Plenty of positives despite defeat at Ards

Mandatory Credit: ROWLAND WHITE / PRESSEYE'Women's Hockey: Premier'Teams: Ards (orange) v Lurgan (black)'Venue: Ards LC'Date: 25th January 2014'Caption: Tamara Macleod, Ards and Carly Johnston, Lurgan
Mandatory Credit: ROWLAND WHITE / PRESSEYE'Women's Hockey: Premier'Teams: Ards (orange) v Lurgan (black)'Venue: Ards LC'Date: 25th January 2014'Caption: Tamara Macleod, Ards and Carly Johnston, Lurgan

Ards 3 Lurgan Ladies 0

Despite the scoreline Lurgan can take credit from the way they played against league leaders and potential champions Ards on Saturday.

Given that Lurgan were 2-0 down after seven minutes it was a tremendous achievement to restrict this slick passing free scoring side to one further goal in the next 63 minutes.

Lurgan were unlucky not to score in the first minute from the first attack of the match, but Ards responded by racing up to the far end of the pitch, getting in behind the Lurgan defence and planting the ball firmly in the net. Rattled by this setback Lurgan failed to settle and five minutes later they conceded again to another swift Ards break.

Credit to Lurgan they did not fold and battled hard to get into the match for the rest of the half.

Ards play fast flowing one touch hockey spreading the ball across the pitch with confidence but with sheer commitment and work rate Lurgan resisted their every attack and even managed to muster a few of their own.

Ards continued their flowing hockey in the second half and after 10 minutes they managed to break the Lurgan defence again with a clinical finish. Penalty corners for Ards on 47 and 50 minutes were well defended by Lurgan with Naomi Costley pulling off a good save from a drag flick on the second one.

Lurgan did manage to find a way through the Ards defence on 55 minutes but Jayne Clarke’s miss-hit strike failed to trouble the Ards keeper.

With five minutes to go Ards were awarded another penalty corner but the Lurgan defence stood firm and cleared the danger.

After the match manager Darwin Murray said Ards were an excellent team and that after conceding two early goals Lurgan were always chasing the game. A fair assessment but he must also be delighted with the determination and fighting spirit his side showed against the best team in the league.

Every player deserves great credit for the way they performed with Louise Murray Lurgan’s stand out player on the day.