Lurgan Town Ladies met their toughest opposition yet on Wednesday evening, when the experienced long-term Championship team Lisburn Ladies visited the Arena for an Electric Ireland NIWFA league match, which saw gutsy debuts for Sarah Shaw, Chloe Stewart and Megan Jones. The home side fought bravely, but conceded a first goal just before half-time, and another two late in the second half to lose 0-3.
As usual, Lurgan started brightly, with debutante Sarah Shaw having an early cheeky shot on goal with an overhead kick. But the home defence was soon kept busy, with Roisin Bolger moving back to help Tracy Orr, Jessica Pugh and Teah Maguire in the back four. Ten minutes in, Lisburn showed how dangerous they could be with a high floating ball that went just wide. Elisha Donnelly had a chance for Lurgan at the other end, but her shot across goal was just wide. Shortly after, Lauren Currie in the Lurgan goal had to rush out and bravely gather the ball after Lisburn broke through the Lurgan defence, and then she made another great save form close range. On the half hour, Ellie McBride fed a ball back to Elisha, but unfortunately, the shot was over the bar. Lurgan then had a good spell of pressure in the Lisburn box, but just couldn’t break through. Sarah and Elisha set up Wendy Bailie, but her shot was just over. Lurgan were battling hard, but were dealt a cruel blow 2 minutes before half-time, when Lisburn scored to break the deadlock.
Early in the second half, Nadine Murphy had a free-kick saved, and Elisha’s cross into the box was intercepted by the keeper, as Lurgan tried for an equaliser. But Lisburn’s quick passing game meant that Lurgan struggled to get into the attacking half for long periods. Young Chloe Stewart moved back into defence, and was never idle, while captain Tracy was back to full strength after Sunday’s match, and Lauren pulled off some fine saves. But after 80 minutes, Lisburn scored again, and a few minutes later they struck a third, to give a scoreline which didn’t do credit to Lurgan’s defence.
Afterwards, manager Colm Nash said “I can’t fault the work rate and effort tonight. But we will knuckle down in training on Sunday and look for some revenge next week.”
Next match on Wednesday 16 June – same teams again, as Lurgan host Lisburn Ladies in Round 1 of the NIWFA 2020 Cup.