At East Belfast FC on Wednesday evening, Lurgan Town Ladies overcame a 3-0 deficit at half-time to win 4-3, with a hat-trick from Kerry Taggart, and a winning goal on her debut from Megan Cinnamond.
Despite getting off to a bright start against East Belfast Ladies, Lurgan Town found themselves a goal down witihn 5 minutes when a free kick was headed down, and looked like it was going wide, but instead went in off the post to give the home side an early lead. Lurgan were getting forward and forcing corners, but were unable to convert their chances. And then on 11 minutes, East Belfast got their first corner, and headed home a second goal to make it 2-0. Lurgan had further chances, with a Caroline O’Hare free kick going narrowly over the bar, and a dangerous cross by Kerry Taggart almost forcing an own goal. But it was the home side who scored next, when a shot came off the post, hit keeper Rachel Davis’ body, and left East Belfast with a tap-in for a 3-0 lead. Despite further shots on target by Lurgan, they reached half-time at 3-0 down.
In the second half, young Jess Whelan and Lauren Thomspon made way for Tina Brush and new signing Megan Cinnamond. Within minutes, Kerry Taggart drove the ball forward and scored to make it 3-1. A minute later, Kerry was riding tackles and attacking the goal again, but the referee blew for a Lurgan free kick just before Kerry put the ball in the back of the net. Lurgan had to settle for a free kick, which Tracy floated over the bar, but the Lurgan tails were up, and soon Kerry had another shot on goal saved. A pivotal moment came when an East Belfast player broke through to give her a one-on-one chance with our keeper, but Rachel came out and blocked the shot, enabling Lurgan to go back on the attack. At the other end Dani Creaney then had a one-on-one with their keeper saved, but Kerry picked up the rebound, and with composure scored again to make it 3-2.
Five minutes later, a long corner from Elisha Donnelly was put back into the box by Dani – the keeper fumbled and Kerry pounced on the loose ball to make it 3-3. Midway through the second half, an East Belfast player received a straight red after a poor tackle on Megan. And the momentum was definitely with Lurgan Town. A free kick by Caroline O’Hare hit the crossbar, and then a minute later, East Belfast didn’t clear a corner and Megan knocked it in to make it 4-3 to Lurgan Town. Unfortunately, Megan had to be taken off immediately, as she sustained an injury to her ankle, so Toni Smith was called into action. There were a few more chances for Lurgan, and a free kick for East Belfast that went just over the bar, which made for a nervous ending to the game. But the Lurgan Town Ladies held on, to record their first Championship League victory.
Assistant Manager Gary Donaldson was delighted with the result. “A fantastic save from Rachel changed the game. And once the first goal went in, the players got their confidence back. What a match!”
Team: R Davis, L Thompson, D Brady, T Orr, L O’Neill, C O’Hare, Z Davison, E Donnelly, J Whelan, K Taggart, D Creaney
Subs: T Brush, M Cinnamond, T Smith (all used)