Senior League 3: Bangor 1-1 Donaghadee LHC 1XI
Honours even in new year local derby
There will certainly be no Christmas cobwebs left after this pacy, end to end encounter between the two 1XI sides of Donaghadee and Bangor. Having had a free weekend just before Christmas, Donaghadee opened their 2017 account having played no competitive hockey for almost a month, but there was no sign of any sluggishness in the opening stages of this match.
Kerrie Turtle was quick to test the home defence as she provided an early cross from the left for Carolyn Scott, but the resulting shot was fired tamely straight at the Bangor keeper. Bangor were quick to respond though a break from midfield, with Dee keeper Nicola Patton parrying away for Claire Stewart to clear from the centre back berth.
With the direction of play swinging back again, the wide players for Donaghadee were making good inroads, with Paige Reilly and Helen Hooks combining beautifully to keep things moving up the pitch on the left and Amy Long providing the platform for Emily Morris to use her pace on the right, but stout defending from Bangor kept any danger at bay.
Both sides pressed and probed in the first half but each defence was as determined as the other and there was no score as the first half drew to a close. Dee forward Caitland Crockett changed all that early in the second half with a well worked penalty corner by the Dee – her strike giving the home defence no time to react and finally the deadlock was broken.
Bangor came again, but again determined defending was the order of the day, with Lisa Higgins and Ali Lawther providing the cover in the defensive midfield positions and there was no way through for the home side. Then followed a spell where Donaghadee were down to 10 players: Claire took a nasty knock to the hand and was unable to continue, swiftly followed to the sideline by Kerry Kennedy whose knee got in the way of a lifted ball. Scrambled cover and a rearranging of positions required as Bangor did their best to take advantage but thankfully Kerry hobbled back to the action before any damage was done to the scoreline.
The frantic pace at which the majority of this match was played was evident as the game wore on: gaps began to appear as legs got heavier and, their speedy forwards having threatened to break on a couple of occasions, Bangor put together a move which split the Dee defence and left Nicola in goal with no chance as they got the equaliser.
Donaghadee had a couple of chances to snatch the winner in the dying moments but with the ball whistling agonisingly millimetres the wrong side the post, honours finished even in this new year derby.
Thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring. The 1XI are next in action at home on Saturday against Ballynahinch, pass back 1pm.
Junior League 7: Instonians 2-1 Donaghadee 2XI
Donaghadee LHC 2XI opened 2017 with a trip to Shaw’s Bridge on Friday night to take on Instonians 2XI. With only a point separating the two teams before pass back, this was always going to be a close encounter, and it didn’t disappoint.
Instonians won pass back and they were quick to get underway with immediate pressure placed on Donagahdee. Elle Fegan in midfield was on top form however to stop them from breaking through to the defence several times. More sustained pressure from the home side led to a penalty corner for Inst and they took advantage to go 1-0 up.
Going into second half Donagahdee began to grow in confidence and play became end to end: when Instonians went on the attack the Dee defensive line of Lisa Alexander, Georgia Ferguson and Deborah Gilmore were there to prevent the home side getting through with several fabulous clearances. Donaghadee stepped up a pace in attack too, with Vicky O’Neill combining with Karen Fegan to put pressure on the home keeper. Karen had time to take a shot which only narrowly missed sneaking inside the post.
Instonians came back again and with a penalty flick awarded for a goal-bound shot stopped by Debs’ shoulder on the line, the home side went two goals to the good. Donaghadee then showed tremendous spirit to turn the game around to dominate the match with Lisa Higgins setting up Vickie Pollock to take a shot. Her strike just narrowly missed the goal. Straight after, an Instonians clearance found Caitland Crockett and she linked well with Natalie Jamieson to work an opening. Their determination paid off and Caitland was able to finish well to give Donaghadee a lifeline.
Donagahdee were determined to find another goal and, with great team play, the attacking continued but the Instonians net minder had to make several saves to keep her side a goal ahead. Instonians had a couple of late chances of their own, but they found Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam up to the challenge and the final score finished 2-1 to Instonians.
Thanks to Willie McAdam for umpiring. The 2XI are next in action against Ballynahinch 2XI at home on Saturday, pass back 2.30pm.