The Sky Blues U12s were narrowly defeated by Glenavon today in the National League Plate semi-final. The ‘Wee’ Blues should be proud of their performance today and but for some marginal decisions could have easily won this game.
The match was a great spectacle of end-to-end football and both teams deserve real credit for continually trying to get the ball down and play attacking football. The game exploded right from the first whistle and it was the Sky Blues who pushed Glenavon back in the opening exchanges. The Blues thought they had taken an early lead when Pearse McLarnon
ghosted past the last defender with his deceptive pace and slipped the ball past a flailing Glenavon keeper only the ball was cleared away in a last ditch effort. The Sky Blues players all felt that the ball had crossed the line but the referee did not hesitate to wave play on, setting the tone for the rest of the game. The Sky Blues continued to have the better of the early part of the game but against the run of play the home team took the lead. Again the Sky Blues felt aggrieved as the Glenavon player who scored was clearly in an offside position but play was waved on once more. The ‘Wee’ Blues, as they have shown all season, are nothing if not determined, and a minute later they drew level. Ciaran Shields who was exceptional in the first half, scored a goal that must be a contender for goal of the season. He lashed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box with his left foot, to deservedly cancel out the Glenavon lead. This crazy spell of the game was not over yet and Glenavon took the lead again when their striker was put through one-on-one with Jack Bresland, Jack pulled off a great save but the ball fell kindly to the Glenavon striker who made no mistake at the second time of asking.
Half-time: Glenavon 2 v 1 Magherafelt Sky Blues
The Sky Blues started the second half in nervy fashion and fell two goals behind from yet another through ball. It was a good finish from the striker which gave Jack Bresland no chance. The Blues struggled to produce the slick football of the first half and the shrill sound of the whistle stopped the ‘Wee’ Blues in their tracks whenever they got a bit of momentum going. However, the Blues never gave up and when it looked as if Glenavon would see the game out, Pearse McLarnon
stole in and forced the ball past the Glenavon keeper to give the Blues a glimmer of hope. Hopes were dashed again when Glenavon cruelly scored once more, but with time running out Cormac Murphy
showed his talent and bravery when he won a fifty-fifty challenge with the keeper to steer the ball in, getting a clatter on the shoulder for his efforts. Despite an unfailing never-say-die attitude there just wasn’t enough time to get the equalising goal that was most definitely deserved.
Full-time: Glenavon 4 v 3 Magherafelt Sky Blues
It must be said that both teams today contributed to what must have been an exciting game for everyone else bar the coaches, and every one of the 14 Sky Blues players deserve real praise for the effort they put in today. We are a lucky club to have this group of players whose commitment and level of performance made Colm and I very proud.