On Friday evening Sky Blues U15 travelled to Cookstown Sports Arena for their League cup encounter semi-final match with Dungannon Youth.
It was great to see all spectators on both sides attending on the evening to cheer on and give support to their team.
Dungannon youth won the toss and kicked off the first half. From the whistle the blues showed their intension by pressing them for control of the ball.
The Blues showed no nerves at all and just a couple of minutes into the match young Ciaran McKeever got on the end of an excellent through ball on the left side of the Dungannon box, with great ball control and skill cut passed two of the Dungannon youth defenders and placed the ball low and hard into the keepers far post to go 1-0 up.
This really got the game going and both teams got stuck in and all the players on both teams held their respective positions well with fantastic control, passing and moving.
Several minutes later the Dungannon lads pressed the blues defence in force and their striker for the evening had a bit of space in our goal area got a shot off low and hard under Michael McLaughlin’s body into the net to bring the score line 1-1.
The supporters on both side certainly were entertained with end to end football, although the Dungannon team were getting the upper hand with pace and skill keeping our defence (Aaron Darragh, Liam og McElhone Paul Pijl and Simon McErlain left back, very busy. Our defence coped very well taking us up to half time which ended 1-1.
After a team discussion, the blues chance their team formation to counter act the Dungannon attack. This was the right decision as the blues got back into the game by starting to control the mid field area again and with great desire, control, passing and moving for each other, they created several chances on the Dungannon goal keeping their keeper very busy.
Anton Tohill found himself free in the box, struck a shoot at goal only to be saved by their keeper. As the blues continued to press the Dungannon defence, Martin McLaughlin (left wing) was waiting outside the ball to the left side of the box received the ball and struck the ball with a powerful shot, but unfortunately the ball went past the post.
At this stage the Blues began to run out of steam with it being quiet an intense game, and the Dungannon side put with skill and pace put the young blue on the back foot, the blues dug in and stormed the attacks.
On one occasion when Dungannon were pressing, Stephen Greer (right wing) had to keep very close to the wee left winger on the Dungannon side by closing him down and checking his runs. On one occasion the wee winger had a clear shoot on goal, Greer had to sprint out and through his body at the ball blocking their opportunity to score a goal.
With several minutes to go, with continued pressure from the Dungannon team, they broke the blues heart when their left winger move inside and struck a high shot on the blues goal which dipped under the bar into the young blues net at the far side of Michaels goal, Michael had no chance.
The blues didn`t drop their heads and kept pushing on and it was end to end play on both goals with great passages of play from both teams. The blues had their chances to score but it wasn`t meant to be.
Lads this was an excellent performance by you all today well done. It could have gone either way, but unfortunately it didn`t.
Men of the match go`s to Liam og McElhone (captain) sweeper, Paul Pijl who worked tirelessly in defence this evening. Well done lads