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.