Lurgan 1 Queens 2
Lurgan saved their worst performance of the season for their most important match so far as they fell to a disappointing defeat to Queens in the Denman Ulster Shield semi- final at Stormont on Sunday.
It could have been oh so different as they almost took the lead inside 30 seconds. Right from the pass back Sarah McClure went on one of her trademark runs that carved open the Queens team and took her deep into their circle.
Unfortunately for Lurgan her high reverse stick shot flew just wide of a Queens upright. But this for Lurgan was as good as it got as they never really troubled the Queens keeper for the rest of the half and indeed they never got a shot on target from open play for the rest of the match.
The warning signs were there for Lurgan when Susie Taylor was asked to make a good stop from Queens’s first penalty corner award in the fourth minute. They made no mistake three minutes later when their centre forward turned and fired an unstoppable shot past Susie Taylor after having been given too much time from their next award.
Lurgan looked all at sixes and sevens with no real shape to their team and cohesion to their play. Lurgan survived three more penalty corner awards against them in the 20th, 21st and 23rd minutes as Queens tightened the screw and took a firm grip on the match. They pinned Lurgan in their own half for long periods as Lurgan struggled to string any moves together from the limited possession they won.
However, Lurgan almost snatched an unlikely equaliser from a Kathryn Edgar drag flick at their only penalty corner of the half but the goal bound effort flicked off a Queens’s stick and over the bar.
Lurgan’s woes from penalty corners came to an end in the 40th minute when Emma Quinn forced the ball over the line after a bouncing ball caused mayhem in the Queens circle.
Queens upped the tempo after this and they failed to capitalize on two penalty corner awards for them in the 43rd and 46th minutes. Despite having got themselves back into the match Lurgan continued to struggle for possession and their passing game had deserted them.
Everything for Lurgan seemed to come down the flanks and Queens had the upper hand as they easily closed them down and applied pressure on the Lurgan back four. The pressure eventually paid off as a ball played across the Lurgan circle in the 67th minute evaded all Lurgan defenders and was knocked home at the far post by the in rushing Queens attacker.
With only three minutes to go Lurgan failed to conjure up an unlikely equaliser and Queens will meet Randalstown in the Boxing Day final.