Title chasing Lisnagarvey came back from two goals down at half-time, to win 3-2 in a fiercely contested game against Cookstown at Steelweld Park.
As the saying goes, “it is a game of two halves”. As soon as the whistle blew Cookstown were pedal to the metal, pressurising every second Garvey had the ball.
Cookstown’s speed of play in the first half was incredible and Lisnagarvey, who had won their last five games were chasing shadows.
It was the home side that had the first real opening, a pass threaded through to Stuart Smyth, who saw his low reverse shot hit the post.
Although Cookstown were impressing, the visitors were still causing problems through the attack-minded Jonny Quigley at right-back.
Cookstown took the lead through Gareth Cuddy. A crash ball into the circle, was not cleared, came off the keeper’s pads and was finished by Cuddy.
In the first half alone, to sustain their speed of play the home side made nearly twenty substitutions whereas, Lisnagarvey made none.
The constant rotation meant fresh legs and that paid off.
A lightning fast counter attack led by Mark Crooks produced a cross which was smashed home by Greg Allen.
It was 2-0 at the break and the machine-like efficiency that Lisnagarvey usually produce was struggling to match Cookstown’s speed.
However, it was Garvey who started the second half brighter with another driving run and cross from Quigley leading to Gregg Thompson’s deflection hitting the bar.
Irish international Timmy Cockram really should have scored but saw his scooped effort over Ian Hughes in the Cookstown goal sail just over the bar.
The visitors enjoyed more possession and the majority of the chances in the second half as Cookstown found it difficult to maintain their high intensity play.
Finally midway through the half Lisnagarvey were on the scoreboard, Ulster under 18 star Murray fed Cockram who ran the baseline, drew the keeper and fired it past.
The Hillsborough side made it two in quick succession.
Good build play as captain Jonny Bell found Richard Arneill at the top of the circle, he turned and fired past Hughes.
In the space of five minutes the momentum had completely shifted and despite all their rotation, Cookstown were running out of legs whereas Garvey had three unused subs.
With ten minutes remaining Cookstown dropped deeper and deeper giving Lisnagarvey a lot more room to find the gap and exploit it.
The comeback was complete five minutes from time. Ulster under 18 star Daniel Nelson played in Cockram who took one touch around the keeper and dived to reverse it in.
Cookstown to their credit searched for an equaliser and almost had it with twenty seconds remaining but Greg Allen was unable to find the target.
A hammer blow for the home side Cookstown who had played so well in the first half but their gameplan was very difficult to maintain for the full seventy minutes.
Lisnagarvey coach Errol Lutton said: “Certainly they played very well, there’s no doubt they came out and pressured us quite well in the first half.
“We changed our set-up to get a goal back and once we got one we stuck at it and got the second and then at that stage we would have been happy to come off.”
Lisnagarvey face a difficult Christmas schedule, fellow Kirk Cup finalists Annadale next week and then league leaders Banbridge.
Lutton also said: “It is good to remain intact in the league but there’s a long way to go.
“We are delighted to come here against a really good team and get three points.”