Donaghadee Ladies’ 1XI began their league campaign on Saturday away to neighbours Bangor.
This has been the opening fixture for these teams for the last few seasons, with two draws and a 2-1 Donaghadee victory, and this season’s encounter proved just as close.
Bangor scored very quickly from first pass back with a goal that Donaghadee will be disappointed not to have dealt with better but from that point any early season nerves settled and Donaghadee fought well to establish themselves in the game.
There was joy for Helen Hooks and Sarah-Louise Baird down the Dee’s left and they made numerous forays into high attacking areas, linking with high forward Emma McGimpsey-Young to create a number of good circle penetrations.
One such attack led to a penalty corner and the resulting strike was only partly parried by the home defence. The clearance fell to Kerry Kennedy at the top of the circle and her reverse stick effort found the back of the net to bring the Dee level.
Donaghadee then did their best to double their goal tally with Carolyn Scott attempting to put the Dee into the lead but the effort went wide, and the two teams went into the break on level terms.
Donaghadee sustained a period of pressure from the Bangor attack early in the second half but wayward shots and a good marshalling of the Dee defence by Claire Stewart, Paige Reilly and Laura Boyle kept keeper Siobhan McAdam safe between the Dee posts.
Having weathered that particular storm, Donaghadee began to find themselves with a lot more space; Catherine Armstrong made speedy yards down the right while through the middle, Ali Stevenson started to pick out passes to feed the forwards.
One great link up saw Hannah McAdam mere inches away from tipping in at the right hand post and the Bangor keeper was required to smother a ball when Lisa Higgins burst through into the circle.
Further pressure came from the right when Amy Long was able to push up from defence and with Bangor hemmed in, Kerry carried into the circle yet again. Her shot will have to go down as a strong contender as goal of the season – yes, one game in.
The Bangor keeper had advanced several paces off her line to close down the danger as she saw Kerry approaching the edge of the circle. Riding a couple of tackles, the Dee midfielder was able to execute the most sublime, audacious lob which lifted over the rooted keeper and dipped just under the crossbar to give Donaghadee a fitting 2-1 lead.
With seconds left on the stopwatch Bangor mounted one final attack. As the final whistle blew, a penalty corner was awarded for an infringement which Donaghadee felt had happened outside their defensive circle. Bangor duly piled every player forward for their one final opportunity – which they grasped with delight to ensure the honours finished even yet again for this fixture.
Final score 2-2 with thanks to Mike Smyth for umpiring. The 1XI are next in action on Saturday when they welcome Enniskillen to BGS for a 1pm passback before the 2XI get their league campaign underway at home to Saintfield 3XI, passback 2.30pm.
Wine-Tasting Evening, Donaghadee Sailing Club, Saturday
The wine has been chosen, the running order finalised and all tickets sold!
It’s shaping up to be an excellent evening, with a fantastic selection of raffle prizes including 2 tickets for a tour and tasting at the Shortcross Gin Distillery, a gift voucher for Peter Hannan and wine donated by wine expert, Angie Alexander, from her own collection, along with the option to purchase the featured wines on the night, so don’t forget your cash!
Doors will be from 7.30pm for an 8pm sharp start, so if attending, please make sure you allow sufficient time to enjoy your welcome glass of bubbles before proceedings start.
Match Ball Sponsorship
There are still slots available if you or your company would like to sponsor a home match ball this season – please speak to Leanna McGimpsey-Young or contact email@example.com for more info or to secure your match.