Senior 3: Donaghadee LHC 1XI 1-0 Bangor
The final match of 2017 for Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club’s 1XI saw local rivals Bangor make the short trip to Donaghadee’s home at Bangor Grammar.
The match saw the return of the first game of the season which ended a 0-0 draw between these sides meaning everything was to play for in this much anticipated game.
The loyal Dee supporters were treated to some lovely hockey in the opening exchanges, with Donaghadee using the midfield of Kerry Kennedy, Catherine Armstrong and Helen Hooks to work the ball forward at every opportunity.
Bangor were well drilled in their set plays from the back and quick on the counterattack putting pressure on the red and green defence. However, captain Paige Reilly managed to keep control and quick play through Lisa Higgins to Leanna Young who won a penalty corner. Carolyn Scott hit a first time shot to take the half time lead: 1-0 to Donaghadee.
The Dee knew Bangor would be strong in the second half and they did well to keep a tight press directed by midfielder Ali Stevenson.
The home side put plenty of pressure on down both flanks, firing a number of shots agonisingly just off target; unfortunately Emma McGimpsey’s run to the back post was just short to convert.
Bangor kept their intensity and it was Donaghadee’s turn to show some hardcore defending; Claire Stewart was solid in the centre, and Amy Long did well to force the ball wide to allow the red and green to regroup. Donaghadee were then able to show their growing strength as a team through quick, sharp passsing.
The crowd enjoyed a nail-biting five minutes just before the end when Leanna broke down the Bangor defence only for her shot to rebound off the post. Despite big numbers in the circle, Donaghadee just couldn’t add to the tally to secure the game.
Donaghadee keeper Siobhan McAdam – who had little to do in the first half – was called into late action to keep the sheet clean as the game drew to a close, leaving the final score 1 – 0 to Donaghadee and another three points which consolidates their top three position in the league as 2017 draws to a close.
Donaghadee Captain Paige Reilly thanked Mike Smyth for umpiring and stated what a satisfying way it was to finish the year. Vice Kerry Kennedy also praised the team for a “truly gritty performance from every single player”.
Thanks to Groomsport Playgroup for sponsoring the match ball and of course the growing band of Dee supporters for coming down every week even in the freezing cold.
The 1XI are back in action on 6th January at Lagan College to face league leaders Annadale.
A very Merry Christmas & Best Wishes for 2018 from all at DLHC.