18/2/17 Holywood 4-2 Donaghadee LHC 1XI and Ards 4-1 Donaghadee LHC 2XI

Senior League 3: Holywood 4-2 Donaghadee LHC 1XI
With Donaghadee LHC 1XI sitting comfortably in mid-table, but in close contention with a number of teams for fourth spot, the girls headed to Strathearn last Saturday to play league leaders Holywood.

Donaghadee started well, with a number of forays down both flanks from Sarah Louise Boyd and Carolyn Scott yielding good balls into the Holywood circle – one cross falling just wide of Kerrie Turtle’s stick – before Holywood seemed to wake up. Two attacks resulted in two goals for the home team; the first an unfortunate deflection off Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam’s pad, the second an even more unlucky rebound which came off Amy Long’s partial charge down at a penalty corner to loop agonisingly just over Siobhan’s outstretched paw and under the cross bar to give Holywood a quick two goal advantage.

There was little Donaghadee could do about Holywood’s third, an excellently struck first time penalty corner shot just before half time, and it looked as though Holywood were home and dry, despite play being more even than the scoreline suggested. Reassuring words were issued by Dee coach Brian McKee at half time, with the instruction to go out and win the half – and Donaghadee did just that.

There was plenty of confident play round the back, with Claire Stewart and Paige Reilly spreading the ball from side to side as Donaghadee tried to find the opening. One quick square ball from Claire to Paige found Emily Morris who, with a sublime first time lay off, rocketed the ball down the left touch line for lateral running forward Kerrie to latch on to.

The build up play down the left created the opening goal for the Dee, with Carolyn allowing the ball to come across her to shoot from a tight angle on the right, the ball squeezing through in off the Holywood keeper’s left pad, to pull a goal back. In midfield Ali Lawther and Lisa Higgins provided the platform for Kerry Kennedy to push on and she was instrumental in Donaghadee’s second goal, with a beautifully timed pass through to Carolyn who shot again down to the keeper’s left to double Donaghadee’s tally: 3-2 and not long to play.

Donaghadee then had a couple of chances to pull level, especially when Caitland Crockett making a lung-bursting dribble forward, but the Holywood sweeper did well to stand firm and clear the danger before Caitland could reach the circle. Shortly after Holywood were quick to make a break with a clinical finish: final score 4-2 to Holywood but what a terrific fighting performance from Donaghadee when the scoreline could have run away with them by half time – a performance they will hope to repeat against Annadale at home on Saturday 4th March. Thanks to Brian McKee for umpiring.

Junior 7: Ards 5XI 4-1 Donaghadee LHC 2XI
With last week’s really positive performance DLHC 2XI went into this week’s game with a spring in their step. Despite this, Donaghadee were immediately under pressure and it was clear this was going to be a tough match.

Much of the game was played in midfield with Ards extremely fast to take advantage of any breaks and with a well rehearsed front line giving the Dee defence plenty to think about, it wasn’t long before they were 1-0 up.

Donaghadee kept battling with Natalie Jamieson, Lisa Alexander and Georgia Ferguson in defence but Ards’ speed and experience on their front line proved overwhelming, and they added a second to their tally: 2-0 to Ards.

Donaghadee were determined to push forward however and with good play between Karen and Elle Fegan they were finding good runs up the left to find young forward Vicky O’Neill.

The Dee were rewarded for their efforts just before half time when they won a penalty corner. Karen received the ball but, under pressure from the Ards number one runner, Karen slipped to Lynsey Sloan who was able to find Vicky O’Neill on the back post, making it 2-1 at half time and giving Donaghadee the lifeline they needed.

The second half started with the same battling spirit from Donaghadee. Teegan Greer proved her versatility, swapping the keeper pads for attacking runs down the right this week, and she was unlucky not to score with some excellent chances. Vickie Pollock also had some isolated runs but the finishing touch was just agonisingly missing for the Dee.

Play continued to be very much a midfield battle with Debs Gilmour providing valuable support for her forwards but Dee found themselves at the receiving end of another fast break putting the home team 3-1 up.

Ards fourth and final goal came as a result of some confusion following a long corner. A number of the Dee players thought whistle had gone to indicate the ball hadn’t travelled 5 before being hit in but play continued and Ards took full advantage, finishing 4-1.

The last two games for the Seconds have shown their ability to score, evidence of an increase in confidence and a little more continuity with positions. With a little bit of extra endeavour to ensure the first half performance carries on to the final whistle, and a never give up attitude, the result they so desperately deserve, is not far away. Thanks to Maura Hennessey for umpiring. The Second are next in action away to North Down, pass back 4pm at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday.

Miss last week’s report on the 1XI’s match against South Antrim and the 2XI’s agonisingly close game against Holywood Seconds? Read it here >>>

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