Pulsating game at Loughmoss for U11s

Banbridge U11 coach Neville Johnston presents the man of the match award to Michael McGrath after Saturdays win over League leaders Glendowan.
Banbridge U11 coach Neville Johnston presents the man of the match award to Michael McGrath after Saturdays win over League leaders Glendowan.

TOWN Juniors U11s produced their best display of the season so far when they beat the league leaders in a pulsating game at Loughmoss on Saturday morning.

With the sun shining and a strong wind on their backs Town dominated the early exchanges, creating chances and giving the Glendowan defence and keeper plenty to think about.

This pressure paid off on seven minutes when a Max Wilson throw-in fell to the feet of Shea Winters, the midfielder carried the ball into the box and fired in a shot from the left only for the keeper to parry into the path of striker Jamie Feeney who wrong footed the goalie and slot confidently home to make it 1-0.

Glendowan were in shock and couldn’t find any rythm to their game as Town battered them in every area of the pitch. Jamie Fenney had another great effort to double the lead but was unfortunate not to score again.  

The last ten minutes of the half was nerve racking for Town as Glendowan began to find their form and prove why they sit at the top of the table, but the Juniors’ rearguard and in particular keeper Michael McGrath delt with everything that came their way. Banbridge were relieved to go in at the break with a slender lead.

Now playing against the strong wind Town still dominated and looked like the team that would score next. This chance came after eight minutes when Dozie Ajeh beat the offside trap after a great ball in from Max Wilson, he looked up placed his shot but the ball drifted just wide of the post.  

As the Juniors midfield pushed up searching for that second goal, Glendowan caught them on the break after intercepting in the middle of the park and raced towards Town’s goal. The Glendowan striker hit a speculative shot from outside the area and to everyone’s suprise, the ball aided by the strong wind, floated high and dipped just under the bar giving the keeper no chance.

With the sides now level and Town expecting an onslaught from the league leaders, parents and coaches could hardly bare to watch. 

However the Juniors stuck to their task, defending in numbers, controlling midfield and creating chances up front, Glendowan didn’t produce the expected pressure and the local lads began to taste victory and were reluctant to give it up easy.  

As the Juniors bombarded the Glendowan defence it was only a matter of time before they would score and ten minutes into the half the Glendowan keeper came out and collided with a purposeful Jamie Fenney, the ball fell kindly for Ben Johnston who calmy slotted home for Town to go 2-1 up.

Jack Arlow was causing havoc with his blistering pace, beating midfielders and linking up well with Lewis McBurney and getting the ball into threatening positions, again only a matter of time before Town would increase their lead.

Jack was twice denied but he got his goal he thoroughly deserved on the third attempt after a magical run from midfield with defenders chasing him, the keeper came out and with an option to square to David Falkner he decided to go it alone and let fly into the top corner of the net for a brilliant individual goal to make it 3-0.  

This was super squad performance from the U11s with special mention for the hard grafting defence of James Orr, Cameron Sands, Jack Arlow, Ross Shields and David Magill and of course the man of the match went deservedly to goalkeeper Michael McGrath who frustrated the league leaders with fine handling and decision making.      

Team – M. McGrath, J. Orr, C. Sands, D. McGill, R. Shields, J. Woods, M. Wilson, S. Winters, J. Arlow, D. Faulkner, J. Corbett, J. Feeney, D. Ajeh, L. McBurney, B. Johnston.