Senior League 3: Derg Valley 4-1 DLHC 1XI
With only 9 players declaring themselves available for the long trek west on Saturday to Castlederg, it was going to be a tough ask in a game the Dee has in recent seasons found to be a good source of points.
With an initial break from the Derg centre forward well snuffed out by Floss Scott – making her 1XI debut in the centre of defence in less than ideal circumstances, but fitting straight in right away – Donaghadee were quick to get into their stride.
Playing with Carolyn Scott as the lone forward, Donaghadee’s midfield of Lisa Higgins, Helen Hooks and Natalie Jamieson did their best to feed forward as quickly as they could. Their harrying and hassling high up the pitch so nearly provided an early opening for the Dee; Carolyn shooting just wide as the chance went unconverted.
Donaghadee were working well as a unit: Amy Long, Floss and Sarah Hooks kept the gap closed between defence and midfield, with Paige Reilly sweeping in behind to marshall those in front of her, making it very hard for Derg Valley to find their way through to Siobhan McAdam in the Donaghadee goal.
It took a lucky break down the Dee’s right for Derg to penetrate and despite an initial save from Siobhan – hitherto mostly a spectator – the second shot was put away to give the home side a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
It was a story that was mirrored in the second quarter: so much positive, go forward play from Donaghadee that just needed additional bodies in the last 25 to finish the moves, but cancelled out by a second Derg goal just before the half time whistle.
Undeterred Donaghadee kept to their game plan and shortly after the turnaround a superb crash ball from Sarah on the left found Carolyn with her back to goal at the top of the circle. A quick pivot gave her the space to get the shot away and the keeper had no chance: 2-1. Mon the Dee!
In the early stages of the second half Donaghadee kept Derg Valley pinned in their own half, and several well taken penalty corners were swept gratefully wide by the home defence as Donaghadee pressed for the equaliser.
With Lisa covering seemingly acres of ground acting as a midfield-come-winger on the left, and Natalie providing cover on the right, there was no obvious way through for Derg, but a lucky break saw a home forward through on goal, only for Siobhan to pull off a superb sliding save to clear the danger.
With Donaghadee legs understandably tiring as the final quarter got underway, Derg found themselves with another break and despite Siobhan getting the tip of her outstretched stick to the ball, it snuck inside the post to give Derg a 3-1 advantage.
Donaghadee continued their efforts to keep pressing high up the pitch but with gaps inevitably appearing, the home side put the icing on their cake with a very late fourth and final goal. Final score 4-1 to Derg Valley, with thanks to them for providing two umpires for the match, and for excellent post-match refreshments.
The 1XI look forward to Saturday when they take on NICS 2XI at home in the Intermediate Plate. Pass back is at 1pm at Bangor Grammar and all support is most welcome.
Junior 9: NICS 5XI 0-2 DLHC 2XI
Donaghadee 2XI were back in action in the new year against NICS 5XI away to Civil Service last Saturday.
From passback, Donaghadee showed no signs of post-Christmas rustiness as they attacked straight from the first whistle through some great linking play between the midfield and forward line, with Katie McKee using her speed brilliantly on the right hand side to put pressure on the NICS defensive line.
NICS then tried their luck in an attacking move of their own but defenders Jemma Thompson and Finlay Mitchell were quick to keep them out.
Some lovely passing in between Vicky O’Neill and Erin Hamilton in the centre created a through ball into the NICS circle which allowed Katie to take a shot to give Donaghadee a very welcome goal.
At half time the Dee were 1-0 up but it certainly wasn’t over yet. NICS tried their luck in several attacking positions but Donaghadee keeper Janice McVeigh was on hand to keep them out, with Georgia Ferguson and Mia Park out wide to feed the ball through to the attackers.
Some beautiful interlinking play in the 3rd quarter from Molly McKee and Carmen van der Schyff lead to a shot on goal which was deflected into the back of the net by the opposition to give the Dee a 2-0 cushion.
In the final quarter the Dee still had plenty of energy left and some beautiful ball skill from Vicky allowed the red and green to break through the NICS back line once again, where Katie was able to get away her shot but it passed the post just agonisingly wide.
Thanks to Civil for providing an umpire. The 2XI are next in action this Saturday when they play Bangor 3XI at BGS, pass back 2.30pm.