Monday night saw South 2 Champions Lurgan Town Ladies face Championship side Portadown Integrated Ladies in the Quarter Final of the Mid Ulster Cup. The grass pitch at The Arena was in fantastic condition as both teams took to the pitch for the eagerly awaited game. Portadown had the best chances early on with a succession of corners which the home defence dealt with and one being cleared from the goal line as the Ports showed their class. Town started to cause problems as Trudi Harbinson and Debbie Douglas linked up well as they took a hold of the game pushing Portadown deep into their own half. The break through came with 23 minutes in the clock when Debbie crossed into Kerry Taggart who laid the ball off to Louise Kelly who found the bottom corner of the net much to the delight of the large home crowd on the sideline. 9 minutes later and top scorer Taggart got her deserved goal as she held off the Ports sweeper to smash the ball into the net. Four minutes later and Town could have been out of sight as Kerry was fouled in the box. Dede Brady stepped up but smashed the ball over the bar. Town got a third though with 40 minutes on the clock when Kerry scored her second. Half time score Lurgan Town Ladies 3 Portadown 0.
The second half was barely 3 minutes old when Town conceded a penalty when Emma in the home goal brought the Ports forward down. Lucky for Town though as she smashed the ball against the crossbar and Emma collected it as it bounced up from the ground. 62 minutess in and Trudi Harbinson struck an unstoppable left foot drive into the bottom corner of the net to take Town four goals clear. With 65 minutes on the clock Emma Harper replaced the hard working Steph Potts as Town looked to freshen the side up. Ports then scored as Julie Henderson escaped her marker to give the them a lifeline. Five minutes later and Emma Harper struck a sweet free kick which Kerry powdered in from close range to all but kill the game. Tina Brush replaced the impressive Douglas who had came into the game carrying an injury. Lauren Gibson replaced Fiona Welshman with Louise Kelly dropping into centre back and her impact was immediate as Sponsors player of the match Kerry Taggart beat the home defence to pull the ball back to Lauren Gibson who made no mistake making it 6 to the home side.. Final score Lurgan Town 6 Portadown 1.
Manager Davy Welshman “Tonight was another huge test for the girls and they responded fantastically. We came out slow and Portadown could have been a goal up before we really got going. The girls, to their credit, dug in and turned in the performance of the season scoring some fantastic goals but also defending for their lives against a very good Portadown team. I wish Dave the girls well as they look to finish in the play offs on their first year in the Championship”
Team: E McClements, L Thompson, T Orr (C), F Welshman, D Brady, L Kelly, C O’Haire, S Potts, T Harbinson, D Douglas, K Taggart. Subs: E Harper, T Brush, L Gibson, D Creaney, C Laird.
Next up for the ladies is a home league tie v Newtown Forest Ladies on Wednesday with a 7.30pm kick off at The Arena. Followed by the semi final of The Mid Ulster cup v Ambassadors on Friday at The Arena with a 7.30 kick off.
Also for your diaries is the South 2 League Cup Final on Tuesday 30th August v Killyleagh, the game will be played at Crewe Park with kick off time to be confirmed.