Lurgan Town Ladies maintained their good start to the season, with 4-1 away win against last year’s Championship Cup winners Ballymena United Allstars.
Straight from the whistle, Leanne Domican put Elisha Donnelly through for an early shot on goal, and we thought there might be a repeat of the first-minute goal at Downpatrick. But their keeper saved and the early scare seemed to galvinise Ballymena, who played with pace and confidence, and for the next half hour, Lurgan seemed to be limited to breaks up the pitch and some good interplay between Elisha and Kerry Taggart. There were niggly tackles and sometimes the Lurgan players seemed to lose focus and concede free kicks and corners. But on 34 minutes, Trudi Harbinson put a ball in across goal, and Leanne held off her defender and hit it into the net with the outside of her foot to give Lurgan the lead. Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived, as Ballymena scored from a corner just two minutes later. Then four minutes from half-time, Lurgan passed and moved the ball up the field, and out wide to Kerry, who crossed into the box for Louise O’Neill to volley in and regain the lead 1-2.
After a nervy first half, the players settled in the second half, and after 10 minutes, Leanne crossed it in to Kerry who knocked it past the keeper for 1-3. Debbie Douglas, Wendy Bailie and Celine Curtis came on during the second half. Further chances came for both sides – Leanne stretched to reach a long free kick from defensive stalwart Claire Rooney which the keeper saved, and Celine put a free kick round the wall, but at the keeper, while Ballymena’s free kick from just outside the box hit the cross-bar, and another Ballymena move forced a fine save from Megan Mccabe. But Lurgan were passing better and had more confidence on the ball. On 75 minutes, Kerry passed to Leanne who looked about to score her second of the night, but the keeper palmed it. Celine put in the resulting corner, and it was headed in by Claire for a 4-1 lead.
Unfortunately, the game had to be stopped about 5 minutes from time, after a nasty accidental collision between two Ballymena players. Both players were discharged from hospital and although they each have a number of serious facial injuries, we are pleased to hear that they should make a full recovery in due course. We wish them both all the best.
Next Match – home to Carnmoney Ladies on Wed 22 May 7:30 KO
Team: M McCabe, D Brady, L O’Neill, T Orr, N Ruddy, T harbinson, A McAllister, C Rooney, K Taggart, E Donnelly, L Domican Subs: D Douglas, W Bailie, C Curtis, R Bolger, T Maguire