Lurgan Town Ladies made the short journey to local rivals Portadown in the second round of the Irish Cup tonight. The draw couldn’t have been harder for the ladies as Portadown currently top the Championship and are unbeaten at home this season.
From the first whistle Town went on the offensive defying the gap in leagues between the two sides and attacking the home side forcing half chances. Debbie Douglas was attacking at pace down the right flank and only some good defending and top goal keeping from Portadown No.1, Lauren Currie, the away side would have taken an early lead. Kerry Taggart was playing up top and was causing all sorts of problems for the home defence as she weaved her way forward at every opportunity. The first clear chances fell to the away side with Currie saving from both Kerry and Debbie as they raced through one in one. Town’s pressure finally paid off when Kerry was pulled down in the box by Ports defender Julie Henderson. Tracy Orr stepped up and smashed the ball to the keepers right but young Currie made an amazing save deflecting the ball up onto the crossbar and away from goal. This didn’t deter the away side who sensing a breakthrough was coming pushed forward at every opportunity. Emma McClements in Town’s goal was a virtual spectator as the away side restricted Portadown to a few half chances and a free kick which they defended well. The breakthrough finally came on the 41st minute when a dangerous corner was headed goal wards, this time Currie was beaten but the defender on the line handled the ball away forcing the referee to award a penalty and send the defender off. DeDe Brady stepped up and smashed the ball home to the delight of the Lurgan fans in the main stand. The first half ended soon after with the score Portadown Ladies 0 Lurgan Town Ladies 1.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first with Douglas, Taggart and Potts forcing their way through only to fire narrowly wide or Currie again saving the home side. Ten minutes in and Tina Brush replaced Ciara Lynn who had a solid game as part of the middle three with Lauren Gibson and Caroline O Hare. Town went 4-4-2 in an attempt to stretch the 10 men of Portadown. 25 minutes in and Lisa Goodman replaced Gibson stepping beside O’Hare in the middle. The remaining 20 minutes should have seen Town well out of sight as they missed chance after chance. The final whistle sounded with South 2 league side Town knocking Championship leaders Portadown out of the Irish Cup. Final score Portadown Ladies 0 Lurgan Town Ladies 1.
Manager Davy Welshman said “I’m delighted for the girls and the club tonight, we came with a game plan to stop Portadown playing and stamp our style of football on the tie. The sending off made a difference but even then we were well on top. Our keeper didn’t have a save to make and we kept Portadown from getting one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes. A fantastic advert for women’s football and we look forward to welcoming Portadown to The Arena next month in the quarter final of the Mid Ulster cup”.
Portadown’s coaching staff lamented the fact they where missing 5/6 first team players which shows the strength in depth they have at the club and reflects their position at the top of the Championship and hopefully these players will be back for what will be another thunderous derby. On Wednesday the ladies face second placed Newtown Ladies in their last game for a few weeks as the girls and coaching staff take a well deserved break.
Town Squad: E McClements, L Thompson, T Orr capt, L Kelly, D Brady, D Douglas, C Lynn, L Gibson, C O’Hare, S Potts, K Taggart. Subs: F Welshman, L Goodman, D Creaney, T Brush, R Davis..