Emphatic win keeps Lurgan on course

Lurgan's Clara Costley in action against Randalstown. INLM08-714.
Lurgan's Clara Costley in action against Randalstown. INLM08-714.
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LURGAN 4 RANDALSTOWN 0

LURGAN Ladies continued their run of good form with this convincing win over Randalstown at the Junior High School on Wednesday night.

Randalstown have been playing well this season with draws against both Pegasus and Ballymoney on their record so Lurgan were going to have to give them the utmost respect. Having said that Lurgan are in a rich vein of form at the moment and as recent results have shown they fear no-one and are capable of beating anyone. Lurgan took the game to Randalstown from the first whistle but the visitors are a well organised side and repelled any early Lurgan attacks. They had their keeper to thank for maintaining the status quo when she rushed out to block a Jo-Anne Wilson shot on five minutes after Jo-Anne had skilfully robbed the Randalstown right-back who made the mistake of dwelling too long on the ball.

Lurgan continued the pressure and thought they had scored on 10 minutes when Charlene Hull hammered home a penalty corner only for the umpires to rule it out due to encroachment by a Lurgan player at the set-piece. Lurgan continued to press forward and dominate possession but could not find a way through a determined Randalstown defence. Exchanges were firm and sometimes fiesty as neither side would give way. Play swung from end to end with neither side creating a clear-cut chance.

With five minutes to go to half-time Lurgan broke the deadlock when forward Lucy McKee raced into the circle and pulled the ball back to raiding wing-back Serena Barr to fire home from close range. The visitors tried to respond but a tight Lurgan defence of Louise Murray, Charlene Hull, Hannah Grieve and Serena Barr prevented any serious threat on Vicky Parks’ goal.

Buoyed by their first half lead, Lurgan started confidently in the second period and Randalstown had to hold their nerve in defending a sixth minute Lurgan penalty corner. They did so but only just and the nerves were beginning to show. Lurgan pressed forward and on eight minutes they increased their advantage when Zoe Hawthorne fired home after some beautiful build up play involving Bethany Barr and Chloe McCann. Lurgan built on their superiority and driven forward by Carly Johnston, Shelley Sloan Penny Joyce and Sarah McClure they continued to dominate both possession and chances.

An 11th minute penalty corner for Lurgan was not properly cleared by the Randalstown defence and a second award was driven home by Charlene Hull to give Lurgan a comfortable 3-0 lead. With the game virtually sewn up Lurgan continued to play flowing and attacking hockey despite some robust challenges from an increasingly frustrated Randalstown defence. Charlene Hull added her second and her teams fourth goal from another strike from a penalty corner award on 28 minutes and the game as a contest was over.

Two more penalty corners for Lurgan were cleared by the Randalstown defence after good work by their keeper. Right on the final whistle Randalstown thought they were going to get a consolation goal but their initial shot was blocked and then cleared by the Lurgan defence. This win keeps Lurgan at the top of the Premier League with only six league matches remaining.