The home side got off to a good start, and early pressure led to a corner, shortly followed by an opening goal from defender-cum-winger Rachel ‘Smiler’ Davis who celebrated by almost running the length of the pitch! However, five minutes later, Downpatrick got a free kick in a dangerous area, and the high ball beat keeper Emma McClements to level the score at 1-1. Lurgan continued to press, and soon had another goal-scoring opportunity when a good through ball from Niamh Ruddy to Rachel was shot narrowly wide. Five minutes later, and Rachel (clearly enjoying her winger role) had another shot on goal.
But it was skipper Tracy Orr who scored the next goal – a penalty was awarded after a heavy tackle on Louise Kelly, and Tracy confidently converted it to put the Lurgan side ahead again. Fifteen minutes later, and the highlight of the match came when Tracy ran up from her defensive position, took the ball round three players, and then slotted the ball home low to the keeper’s right, just inside the post, making it 3-1.
A couple of minutes later, after good work by Niamh, Lauren Gibson passed the ball through to Kerry Taggart who cooly chipped the keeper to make it 4-1. Just before half-time, Kerry had another chance when a bad goal-kick fell to her, but her shot under pressure with her weaker foot went narrowly wide.
In the second half, it was Jess Whelan who almost had the first chance on goal, but the keeper came out to claim the ball before she could shoot. This was followed by a shot from distance from Niamh and a free kick from Tracy, but both were saved by the keeper. There was more good attacking passing play, between Lauren, Kerry and Louise, which led to a shot from Louise from close range, which forced a good save from the Downpatrick keeper. In the Lurgan defence, Caz, Toni and Dede all put in a great shift, leaving Emma having only one save to make. The home side dominated possession in the second half, with Niamh and Kerry both playing balls through to Jess who almost got on the score-sheet a few times, but the Downpatrick defence held firm. Final result 4-1.
The ladies have just one more league match, away to Ambassadors Ladies next Tuesday at Kernan Playing Fields, Portadown. Then it’s Cup Finals week, when they meet Newry City Ladies in the Mid Ulster Cup final on Monday 28 August at Holm Park, Armagh, and then Comber Rec Ladies in the South 2 League Cup Final at Seaview, Belfast on Fri 1 September. Both KO times 7:30pm. The Lurgan Town Lades would appreciate some travelling supporters for the finals!
Team: E McClements, T Orr, C Laird, T Smith, D Brady, L Kelly/O’Neill, L Gibson, R Davis, N Ruddy, K Taggart, J Whelan