With Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1st XI enjoying a week off, DLHC 2nd XI were left to fly the red and green flag last weekend. After their loss to Malone in the first round of the Minor Cup last Saturday, the Seconds were back in league action against Instonians at their home at Shaw’s Bridge and, with the two teams sitting on the same points in the league table, it would be a good one for the Dee to win to try and start moving up the league table.
As the match got under way Donaghadee came out very quickly, pushing Instonians back towards their own circle and within the first five minutes the top scorer of the season so far Maura Hennessey was denied adding to her goal tally on several occasions. Feeling in control of the match the Dee continued to make it difficult for the Inst defence as they were passing the ball quickly and crisply, and they once again infiltrated the home sides circle – this time forward Emily Morris took her chance but the Instonians keeper was on form, but in the process of making the save, gave the Dee their first penalty corner of the match. The shot by Hannah McAdam was heading goalwards but once again the keeper was there to yet again deny the Dee their chance to take the lead.
Instonians did manage to make their breakthough but defender Teegan Greer was adamant that they were not getting near the Dee circle and used her experience to close down the attacks. On one of the very few occasions Instonians were able to get into the circle Teegan and Hannah were on hand to clear the ball quickly, leaving keeper Tina Sterling with only one touch of the ball the whole match. The Dee were once again on the attack with a lovely pass from Amy Long to midfielder Deborah Gilmour; this time it was her chance against the Instonians keeper but there was no breaking the deadlock. Leona Wells met the rebound and the team thought was finally in only to find the Inst keeper was there to make yet another save. In the remainder of the first half, Donaghadee really put the Instonians keeper through her paces as shots were taken and saved time and time again.
After the break the Dee made sure not to lose their form and, with new recruit Tasha Paxton coming on in defence and Kelly McDowell bringing a fresh set of legs to the forward line, they were playing quick, fast hockey, eager to break the stalemate. Melissa Rollo once again brought her calmness and skill to the midfield and using this made her break through the Instonians defence to find Karen Fegan unmarked in the circle, unfortunately for her she slipped and the ball rolled over the back line just centimetres away from goal.
The Dee defence saw a lot more of the play in the second half with Teegan again giving the Instonians forwards the difficult job of getting past her. As the game was starting to draw to as close without a score, a perfectly placed ball by Melissa to Leona, who was unmarked at the top of the circle, gave them their final chance of the match but unfortunately the final whistle sounded and the match ended in a draw.
A very strong performance by the Donaghadee 2XI but unfortunately for them the Instonians keeper was on top form. The team are happy with their valuable point and looking forward to the return fixture in the New Year. The girls are back in league action against South Antrim 2XI on Saturday 23 November, pass back 1pm at Bangor Grammar. DLHC 1st XI are away to Ballynahinch, also on Saturday.