12/2/16 Annadale 1-2 Donaghadee LHC 1XI and Donaghadee LHC 2XI 0-4 North Down

Senior League 3: Annadale 1XI 1-2 DLHC 1XI
Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI seal vital 2-1 win against Annadale with gritty, determined display

Having beaten this team 3-1 at home earlier in the season, and with last week’s morale-boosting win over neighbours Holywood, there was a quiet optimism that Donaghadee could get something from this match.

Both sides worked the respective defences in the early exchanges; indeed Dee forward Carolyn Scott found herself with space in the attacking circle but her reverse stick shot was tame and the danger was easily cleared by the Annadale keeper. At the other end, the Donagadee Number 1 Nicola Patton was called into action on several occasions to clear the lines which she did with her usual aplomb. There are also signs that the Dee defence are really starting to click with Amy Long, Claire Stewart and Paige Reilly all working well as a unit across the back, with Ali Lawther providing the link between the defence and attacking midfielders.

In one spell of Annadale pressure down the right, several Donaghadee players close to the ball felt that an Annadale foot should have resulted in a clearing free hit but with no whistle forthcoming, the home forward finished the move to put her side ahead as half time approached. Donaghadee kept their shape and attacking intent however with Kat McFarlane, Helen Hooks and Ruth Coulter all pressing forward from midfield when the opportunity arose.

In the second half Donaghadee were finding themselves with ever more space as they attacked and on more than one occasion Sarah Harkness, running across the Annadale defence, was desperately unlucky not to latch on to the through ball to see her clean through on the home keeper. The breakthrough for Donaghadee came when Tasha Paxton rattled an unstoppable shot into the back of the Annadale net to draw the two sides level.

With 12 minutes before the full time whistle, from an almost identical spot in the Annadale circle, Caitland Crockett hit an equally ferocious strike to give Donaghadee the lead for the first time in the match and a richly deserved victory. Many thanks to Brian McKee for umpiring. The 1XI are next in action on Saturday at home to Newcastle, pass back 1pm.

Junior League 8: DLHC 2XI 0-4 North Down 5XI
Donaghadee 2XI met North Down 5XI for the second time in as many weeks on Saturday at Bangor Grammar, this time for the league encounter between the two sides.  Although North Down won the previous meeting, Donaghadee went into the game positive having learnt from the match the preceding week.

Donaghadee started the game well with the midfielders Karen Fegan, Emily Morris and Deborah Gilmour trying to break through the North Down defence but it didn’t take North Down long to get organised and exert pressure on the Dee defence. Elle Fegan, Tori Rollo and Debbie Findlater were kept busy during the game and together with keeper Siobhan McAdam who made some impressive saves, they cleared many of the visitors’ open play attacks to safety. North Down won themselves several penalty corners though and through a well-rehearsed routine slipped two past the Dee defence before half time.

After the turn around, Donaghadee stepped up their play and with some great attacking runs from both Maura Hennessey and Vickie Pollock broke into the circle but were denied any reward for their efforts.  North Down retaliated with some neat passing work and carved their way past Nikki Robinson, Melissa Rollo and Carmen Van Der Schyff to score from an impressive cross from the right which was deflected neatly by their left wing in the circle.

They soon added another to finish the match at 4-0. Although the score line did not go the home side’s way this week, the Dee can take a lot away from their recent encounters with North Down who are arguably the best side in Junior 8 having not lost a league match yet this year. Many thanks to Jon Scott for umpiring. Donaghadee 2XI travel to Stormont this Saturday to play NICS, pass back 1pm.

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