LURGAN 2 LISNAGARVEY 0
LURGAN continued on their winning ways with this comprehensive victory over bottom club Lisnagarvey at the Junior High School on Saturday.
The scoreline does not truly reflect the dominance Lurgan enjoyed in this match as Garvey rarely got out of their own half and Lurgan keeper Victoria Parks did not have one meaningful save to make in the entire match.
They did however defend bravely, riding their luck at times, and their keeper pulled off some exceptional saves to keep the score at a respectable margin.
Lurgan went on the offensive from the first whistle and their moving and passing was of the highest quality, putting Garvey on the defensive and pinning them in their own half.
A penalty corner win by Carly Johnston on seven minutes was scrambled clear by the visitors defence and on 11 minutes a Sarah McClure shot flashed just wide of an upright.
Lurgan continued to pile on the pressure and five minutes later a volley of shots rained in on the Garvey goal, initially from a Charlene Hull strike at another penalty corner and then another from the same player as the ball rebounded. However the keeper pulled off two great stops and three others were blocked and eventually cleared.
The Lurgan midfield were completely in control of the match and although the visitors held on for another ten minutes they eventually succumbed to the inevitable.
Natalie Barr picked up the ball just inside the Garvey half and went on a great solo run before picking out centre-forward Joanne Wilson at the far post and she fired an unstoppable shot past the despairing keeper to give Lurgan the lead.
Great interplay between Natalie Barr and the overlapping full-back Louise Murray almost created a clear shooting opportunity for Penny Joyce but a defensive stick just intervened in the nick of time. A fortunate Lisnagarvey left the pitch at half time trailing by only one goal.
Lurgan continued the offensive in the second half and two penalty corners scrambled clear in the first ten minutes by the visitors served warning that they were in for a busy afternoon.
Lurgan got their just reward and their second goal on fifteen minutes from a beautiful piece of play. Carly Johnston robbed a Garvey player as they tried to break upfield and after a driving run through the middle fed the ball to Bethany Barr in centre-circle. Bethany, who has been in superb form recently, controlled the ball beautifully, turned to wrong-foot the keeper, and scored with a lovely reverse-stick shot.
It was now a matter of containment for the visitors who packed their defence in the hope of preventing this game turning into a rout. By luck, good defending, good goalkeeping and sheer doggedness they succeeded in doing this, fending away two more penalty corners and breaking down numerous Lurgan attacks.
The margin of victory certainly flatters the visitors who could have left the pitch very embarrassed by a much greater deficit but credit to them for sticking in there and battling till the end.
This win lifts Lurgan to second in the Premier League with only Pegasus above them and means they have won eight, drawn one and lost only two of their eleven league games so far.