On a blustery night at the Arena, Lurgan Town Ladies hosted league leaders Comber Rec Ladies, and lost out on points to a blistering strike 5 minutes from time.
Lurgan Town got off to a bright start, as Debbie Douglas won the first corner of the match after good work by Ciara Lynn in midfield. It was end-to-enmd action, as Lurgan then had to defend a corner, from which Caroline O’Hare and Debbie broke down the field but were unable to get a shot away. Fifteen minutes into the match, and new keeper Anna Carr (standing in for Rachel Davis who is out of the country) made a great save from close range, after Comber were allowed to cross into the box. Juast a minute later, at the other end, it was Dede Brady who put a super cross into the box, but it was just out of reach for Kerry Taggart. The Lurgan players made some great passing moves, with Caroline, Kerry, Debbie and Jess Whelan combining to work the ball up the pitch, but they were closed down before getting a shot. After 40 minutes, Debbie raced through for a one-on-one with the keeper, who she took it round, but her shot was stopped on the line by a Comber defender. Shortly after, a ball from Comber crossed right in front of goal, and Anna almost got a foot to it, but a sliding Comber attacker pushed it in for a 1-0 lead to the visitors. Just before half time, Lurgan almost struck back, when Elisha Donnelly’s corner was headed narrowly over the bar by Kerry.
In the second half, Lurgan increased their work rate further, winning more 50-50 balls and increasing the pressure. POTM Elisha struck a powerful shot from 25 yards, forcing a save from the keeper, and Caroline had a shot soon after. Then Dede got the ball up to Kerry, whose shot came off the keeper, but Debbie was there to follow up and score the equaliser. Lurgan continued to press, with a dangerous corner from Elisha, but no Lurgan head was able to finish it off. A free kick from Caroline put Kerry through, but her shot was over the bar. Jess won a corner, but Debbie’s shot was wide. On a further corner, Toni Smith came up from defence and had a dig at goal, but it was stopped on the line. With just 5 minutes to go, a Comber free kick was played to their sub, who blasted it from 15 yards out into the corner of the net for 1-2. As Lurgan pressed for another equaliser, Anna made some great saves, defending a one-on-one as Comber counter-attacked, and making a diving save when a low ball was bound for the bottom corner. But the home side were unable to score again in the final minutes.
Manager Johnny Lewis was proud of the team performance. “I believe that’s the best performance of the season so far. Every player really put the effort in, and it was heart-breaking not to get any points from the game. But we will take out learning for our next match, and move forward.”
Lurgan have a free week next week, but will be back in action on Monday 2 July, away to Comber Rec in a cup fixture at Billy Neill Playing Fields. 7:30pm KO
Team: A. Carr, T Smith, L O’Neill, Z Davison, E Donnelly, C O’Hare, C Lynn, D Brady, J Whelan, D Douglas, K Taggart
Sub : C Young (not used)