Senior 4: DLHC 1XI 4-0 Cooke
The threatened snow and sleet stayed away on a freezing winter afternoon at Bangor Grammar as Donaghadee Ladies welcomed visitors Cooke for their latest Senior Four encounter with Donaghadee hoping to continue their recent return to form.
The Dee started with the strong wind at their backs and enjoyed much of the early possession with attacks coming down both flanks, captain Ruth Kennedy getting plenty of action in particular on the right, supported by advancing right half Susie Ferguson. The ball was continually played round and through the Cooke midfield by Dee midfielders Ali Lawther, Kerry Kennedy and Lisa Higgins and with a lot of movement between forwards Maura Hennessy and Kerrie Turtle it seemed that a goal must come, but the Cooke defence held out.
Finally the breakthrough came with a mazy run down the right by Ruth who, cutting in along the back line and firing the ball across the goal from just inside the circle, found a Cooke defender’s stick and deflected past the keeper; 1-0 to Donaghadee, reflecting their dominance of the play so far. Chances continued to come and both Kerrie and Maura might have added to the lead before Cooke started to get more possession and worked their way forward on the counter attack, though were picked off by Claire Stewart and Nina Wells at the back. Tasha Paxton showed off her pace on a number of runs as she made her return to the team and helped move things forward through the left midfield.
The lack of further goals was proving a little frustrating as the half wore on and the dangers of a slender lead were demonstrated as a slip at the back allowed the Cooke centre forward to break into the circle, one on one with Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam. The latter raced off her line to win the ball with a strong challenge and a double save to clear the danger and protect the lead. Donaghadee continued to press and Ruth latched on to a through ball from Ali to break clear in to the circle, but with only the keeper to beat she was taken down from behind by a Cooke defender, surprisingly only a penalty corner was awarded and Cooke escaped again. Finally a run through from midfielder Kerry Kennedy beat two defenders and with a shot from the edge of the circle, the Cooke keeper saved but the ball spun up in the air and as it landed it continued over the line before anyone else could get a touch: 2-0 at the break.
The second half saw the visitors change their goal-keeper and with Donaghadee now playing in to the strong, bitterly cold wind it promised to be more of a challenge. However the Dee started with the same flair and fluid movement that they had shown in the first half with Lisa and Tasha getting more advanced down the left. Maura was able to get higher up the pitch and as the Cooke keeper saved a rocket shot from Kerrie, Maura was quickest to the rebound and slotted home to make it 3-0 with the match effectively won.
The cold continued to bite as the wind swirled and changed direction with players finding it difficult to keep their hands warm and, with the overall pace starting to have an effect, coach Brian McKee brought Emily Morris in to help the attack. Over the second half rests were given to a number of players but Donaghadee continued to press and for the most part kept Cooke well away from the Dee circle. Maura added a second to her personal tally and a fourth for the Dee and a number of other attempts peppered the Cooke goal without any further scores, leaving the final result 4-0 to Donaghadee and another three points in the league. Next week sees a break from the League with a first round Plate match away to Larne.
Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring duties, coach Brian McKee and to the many supporters who braved the arctic-like conditions to cheer the team on.
Junior 8: PSNI 4-0 DLHC 2XI
Donaghadee Ladies 2nd XI travelled to Stormont on a very gusty Friday evening to play PSNI 2nd XI. Both teams started the game strongly looking to get an early advantage with Donaghadee’s midfield section of Beth Long, Melissa Rollo and Carmen Van Der Schyff working hard to try to dictate play.
Forwards Jan Morrow and Emily Morris enjoyed some early runs up the right side of the pitch but they couldn’t quite manage to drive the ball into a potential scoring position. Despite the early Dee pressure, PSNI turned the ball over and pursued a line of attack down the left side of the pitch to work the ball past the Dee full backs Lisa Alexander and Tori Rollo, beating keeper Janice McVeigh to put the home side ahead.
Going into the half time break with the scoreline reading just 1-0 the match was still all to play for and Donaghadee felt they could get the fairly even game back under their control. However PSNI came back after the break with some strong running and it was their side who commanded the play, driving into the Dee circle and earning themselves two penalty corners in quick succession from which they duly scored. Shortly after, they gathered further momentum and played the ball back into an attacking position and despite determined play from Amy Long, Deborah Gilmore and the rest of the Dee defence, which included several good saves and clearances, PSNI managed another shot on target with the ball this time just inching past Janice into the net.
With fresh legs from subs Teegan Greer and Tasha Paxton, the Dee side enjoyed much of the possession in the last 15 minutes of the game and a consolation goal looked on the cards. A well struck hit from Melissa called the PSNI keeper to make a fabulous save to deny the goal and a nice cross from Emily was just slightly too far ahead of Jan to allow her touch to be deflected in the right direction. Hard work on the left side of the pitch also proved fruitless with Karen Fegan also being denied the goal she deserved.
On the final whistle the score stood 4-0 to PSNI. Many thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring.