Lisburn claim cup double with narrow win over Lurgan Town
An 81st minute penalty from Lisburn Ladies forward Sara Stevenson against Championship winners Lurgan Town Ladies was enough to separate the two sides and see Lisburn claim the Chmpionship League Cup in a tight match at Seaview.
The game started brightly, with Lurgan nearly grabbing an early lead when captain Tracy Orr’s header was cleared off the line by Lisburn defence following a corner in the 4th minute.
Lurgan came forward again in the 10thminute, with a surging run from full back Danielle Brady who fired in a low driven shot towards the near post that was held well by goalkeeper Jessica Poots.
The Championship winners were starting to dominate in terms of chances created and carved out another good opportunity in the 15th minute, when Kerry Taggart headed a dangerous free kick just wide at the back post.
Lisburn, who were playing well, but just not able to find that final pass in the opening period went ahead with their first real attack of the evening, when winger Abbie Burnett drove down the left, beat her marker, got the the byline and rifled a low cross that keeper Lauren Currie couldn’t stop, it fell to Stevenson, whose first time effort was blocked with by an outstanding challenge from Orr, but Leah Montgomery was there to follow up and bundle over the line under pressure to make it 1-0 after 16 minutes.
They had half a sigt of goal a few minutes later when right winger Alexandra Speers ran down the right and fired into Stevenson who turned and fired a snapshot towards goal, but it was again blocked by some good Lurgan defending.
Lurgan might have had their equalizer on 27 minutes if it wasn’t for good defending from Hayley Anderson, who managed to recover and win the ball off Taggart when she tried to break through the defensive line.
A scramble down the other end on the half hour mark coulld easily have resulted in Lisburn doubling their advantage, when Stevenson had a shot blocked that fell to Burnett, whose effort was also blocked but fell to Montgomery. Her effort was headed away before captain Christine Clews hit a half volley into Currie’s arms.
Taggart did manage to breach the Lisburn line on 34 minutes, but her effort from a tight angle hit the side netting, before Poots beat her to the ball a few minutes later when she broke through again.
Lisburn had a penalty appeal turned down in the 45thminute when Stevenson went down under pressure in the box, but referee Rachel Greer rightly waved play on, before a robust, but fair challenge from Lurgan’s Claire Rooney prevented Mongomery having a clear shot on goal on the stroke of halftime, meaning Lisburn went in at the break with a one goal advantage.
Lurgan began the second half showing the determination that saw them win the league, and they got level within one minute of the restart, when Taggart got past the defence on the right and finished well at the near post past Poots to make it 1-1.
Lurgans No 10 seemed to be the threat to Lisburn, and she almost got another on 51 minutes as she hit a dipping volley just wide with Poots well beaten, before Stevenson had sight of goal, but hit a weak shot into Currie’s arms.
Stevenson had another opportunity when she was played in by midfielder Kerry McCann, but her effort was deflected into Currie’s arms from a tight angle, before she was denied again by another brilliant tackle from Orr shortly after.
Lisburn had another penalty appeal turned down for handball on the line, before Orr yet again slid in well, this time to deny Montgomery.
The game was decided in the 81st minute, when there was another penalty appeal for handball, and this time Greer pointed to the spot, with Stevenson making no mistake in firing the ball past Currie to make it 2-1 with 9 minutes to go.
There was one further effort for each side, with Lurgans Leanne Domican hooking a good effort just wide of the far post before Lisburn substitute Jennifer Hinds forced a brilliant save from Currie right at the death, before the referee blew the final whistle.