On a blustery Monday night at the Arena, Lurgan Town Ladies met Ballymena United Allstars, in a re-scheduled league fixture. Manager Johnny Lewis had support on the sideline from experienced coach Stephen Hatfield, who had managed a number of the players before. So it was a slightly different formation for the home side.
Both sides had half-chances early on, with Kerry Taggart almost beating the offside trap, and Ballymena hitting a free kick narrowly over the bar. Lurgan keeper Rachel Davis made an important save, diving to keep out a low ball. But after a few attacking moves by Lurgan, Ballymena got a free kick, and moved the ball up the pitch to score in off the post, for 0-1. Shortly afterwards, captain Tracy Orr took a free kick, but the keeper was well-positioned to catch it. Then a free kick against Lurgan was fumbled, but hit out to safety for a corner. With just over half an hour gone, Tracy was not feeling well enough to continue play, and had to be replaced by new signing Elise Bulow. In Lurgan’s last attack of the half, Elisha Donnelly played a great ball down the line to Kerry who crossed to Jessie Whelan, but Jessie was closed down before getting a shot away.
Early in the second half, Ballymena got a corner and hit the crossbar. The ball was not immediately cleared but was eventually safely gathered up by Rachel, who also had to catch a long range shot 7 minutes later. Midway through the second half, a Ballymena corner hit the top of the crossbar, and a few minutes later a ball was not cleared and Ballymena knocked it back in the net for 0-2. Lurgan had a chance soon after, when Kerry got a head to Elisha’s corner but it went wide. Towards the end, Ciara Lynn and Kerry won balls in midfield, and Lurgan pushed forward more, but the score remained 0-2 at full time.
Afterwards, Stephen said “The girls were being asked to try something different tonight, which they did, and I can’t fault their effort. There’s plenty of potential there, and I know we can work together in training and drive the team forward.”
Next up is a home match against Comber Rec Ladies on Wed 20 June 7:30pm KO.
Team: R Davis, T Smith, T Orr, L O’Neill, Z Davison, E Donnelly, C Lynn, D Brady, J Whelan, T Brush, K Taggart
Subs: C Laird, E Bulow (used), C Young