Ladies suffer third defeat in a row


AFTER having made such an impressive start to the season, Lurgan Ladies crashed to their third defeat in a row with this reversal to Queens at the Dub on Saturday.

At this level you cannot afford to squander any chances and Lurgan were left to rue missing a couple of decent early opportunities which would have put them in a strong position.

Instead it was the students who struck first when their winger capitalised on a wayward pass down the Lurgan left, ran into the circle and a pull back from the byline was rifled home by their centre-forward. Worse was to follow five minutes later when a mix-up in the Lurgan defence between keeper and defender allowed the Queens forward to race through and plant the ball into an empty net. Twenty five minutes on the clock and Lurgan were looking at a mountain to climb. Three minutes later and Lurgan reduced the arrears when Sarah McClure swept home at the post from a penalty corner having been picked out by Hannah Grieve with an accurate strike. This goal lifted Lurgan an they pressed forward in numbers in search of an equaliser before the break. Queens survived until half-time as a Lurgan strike from a 32nd minute penalty corner went just wide of a post.

Lurgan began the second half with purpose and were rewarded with a deserved equaliser with only five minutes gone. Zoe Hawthorne picked up a lovely through pass from Carly Johnston, out-stripped the Queens defence and slotted the ball past the advancing keeper. Play was end to end as both teams went in search of a winner. It could hardly be described as a classic encounter as neither side were on their ‘A’ game but the fact that both sides were making mistakes succeeded in gifting the other opportunities. Neither team seemed capable of taking them however but Lurgan did look the more likely to break the deadlock.

On 25 minutes they took their opportunity when Sarah McClure played a lovely little through ball to Lucy McKee on the edge of the circle and Lurgan’s top scorer jinked her way past two defenders before firing a vicious shot past the keeper to put Lurgan in front.

At this stage it looked like job done as Lurgan were in control, but in a frenetic final five minutes they lost their shape and the lead. Lurgan have an unnerving habit of dropping deep when seemingly in control and tactics like this only served for Queens to camp themselves in the Lurgan half piling pressure on a defence with no obvious out ball. A penalty corner award for Queens with five minutes to go was rifled in to the corner of the net to tie up the scores at three all. With two minutes remaining on the clock Queens scored what was to prove the winner when a defensive clearance was picked up by the centre forward and she raced into the circle and fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of the Lurgan net via the junction of the post and the crossbar.

A superb goal fit to win any match but what a disappointment for Lurgan who had come back so well only to see the win so cruelly snatched away from them. Nevertheless, despite this defeat Lurgan are still in third position in the league but they need to learn how to kill off opponents when they get themselves in a winning position.