Senior League 3: DLHC 1XI 1-1 Newry
Donaghadee Ladies’ 1XI took another step towards maintaining their Senior 3 status in an absorbing 1-1 draw at home to Newry on Saturday. Newry started the match one point ahead of the Dee in the table, albeit having played a game more, with both teams eager to press home some sort of advantage by the time the league tables were totted up at the end of the day.
On a bitingly cold but clear day Donaghadee started brightly with early pressure on the Newry defence by Carolyn Scott almost feeding young forward Caitland Crockett, but wily defending from the Newry backs snuffed out any real opportunity. There was plenty of space for Donaghadee to run into down the attacking flanks, with Sarah Harkness showing some neat distribution for Kerrie Turtle, Ruth Coulter and Tasha Paxton to try to make inroads in these channels. Again, the attacks were thwarted before any real danger threatened the Newry circle.
Somewhat against the run of play and, as a result of some cagey defending by Donaghadee who were seemingly unable to make a clean clearance, a Newry forward got her stick to the ball to poke it past Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam to give her team the lead. Back at it went Donaghadee and it didn’t take long before an attacking penalty corner brought joy for the home side. An initial strike by Ali Lawther rebounded straight to the stick of her midfield partner Helen Hooks, who calmly dinked the ball round the keeper.
With both teams aware of what was at stake, it was the tale of the defences in the second half, with Claire Stewart marshalling Amy Long, Paige Reilly and Kat McFarlane at the back to prevent any more breakthroughs by the Newry forwards, and neither side really created too many clear cut chances. 1-1 was probably a fair final result, given the evenness of play on the day. Thanks to Brian McKee for umpiring.
In a twist to the Senior 3 table standings, Enniskillen were removed from the league after failing to fulfil 5 fixtures, so with all associated points deducted, Donaghadee now sit two points above Newry and 9 above Newcastle at the bottom of the table – and everything still to play for in the remaining two games in the race for Senior 3 safety. The first of those matches is on Saturday when the Dee travel to confirmed Senior 3 champions, Coleraine.
Junior 8: Instonians 2XI 0-0 DLHC 2XI
It was end to end action on Friday night as DLHC’s 2XI travelled to Shaws Bridge to take on Instonians in the reverse fixture for this season. It was always going to be a hotly contested match with both teams sitting on the same points in the league table and it was everything to play for after Inst nabbed a last minute goal back in November to steal the points.
It was with this in mind that DLHC approached the game with determination which led to the girls in red and green making some initial strong attacks shortly after passback. Emily Morris passed the ball from midfield to right winger Maura Hennessy who turned in a super cross to Caitland Crockett in the circle. Her shot was on target but the Instonians’ keeper was lucky to get a boot to it and saw the ball wide. With 3 more attacks this time coming up the left and centre the Dee were unlucky not to hit the backboard, but these attacks seemed to rouse Instonians and their attacks came fast and furious for the rest of the half. Their attempts were futile however as a solid defence of Tori and Melissa Rollo and Lisa Alexander were able to very confidently thwart the home side’s attacks.
The second half was again end to end with some fantastic defensive/offensive team work on the left by mother-daughter players Karen and Elle Fegan and Amy Long and Angela Parker on the right breaking down play and creating some very exciting attacks for Donaghadee. Instonians had their own attacking moments, winning two short corners but both strikes were confidently cleared by Donaghadee keeper Janice McVeigh to keep the sheet clean.
The game finished with a nil all draw at the end of a very end to end game by two very evenly match teams. Many thanks to Kerrie Turtle for umpiring. The 2XI are next in action away to Queen’s on 19th March.