After the abandonment of the previous week’s match away to Malone due to driving rain and a waterlogged pitch, Donaghadee were back on their travels last Saturday, away to College Hill in Armagh. With College Hill in the top three, and Donaghadee in the bottom half of the table, this was always going to be a tricky fixture for the girls, but captain Jen McVeigh had fourteen players to call on, possibly for the first time this season, and almost definitely for the first time for an away match – a positive sign that this season’s new players are fitting in well at the club. Donaghadee had first pass back on what turned out to be a heavy, stodgy pitch, which restricted dribbling opportunities for both sides. The two teams were fairly evenly matched for much of the first half, with neither side really creating many chances.
College Hill drew first blood in the second half when Donaghadee were unable to clear. Alison McNeice was off her line like a young ‘un to close down the threat, and was dreadfully unlucky when the forward sneaked the ball in through a narrow space at the near post. Donaghadee kept plugging away however, with Ashlee McCormack and Becca Ambrose up front hassling their markers at every turn. Katie Drummond and Ann Savage were doing some sterling work in midfield, and Jen and Suzie looked really solid at the back. So far so good, until College Hill won themselves a penalty stroke after a hopeful ball goalwards hit a Donaghadee foot on the line. The College Hill umpire correctly awarded a stroke, but what followed left everyone not a little confused. The home forward stepped up to the ball, and whacked it as hard as she could, burying it in the back corner. The home umpire duly awarded the goal, leaving the Donaghadee players wondering when the rule change allowing hitting the ball at a stroke had come into force. (After consulting the rule book, I’m still wondering…)
Final score 2-0 to College Hill. Donaghadee’s next match is on Saturday at home to League leaders Holywood. Pass back 2pm.