Ladies Lose Out On League Title

Unfortunately, Lurgan Town Ladies lost to Comber Rec Ladies last Wednesday, in a closely contested game at Parkway with an estimated 100 strong crowd. This means that the ladies can’t win the South 1 league this year, but they still look forward to two cup finals at the end of the season.

Ben Hanna wrote this match report for the NIWFA:

CaptureGoing into the game against second placed Lurgan knowing a win would seal the top spot, the game started with Comber determined not to make any mistakes and play the football they have been playing all season.

They got off to a flying start after 8 minutes when McWilliams reacted fastest when the referee played advantage after a foul 20 yards out and picked up the ball and shot accurately into the bottom corner with Lurgan keeper Emma McClements unable to stop it from hitting the back of the net. Lurgan Town are a team that don’t just lie down, and they got back up, determined to make a game of it. They managed to have a lot of possession in the midfield in the next period, but were unable to trouble the experienced Comber defence on too many occasions.

They kept at it though, and nearly caused a problem when it appeared Kerry Taggart had broken through, but the referee adjudged that she was offside when the ball was played, much to the relief of Comber, who gladly took the free kick. This appeared to be a catalyst for Comber, who found themselves further ahead two minutes later when midfielder Debbie Ferguson hit a free kick from 30 yards that required McClements to save it, but she could only parry it onto the bar and it fell for Johnston a yard out to head in before anyone else could react.

Taggart almost pulled one back on the stroke of half-time after a double Lurgan substitution, when a corner bounced to her but she couldn’t keep her fierce drive down from 8 yards, watching it sail agonisingly over the bar. The second half began as the first had ended, with Lurgan desperately searching for a way back into the game. They had another good chance three minutes into the half when Taggart rose higher than anyone else to head across goal from a corner, but again she just couldn’t get her effort on target.

They had another great chance on 55 minutes, again from a corner, when a low corner was driven in to winger Amanda Morton, who controlled it well and laid it off to captain Tracy Orr, but her shot on the turn was just narrowly wide with Abbey Lacey well beaten in the Comber goal. On 63 minutes Taggart was booked for persistent fouling but Lurgan were once again having a lot of the play, but were unable to turn it into chances.

The moment of the match came on 70 minutes, when Lurgan were sure they had scored. Lurgan attacking midfielder Lauren Gibson was fouled 30 yards out and hit in a brilliant dipping free kick that was going in at the near post but was somehow stopped by a one handed flying save from Lacey who prevented what looked like a certain goal at a crucial time in the game. The save proved to be a pivotal point two minutes later, when Comber’s Debbie Ferguson picked up the ball in midfield, ran down the left hand side, beat her marker and drilled in a low cross that McClements could only parry into the feet of Johnston who once again had the easiest of finishes to seal the win.

Team : E McClements, R Davis, L Kelly, L Thompson, T Orr, T Smith, D Douglas, L Gibson, A Morton, T Brush, K Taggart. Subs : J Whelan, C Laird, N Ruddy