Loughgall Youth travelled to Londonderry on Saturday past to take on Oxford Utd Stars in the quarter final of the Nibfa Cup.Unfortunately the early start and the long journey took its toll,as the villagers were knocked out of the tournament by the North West outfit.The Youth started off brightly and played some nice football but failed to create any clear chances,which proved costly as Oxford then scored 2 quick goals within a 10 minute spell to rock the villagers.Oxford were now in the ascendency and put the Youth on the back foot but they couldn’t add to their tally with the crossbar and John Forde coming to Loughgall’s rescue.The only notable effort for Loughgall was a great James Black free kick which eluded the Loughgall forwards as they rushed in looking to get a final touch in what was a disappointing and disjointed first half.
The Youths start to the second half was a great improvement and played at a quicker tempo as they tried to get back into the game.The next goal was going to be crucial as Loughgall pushed forward. Alexander Black had a great chance to reduce the deficit but the striker was unlucky to see his shot go narrowly wide.When his brother James, who tormented Oxford throughout, then rattled the bar it clearly wasn’t going to be the villagers day. As Loughgall through caution to the wind they were left exposed to the counter attack from Oxford but some great last ditch tackling from Nathan Stoops kept the score at 2 -0.With 8 minutes remaining Oxford then sealed the game and booked their spot in the semi finals.Although down and out the boys kept going to the end and nearly got a late consolation when Chris diverted another James Black cross into the side netting.
John Forde in goals had another great game and made some outstanding saves throughout but was left helpless with any of the goals.The defence of Ben Gibbons, Jordan Bentley, Nathan Stoops, Ben Gillis and then Jamie Cupples who was back from injury all tried their best with Nathan and Ben Gillis been the stand out defenders.
The midfield of James Black, Marcus Stephenson, Adam Neill, Matthew Monaghan and then Chris Lindsay all worked hard on what was an awful pitch with James putting in a man of the match performance
Sam Kerr and Alexander Black played well up front and tried their best but did not get the rub of the green on the day.
The boys should be proud of their achievement in reaching the quarter finals of this elite cup competition,which dealt them all away fixtures,to all corners of the province in which they done themselves and the club proud.Well done boys.
Man of the Match: James Black.
Squad: John Forde, Ben Gibbons, Jordan Bentley, Ben Gillis, Nathan Stoops, James Black, Adam Neil, Marcus Stephenson, Matthew Monaghan, Sam Kerr, Alexander Black, Chris Lindsay and Jamie Cupples.