Loughgall u13s displayed all their battling qualities on Saturday as they beat Magherafelt in their latest encounter in the National League A Section.
The game began in blustery conditions with the wind always likely to dictate how the game was played and so it proved. Loughgall started the game playing with the wind at their backs and despite a slow start they soon began to get into their stride with Chris Whiteside the first to test Magherafelts keeper with a deflected long range effort. The first move of real quality in the game then led to the opening goal when Sam Mckew won possession in midfield before releasing Chris Whiteside who showed great composure to hold the ball before laying it off to Adam Wright to fire home a brilliant strike into the top corner. The strong wind was making it difficult for Magherafelt to get out of their own half as Sam McKew and Adam Wright dominated the midfield but Loughgall knew they needed to score again before half time and this they did when a pacey run from Sean Quigley on the wing ended with an inch perfect cross to Sam Barrett who coolly headed home with a text book header into the bottom corner. Loughgall were determined to score a third but despite excellent long range efforts from both Sam McKew and Sam Barrett the half finished with Loughgall 2-0 ahead but knowing they were going to be put under a lot of pressure in the second half.
This proved to be the case as Magherafelt immediately went on the attack and 5 minutes into the half they got a goal back when Loughgall failed to clear a corner allowing their forward to head home. Loughgall’s back four of Mark Palmer, Jason Dodds, Cameron Faulkner and Jac McElveen knew they were going to have a real battle on their hands to win the game for Loughgall and this they did with some magnificent defending. Cameron and Jason consistently dealt with any attacks down the middle while remaining composed in possession with Cameron making some wonderful interceptions to prevent Magherafelts talented winger from scoring. Magherafelt always looked particularly dangerous from corner kicks but Loughgall’s players time and again made excellent last ditch tackles summed up by one brilliant headed clearance from Mark Palmer when Magherafelt looked sure to score. On the 2 occasions that Magherafelt did get an open view of goal Sam Monaghan saved the shots with one save tipped over the bar and then with 10 minutes remaining he pulled off a stunning save low to his right as the Magherafelt players were almost celebrating a goal. The team showed great composure during the last 5 minutes to leave the final score 2-1 in Loughgalls favour.
This was a fantastic display from all players today and a result which the boys deserved from all their hard work.
Team: Sam Monaghan, Mark Palmer, Jac McElveen, Jason Dodds, Cameron Faulkner, Adam Wright, Ryan Fearon, Sam McKew, Sam Barrett, Chris Whiteside, Sean Quigley