Super comeback sealed by Zoe

Lurgan's Zoe Hawthorne. INLM44-711.
Lurgan's Zoe Hawthorne. INLM44-711.

Armagh 2 Lurgan Ladies 3

Despite defeating their opponents 6-0 last week Lurgan had their work cut out to survive this Irish Senior Cup tie at the weekend.

Lurgan fell behind to a bizarre goal on 16 minutes when keeper Naomi Costley allowed an Armagh deflection in the circle to run under her foot.

Five minutes later she made amends with a superb save as Armagh looked to add to their lead.

Lurgan had lost their shape completely and looked like conceding almost every time the home side came forward.

Lurgan weathered the storm for the next 15 minutes but Armagh added a second five minutes before the break. Lurgan failed to deal with a ball into the circle and the Armagh forward set up an inrushing striker who gave Costley no chance with a fine finish.

Coach Gary Blythe’s team talk must have been inspirational because it was a different, determined Lurgan side in the second period.

Within the first nine minutes they had won two penalty corners, the second of which Armagh had to clear off their line after a well worked move almost paid dividends. Wing backs Kerri Burns and Alex Hurst were making more attacking runs down the flanks and midfielders Sarah McClure, Carly Johnston and Emma Lindsay were beginning to string a few passes together and get to grips with the game and the conditions as some players had struggled to maintain their footing in the first half.

Pippa Best and Chloe McCann were beginning to worry the Armagh defence with some determined challenges and runs giving optimism for a Lurgan comeback and hopes improved on 51 minutes when Zoe Hawthorne broke clear and finished in style.

Armagh were now rattled and further Lurgan pressure led to an equaliser on 57 minutes. Emma Lindsay and Jayne Clarke linked up well to provide Zoe with a shooting chance from a right angle and she duly applied the finishing touch.

With one minute to go Lurgan snatched the winning goal after captain Charlene Hull drilled the ball upfield from deep in her own half, the ball clipped off a defender to Hawthorne who ran into the circle, dummied the keeper before planting the ball in the net to seal a great comeback and seal her hat-trick.

Lurgan’s reward is a place in the last eight away to Ulster Elks on February 1.