Loughgall Youth u13s made an impressive winning start to their National League season when they defeated Oxford United Stars 3-1 on Friday night.
The game began in perfect footballing conditions and Loughgall made the perfect start as they raced into an early two goal lead with Sam Barrett scoring both. The first came from a goalmouth scramble and the second as a result of an opening being created by Adam Wright followed by some quick thinking by Sam Barrett as he fired home from a tight angle.
At this stage Loughgall were playing with great confidence and were passing the ball well even though the team had a number of new faces from last season. Harry Adair and Sam Barrett up front carried their excellent pre season form into the game and during the opening 20 minutes their partnership threatened a goal on a number of occasions and only an excellent save from the Oxford keeper denied Barrett a first half hat trick. However Oxford slowly started to get back into the game and on the stroke of half time a tame shot took a wicked deflection leaving keeper Sam Monaghan stranded as the ball trickled into the net leaving the half time score 2-1.
To their credit Loughgall did not allow this goal to affect them and they came out strongly in the second half and soon restored their two goal lead when a defence splitting pass from Jac McElveen released Harry Adair to confidently fire home. At this stage Loughgall were controlling the game with their defence of Mark Palmer, Cameron Faulkner, Jason Dodds and Sean Quigley both winning their tackles and playing the ball out from the back.
Indeed Loughgall were unfortunate not to add a fourth on a number of occasions especially through debutant Chris Whiteside whose pace caused Oxford problems in the second half. Loughgalls midfielders Sam McKew, Kris Cowan and Ryan Fearon worked tirelessly to ensure Loughgall remained ahead and although Oxford struck the post with a late effort Loughgall held on for a comfortable victory.
This was a good opening performance from the team with the several new players gelling well into the team.
Loughgall squad: Sam Monaghan, Mark Palmer, Cameron Faulkner, Jason Dodds, Sean Quigley, Adam Wright, Sam McKew, Kris Cowan, Ryan Fearon, Sam Barrett, Harry Adair, Chris Whiteside, Jac McElveen