Senior League 4: DLHC 1XI 1-3 Coleraine
It was first versus second when Coleraine Ladies 1st XI came to Bangor Grammar last Saturday, with Coleraine unbeaten in Senior 4 so far this year. Having lost narrowly to Newry last week, Donaghadee were keen to rediscover the winning ways which had elevated them to the lofty heights of the top of the table.
Indeed Donaghadee started very strongly, enjoying long spells of possession in the opening 15 minutes with Dee midfielders Ali Lawther, Kerry Savage, Kerry Kennedy and Tasha Paxton ensuring that the visitors weren’t able to clear the ball much beyond the half way line. Left wing Ruth Kennedy was able to work herself some space at the top of the circle to get a shot away but Coleraine had sufficient bodies in the way to clear the danger. Kerry K was also unlucky with one of her trademark specials heading for the roof of the net only to ping off the Coleraine keeper’s head and away to safety.
Somewhat against the run of play, Coleraine managed to work their way into the Donaghadee circle and win themselves a penalty corner, which they duly converted. It was then a case of deja vu – a second penalty corner awarded and exactly the same outcome: 2-0 to Coleraine. With the Dee trying vainly to reset after the two goals, a Coleraine forward was afforded too much time at the top of the circle which allowed her to place to ball just inside keeper Siobhan McAdam’s right post to make it 3-0 at half time.
The second half bore witness to further super hockey from both sides, with crisp, quick passing and good movement creating an end-to-end game, with both side doing their best to get the next goal. It went the way of Donaghadee, with a free hit just outside the attacking 25 crashed into the circle by Ali being met by Kerrie Turtle’s excellently timed run, sending the deflection flying past the Coleraine goalkeeper.
The chances were there for both sides, with Donaghadee’s defence called into action on several occasions to keep the score as it was; Siobhan made a couple of diving saves, Paige Reilly cleared off the line and Suzie Ferguson and Claire Stewart combined to ensure the ball continued to be cleared wide. Despite the pressure on the defence, Catherine Armstrong and Victoria Speers kept driving the Dee forward with their tireless running in midfield, feeding the ball to high forward Maura Hennessey as they searched for a way back into the game. It wasn’t to be however, with no more goals for either side. Final score 3-1 to Coleraine. Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring. The Firsts’ next game is away to Parkview on Saturday.
Junior League 8: DLHC 2XI 3-1 Ballymena 4XI
After the last couple of good team performances from Donaghadee’s 2XI with disappointing results, the girls were keen to make their mark on this week’s match as they welcomed Ballymena 4th XI to Bangor Grammar. Despite the poor conditions overhead Donaghadee were quickly into their stride attacking the Ballymena team. With the initial Dee pressure the team were awarded a couple of penalty corners in quick succession with Tori Rollo pushing the ball out strongly to Melissa Rollo whose clean strike went just wide of the post. The Ballymena defence were quick to clear the ball from the Dee’s second attempt denying any score from this line of attack. However with Donaghadee’s perseverance a long corner ball was played into the circle with the initial strike from Jan Morrow being saved by the Ballymena keeper but captain Deborah Gilmore showed her team how it should be done as she calmly put the rebound into the back of the net.
Unsurprisingly the Dee team and the numerous supporters on the sideline were delighted but Ballymena were quick to retaliate from the restart almost before the cheers from the onlookers had died down. Catching the Dee team unawares, Ballymena carved their way up the pitch and as the ball pinged around the circle they scrambled it past the home defence and over the line to equalise.
The rest of the first half continued as before with Donaghadee dominating play, and the Dee defence of Lisa Alexander, Ruth Howell, Amy Long and Deborah containing the Ballymena attacks with keeper Janice McVeigh pulling off some well timed saves when required.
After half time the Dee started well again and it wasn’t long before right wing Emily Morris broke through from the midfield and, with just the Ballymena keeper to beat, shot from the edge of the circle to put the home side 2-1 up. Ballymena were keen to get the match back level and put plenty of pressure on the Dee’s midfield and defence. Teegan Greer, Tasha Paxton and Tori worked hard to relieve the pressure with Tasha making a spectacular save to clear a ball off the line. Centre forward Jan picked up a loose ball and with some neat passes between Amy and Teegan worked the ball up the pitch only to have her effort cleared off the line.
With just a couple of minutes remaining in the game Emily put the match to bed with another shot from the edge of the circle resulting in a similar goal to her first. Much to the delight of the home team the final score read 3-1 in their favour. Many thanks to both Mike Smyth and Brian McKee for umpiring. The Seconds are next in action on Saturday in the first round of the Minor Cup.