LURGAN 5 ARDS 2
LURGAN turned on the style with this five star performance as they thumped league leaders Ards at Lurgan Junior High School on Saturday.
Hero of the day was striker Joanne Wilson who scored all five of Lurgan’s goals in a scintillating display of clinical finishing.
No-one could have predicted this result at the start of the match as league leaders Ards went 1-0 up after just 10 minutes having had a goal disallowed in the opening minute for an infringement.
Lurgan showed glimpses of what was to come with a couple of good moves which looked promising but never resulted in the equaliser they sought.
As the game drifted towards half-time it suddenly dawned on the home team that if they moved the ball quicker and used their pace then they had the capacity open up the Ards defence.
A beautiful swift attack two minutes from the break provided Lurgan with the equaliser.
Sarah McClure, who had a superb game, won the ball in the Ards half, fed Zoe McNally inside the circle and she slid a perfect pass across the goal for the waiting Joanne Wilson to slam home.
This stung Ards into action and only good defending prevented them taking the lead again almost immediately from their fourth penalty corner right on the blow for half-time .
That goal before the break had really lifted the Lurgan spirits and they began the second half in style with quick passing,flowing hockey and intelligent running off the ball that had the Ards defence at sixes and sevens.
In the 40th minute a Charlene Hull strike from a penalty corner was well saved by the Ards keeper but the speed of Lurgan’s passing and running was ripping the Ards defence open and it seemed only a matter of time before they got their just rewards.
The home team took the lead in the 55th minute when the speed of Chloe McCann took her past the Ards full-back into the circle and her pass across the goal was smashed into the corner of the net with a superb shot on the reverse by Joanne Wilson.
Five minutes later Joanne completed her hat-trick with another reverse stick shot after brilliant play and unselfish passing by Sarah McClure.
Lurgan, when they pass and move like this, are practically unplayable and it came as no surprise when they added a fourth with ten minutes to go.
Again Joanne Wilson was the finisher but only after intelligent and unselfish approach play by Natalie Barr and Chloe McCann.
A rare defensive error allowed Ards to pull a goal back with a great strike from their most dangerous forward Chloe Brown.
Any hope Ards had of salvaging something from the game was snuffed out five minutes later when Joanne Wilson added her and Lurgan’s fifth finishing off another flowing move.
This was undoubtedly Lurgan’s best performance of the season and whilst it was certainly an individual triumph for striker Joanne Wilson, it was also a triunph for the team collectively.
They showed they had learned from their exploits in the Irish Hockey League and their workrate, intelligent off the ball running and unselfish passing had contributed in no small measure to this magnificent win.
This match was also the last for keeper Dawn Millar, who is off to Australia and has been tremendous by helping the club out in a difficult period.
Everyone at the club would like to thank her for all she has done and wish her every success for the future.