Lurgan’s impressive league form continued with their victory 2-0 over neighbours Portadown in this local derby at the Junior High school on Saturday.
The home side dominated early exchanges and deservedly took the lead after 10 minutes. Sarah McClure, the most inventive player on the pitch in possession, fed Jo-Anne Wilson in the opponents circle.
She slipped the ball to Emily McStea and her strike from the narrowest of angles crashed off the post. Luckily for her it came straight back to her and she reacted instinctively to repeat the shot and this time she beat the keeper at her near post to put the home side in front.
Portadown tried to hit back and managed to force a couple of penalty corners but these were well defended by Lurgan.
The home side tried to impose themselves on the opposition and forced a penalty corner in the16th minute but the Portadown defence cleared the danger.
The match deteriorated into a series of scrappy encounters with little constructive hockey being played.
Too many players were guilty of holding onto the ball for too long until they ran out of ideas and were closed down by the visitors when the simple early ball was the much preferred option.
Lurgan did manage to force another penalty corner after 23 minutes but the resulting shot was blocked and cleared. With the weather deteriorating the first half did much the same and fizzled out like a damp squid.
Although the second half, for the most part was played in pretty nasty conditions, conversely the quality of hockey improved somewhat with Lurgan putting more intensity into their play and pegging Portadown deep in their own half.
They scored their second goal in the 43rd minute and again Sarah McClure was at the heart of the move. She played a couple of quick one twos on the edge of the Portadown circle and fed a beautiful pass to Jo-Anne Wilson in front of goal for the simplest of finishes.
Lurgan spent most of this half on the offensive but failed to capitalise on a couple of decent opportunities. Penalty corner routines also failed to come off as they couldn’t find a way through with awards on 53, 54 and 62 minute
A brilliant piece of defending prevented Kathryn Edgar from finding the net as her goal bound shot in the 66th minute was deflected wide of the net by a Portadown stick.
The final move of the match saw a Lurgan penalty corner award with everyone up smothered by the Portadown defence and cleared.
In a league chase that has the potential to go down to goal difference, Lurgan will be disappointed not to register more against the team that has conceded most goals this season, but in a weekend in which the current league leaders were defeated, they will be satisfied with the old adage, a win’s a win, and be more than happy with the three points on offer.