Senior 3: DLHC 1XI 1-1 PSNI
There’s been a bit of a break for the 1XI of Donaghadee Ladies Hockey Club with the team last taking to the pitch exactly a month ago against the same opponents.
PSNI have been playing catch up with their league games over the last few weeks and it told in the initial stages of this week’s game: the visitors looked fresh as they enjoyed much of the attacking in the opening spells with Donaghadee finding themselves under considerable pressure at the back.
As for much of the season, Ali Stevenson was the rock in the middle of defence, picking off attacks through the centre to break up play and keep Dee keeper Siobhan McAdam safe in her goals.
Two other defensive stalwarts played crucial parts in the early exchanges, with both Amy Long and Paige Reilly tucking in to tighten up the defence yet supporting high up the pitch when Donaghadee attacked.
Both deserve a shout out having suffered for their efforts this year – Amy playing much of the season with a broken bone in her foot, while Paige took a nasty crack to the hand a couple of months ago. Hardy creatures, those defenders!
With Donaghadee having weathered the initial PSNI storm, they began to gain more of a foothold with Kerry Kennedy grabbing the game by the scruff in the middle of pitch as she sprayed passes wide right to Vicky O’Neill and left to set Sarah-Louise Baird free.
With more go-forward ball Donaghadee started to threaten the PSNI goal; Kerry and Hannah McAdam both shooting just wide of the left upright before the Dee earned a penalty corner.
With Carolyn Scott just on to the pitch following a 3 month injury layoff (not as hard as the defenders, clearly), her first touch of the ball was to smash it past the prone PSNI keeper with a straight strike from the top of the circle. Cue a celebration that was neither dignified nor restrained but certainly heartfelt. Sorry about that, PSNI!
Donaghadee used the platform to try and create more chances, with Hannah unlucky not to sweep in at the back post and young Molly McKee putting the PSNI defence under pressure any time they tried to clear the ball from the back.
The early stages of the second half saw more Donaghadee pressure with Lisa Higgins and Helen Hooks combining on the left to make numerous forays down the wing, with Vicky and Erin Hamilton provided plenty of youthful energy on the right.
PSNI soaked up the pressure – their keeper making several very good, point blank saves – with the momentum starting to shift towards the visitors. Toria Wightman proved invaluable in the middle for Donaghadee with her excellent reading of the game ensuring she was well-poisitoned to intercept a number of through balls.
With the match entering its final stages, Donaghadee were unable to clear their lines without the ball coming straight back, and PSNI won a penalty corner which was duly converted. Both teams looked as though they were up for finding the winner as the game became stretched but neither keeper was unduly troubled further, leaving the final score 1-1: probably a fair reflection on the evenness of play.
Thank you to Matthew Sanchez for umpiring duties in this match. Thanks also to all the umpires who have officiated for us this season – your support and availability for us week in, week out is very much appreciated.
We’d also like to note our appreciation of our growing band of sideline supporters; it’s brilliant to see (and hear!) your support and shows what good health our wee club is in (better health than many of the 1XI this year, it must be said… Broken foot, bust nose, stitches in a cheekbone, several unhappy hands, a mangled knee, a troublesome Achilles and a couple of pregnancies to name but a few!)
With matches now finished for the season, we’ll round off the 2018/19 season with our AGM and End of Season Do to be held in Harbour and Co on Saturday 11th May from 5pm.
Lastly, pics of the match against PSNI will be available in our Action Shots 2018/19 album shortly but for now, we’ll let our esteemed outgoing club captain have the final action shot of the season…