Senior League 3: Annadale 3-1 DLHC 1XI
It was first meets third last Saturday when Donaghadee Ladies’ 1XI travelled to Lagan College to play league leaders Annadale in the first match of 2018.
Donaghadee were without keeper Siobhan McAdam and dynamic midfielder Helen Hooks but, with DLHC 2XI’s game off due to opponents Ards conceding, the Dee were able to call up Seconds’ keeper Janice McVeigh and Natalie Jamieson into midfield.
It was a bitterly cold, clear day and Donaghadee were playing into the low sun in the first half. Despite an early chance from Carolyn Scott at a penalty corner, Donaghadee found themselves struggling to get into any rhythm to penetrate a well organised Dale defence.
Indeed Annadale were quick to exploit several gaps, winning and scoring two penalty corners before the Dee had properly put any decent phases of play together.
Gradually though, Donaghadee managed to get themselves a foothold in the match, with Claire Stewart directing matters from the heart of defence, ably backed up by Paige Reilly and Amy Long.
With one hefty route one ball from the back deflecting off an Annadale stick for a Donaghadee long corner, the ball was quickly retrieved before the home defence had time to reset.
The long was quickly taken by Kerry Kennedy and, after a neat interchange involving Lisa Higgins, Leanna Young’s shot was blocked by the Annadale keeper. Sarah-Louise Baird, resplendent in her sparkly new kit, was on hand to score from the rebound at an impossibly tight angle to make it 2-1.
Donaghadee lifted themselves visibly after the goal and they enjoyed a period of good attacking pressure. Catherine Armstrong probed down the right with Emma McGimpsey flinging herself at a cross as Donaghadee searched for the equaliser.
Ali Stevenson pushed up in midfield and Natalie went on a couple of mazy runs but the Annadale keeper was well protected by her outfield players.
With Donaghadee applying the pressure going forward, Annadale were able to find a late gap to set their attackers free and they duly finished with a shot that flew low to Janice’s right to leave the score 3-1 and Annadale worthy of their top spot. Thanks to Deborah Gilmore for umpiring duties.
With second placed Kilkeel beating fourth in the league South Antrim, Donaghadee remain safely in third in Senior 3 and they will look to add to the points tally at home to Cooke next Saturday, pass back 1.30pm.
Junior League 8A
Donaghadee Ladies 2XI’s opponents, Ards 5XI conceded on Saturday, so the Dee’s Seconds will be looking forward to kicking off 2018 with a home match against Newcastle, pass back 3pm.