No stopping leaders Lurgan as they crush Armagh

Zoe Hawthorne.
Zoe Hawthorne.

Armagh 1 Lurgan Ladies 5

Lurgan’s great run of early season form continued with this comprehensive win over Armagh in this Premier League fixture at Ardmore on Saturday.

Confidence within the team is high and they had Armagh on the back foot from the start. Their early pressure paid dividends as Emily McStea put them in front with a neat finish on five minutes after good approach play involving Carly Johnston and Sarah McClure.

Lurgan kept up the pressure and two minutes later added a second. A Charlene Hull strike at a penalty corner was not cleared and Kerrie Burns produced a lovely finish on the reverse when the ball broke to her in a crowded circle.

Despite these early setbacks, Armagh fought hard to get a foothold in the match and as the half progressed they began to enjoy better quality possession and began to ask some questions of the Lurgan defence. It was Lurgan however who had the next opportunity to add to their tally from a 15th minute penalty corner award after a superb solo run by Sarah McClure, but the strike was well saved by the Armagh keeper. For the rest of the half the visitors almost seemed to be going through the motions content with their two goal advantage and they were almost made to pay as Armagh worked an opening at the far post only to be denied by some quality defending by Charlene Hull.

With the second half only ten minutes old Lurgan grabbed an important third goal when Zoe Hawthorne latched onto a ball driven into the circle by Phoebe Preston and finished confidently at the near post. To their credit Armagh still tried to play constructive hockey and they were awarded in the 54th minute when Katie McKee finished off a great run with an angled shot into the corner to reduce the deficit. Undeterred Lurgan kept pushing forward and restored their three goal advantage two minutes later when Hull fired a lovely angled shot into the corner of the net. By this stage it was almost one way traffic and the home defence crumbled five minutes later.

Unable to clear their 25metre area a loose pass was picked up by Emily McStea who raced into the circle and slipped a lovely shot past the advancing keeper. Lurgan’s young players have shown up well in this impressive run of form and recent signing Amy Edwards put in an eye catching performance in defence with her excellent tackling and composed distribution.

This win keeps Lurgan top of the Premier league with a maximum haul of points from their four matches played. With no competitive matches scheduled for the next three weeks, the coach and manager will be anxious to get back in action.