to the Easter holidays Loughgall bounced straight back with a resounding and excellent performance against the Braidmen.Goals from Alexander Black, Marcus Stevenson, Sam Kerr, Adam Neill and 2 from James Black ensured the Villagers returned home happy boys.

 

As like the villagers previous fixture their was a strong,swirling wind blowing making the conditions very difficult for goal keepers and defenders.Loughgall started the brighter side and within minutes had opened the scoring when Alexander Black scored with his first touch of the game. The second soon followed after sheer persistence from Marcus Stevenson who duly dispatched his shot into the far corner.Although Loughgall were dominate they handed Ballymena away back into the match when John Forde was adjudged to have impeded the opposition striker but John made amends by saving the resulting spot kick.Surviving that scare Loughgall regained control of the half and added to their tally with a Sam Kerr header and then Adam Neill scored the pick of the bunch when he killed the ball with his first touch and turned and smashed the ball into the net with his second. Loughgall continued to push forward as they were in the mood for more goals only for the woodwork and some excellent saves denying them.

 

The second half was going to be a harder affair for the youth with Ballymena now having the strong wind behind them and this was to nearly catch Loughgall out on a few occasions with the long ball. The strong wind was making it almost virtually impossible to judge the ball at times either on the ground or in the air.Loughgall continued to play the attractive football that they played in the first half and they were rewarded for their efforts with James Black scored a late brace, The first came through James’ determination not to give up and the second was scored direct from a corner.

 

 
John Forde again had a great game in goals and managed to save a penalty with the defence of Jamie Cupples, Nathan Stoops, Ben Gillis, Chris Lindsay and then Ben Gibbons all having steady games with Ben Gillis in particular been outstanding.
 
The midfield of James Black, Marcus Stevenson, Matthew Monaghan and Alexander Black all had great games with three of the four getting on the score sheet with Matthew also coming close only to see his late effort hitting the bar. Special mention goes to Marcus Stevenson who put in a man of the match performance. His energy levels were exceptional and his work rate is also second to none. Well played Marcus!!
 
Sam Kerr, Adam Neill and then Curtis Mayes all played well up front with Sam and Adam getting on the score sheet with Sam also been back to his best today.
 
Man of the Match: Marcus Stevenson
 
Squad: John Forde, Jamie Cupples, Ben Gillis, Nathan Stoops, Chris Lindsay, James Black, Adam Neil, Marcus Stevenson, Alexander Black, Sam Kerr, Ben Gibbons and Jamie Cupples.
Marcus Stephenson
 

Loughgall v Portadown

 

 
Loughgall Youth entertained Portadown on Saturday past at Loughgall Country Park in what was a better day for flying a kite rather than playing football. The game was played in difficult conditions with the boys finding it hard trying to come to terms with the strong wind.Portadown started the brighter side and used the wind,to their advantage in what was a lacklustre performance from the villagers. On the day Portadown adapted to the conditions better than the Youth with Loughgall’s only notable efforts not even troubling the Portadown keeper.After a poor first half things didn’t get much better in the second with too many players on the day not wanting to know! the only time Loughgall resembled them old-selves was the last 5 minutes when Alexander Black headed in at the back post from James’ teasing cross, but very few of the Loughgall team came out of this with any credit.  They created very few chances and when chances were created they either delayed or could not hit the target. All in all a day to forget for the Youth.
 
John Forde in goals had another great game and made some outstanding saves throughout,as he continues to improve week by week.The defence of Jordan Bentley, Nathan Stoops, Ben Gillis, Chris Lindsay and then Ben Gibbons and Jamie Cupples all found the going tough against a strong Portadown midfield and forward line. Nathan again was the stand out defender and if the rest of the team had his fighting spirit then performances and results would then start to improve.The midfield of James Black, Marcus Stevenson, Adam Neill and Alexander Black all tried their best with Marcus been the pick of the midfielders and like Nathan,Marcus’ desire and commitment can’t be questioned.Sam Kerr and Curtis Mayes tried hard up front but to no prevail as to many times they didn’t get the service or quality ball their accustom to getting.

 

Overall a poor team display with the exception of a few.
 
Man of the Match: Nathan Stoops
 
Squad: John Forde, Jordan Bentley, Ben Gillis, Nathan Stoops, Chris Lindsay, James Black, Adam Neil, Marcus Stevenson, Alexander Black, Sam Kerr, Ben Gibbons and Jamie Cupples.
 Nathan Stoops