ARMAGH 2 LURGAN 6
LURGAN Ladies kept their league hopes alive with this sparkling display at Armagh last Saturday.
It was a superb team effort but forward Zoe Hawthorne should be particularly pleased with her performance bagging four goals thanks to some lethal finishing.
Lurgan opened the scoring as early as the second minute. Lucy McKee robbed an Armagh defender and then played a lovely one two with Sarah McClure before sliding the ball through to Zoe deep inside the circle. Zoe turned beautifully and fired her shot just inside the far post to put her side in front.
Her second goal four minutes later was all due to the persistence and determined running of Jo-Anne Wilson who shrugged off three challenges before squaring the ball to Zoe who finished confidently. On 10 minutes Lurgan added a third and again it was due to the strong running of Jo-Anne Wilson who raced along the Armagh bye-line before pulling the ball back to the waiting Lucy McKee who fired in to the roof of the Armagh net.
Only ten minutes gone and Armagh looked shell-shocked to be three nil down and finding it difficult to get out of their own half such was the grip Lurgan had on the match. On 21 minutes they did manage a break into the Lurgan circle but when the shot came it was brilliantly saved by Lurgan keeper Vicky Parks who had been a virtual spectator up until this point. Zoe Hawthorne nearly added a fourth on 30 minutes but her shot went wide after excellent approach play by Shelley Sloan had created the opportunity.
The half was only two minutes old when great link-up play between Lucy, Sarah and Zoe saw the latter’s shot well saved by the Armagh keeper. On 10 minutes Lurgan added a fourth when Sarah McClure and Lucy McKee linked up to create space for Shelley Sloan to turn and shoot home from a tight angle. Stung into response Armagh went on the attack and on 12 minutes they reduced the deficit with a well worked move from a penalty corner.
Armagh were looking dangerous on the break and only a great save from Vicky Parks at a 20th minute penalty corner prevented them reducing the deficit even further. Lurgan again took the game by the scruff of the neck and added a fifth when Zoe Hawthorne slotted home at the near post in the 21st minute after Jo-Anne Wilson and Shelley Sloan had opened up the Armagh defence.
Armagh were not finished just yet and scored a second goal with five minutes to go after Lurgan failed to clear their lines at a penalty corner.
Lurgan restored their four goal lead when Shelley and Jo-Anne again linked up to create the opportunity for Zoe to bag her fourth and Lurgan’s sixth of the match. A terrific team display with some fine individual performances which virtually secures a top 4 place and with it IHL qualification next year but given the situation at the top of this league at present, Lurgan might just have their sights on the title itself.