Much better from Lurgan as they push leaders all the way

Lurgan 0 Ards 1

Lurgan welcomed league leaders Ards to the Junior High School on Saturday trying to put last week’s disappointing result at Lisnagarvey behind them.

They did this in emphatic fashion matching the champions elect in almost every department and taking them right to the wire.

Ards almost shocked the home side with a lightening attack in the first minute but their final ball into the circle bounced harmlessly wide of the Lurgan posts.

After this initial shock Lurgan got to grips with the game and Sarah McClure almost gave Lurgan the lead on 9 minutes when her final shot crashed off the post after a superb jinking run into the circle took her past three defenders.

Ards took the lead two minutes later with a deft deflection on a ball struck into the Lurgan circle which gave Naomi Costley in the Lurgan goal no chance.

Lurgan harried and hustled their Ards counterparts and were winning the battle in the middle of the park but the league leaders looked dangerous on the break and a lot of the Lurgan moves broke down on the edge of the circle.

Lurgan almost equalised on 25 minutes when Zoe Hawthorne broke away but her final shot went wide.

Play swung from end to end and Sarah McClure, who had a great match, won a penalty corner on the 30 minute mark but the resulting shot from Charlene Hull was well saved by the Ards keeper and cleared by her defence.

Just on the half-time whistle Naomi Costley blocked a strike from an Ards penalty corner and the ball was swept clear.

The second half continued much in the same vein as the first with Lurgan shading possession and creating some threatening opportunities but not being able to apply the finishing touch in the circle.

Ards relied on hitting Lurgan on the counter attack but the Lurgan defence stood firm and never really looked under too much threat.

A fortunate penalty corner for Ards presented them with their best chance to increase the lead but Costley made a tremendous save from the resultant drag flick.

Lurgan continued to search for an equaliser but their inability to punish teams in the final third was again exposed.

Forwards battled hard and made some incisive runs but the finals ball was missing. In the end a relieved Ards held out for the win and a vital three points. Lurgan can take encouragement from a battling performance and know that more of the same will be required to steer them clear of the relegation zone.

Lurgan Ladies thank ball sponsors Ian Milne and Sons funeral directors for their support.

Player of match award: Chloe McCann.