After a number of miserable Saturday afternoons, it was a bright, mild day on a decent surface for our visit to table topping Lurgan Celtic.
Daniel Hanna and Thomas Plant were injured, Mark Prenter suspended, Sean Walsh and Michael Allison were unavailable.
There was no score at the end of an eminently forgettable, first half which saw neither goalkeeper tested.
Thankfully a lot more happened in the second period. Two minutes after the break James Ferrin had a good chance to give Queen’s the lead when he ran on to a free kick at the far post but headed wide from a couple of yards. Lurgan had a spell of dominance and on the hour they were ahead. Niall Lavery played a perfectly timed through ball to overlapping left back, Adam Rodgers, whose low cross from the goal line found Raymond Fitzpatrick who controlled the ball before placing a low shot past Declan Brown from 10 yards. Things got worse soon after when Stephen McDowell picked up two yellow cards in two minutes and was sent off.
Despite this Queen’s then had their best spell of the game and James Ferrin twice went close with excellent free kicks expertly saved by Lurgan keeper Conor McCorry. From Ryan Murphy’s corner, Fitzpatrick, under pressure from Queen’s attackers, had the misfortune to head the ball into his own net to give Queen’s a well deserved equaliser. With the game deep into injury time Lurgan’s Declan McVeigh pumped a high, hopeful, ball into the Queen’s box. Brown came for it in a crowded goalmouth but couldn’t hold on. In the ensuing melee Stephen Hutchinson scrambled the ball into the goal for a last second victory which keeps his side on course to win the title and promotion.
Much credit to Queen’s for pushing Lurgan Celtic so close especially after going down to ten men.
Next up is a league game home to Coagh Utd on Sat 14th February. Ko 3pm.
Queen’s University: Declan Brown, Zac Fletcher, James Ferrin, Adam Robinson, Daniel Culbert, Matt McManus, Kevin Hagan, James Lavery, Owain Beggs, Ryan Murphy, Stephen McDowell.
Substitutes: D. McMahon, Eoghan Byrne, Ciaran O’Hare.