Resounding win secures second spot

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LURGAN recorded a comfortable victory over bottom club Victorians at the Junior High last Saturday.

Despite the convincing scoreline it was not all as plain sailing as this might suggest with Victorians putting up stern resistance to a Lurgan side short of a few first team regulars.

Given the teams respective league positions and the fact Lurgan had handed out a drubbing to Victorians on their home turf earlier in the season, it was not surprising the home side dominated early possession being camped outside the visitors circle for most of the first period. A first Lurgan penalty corner on eight minutes was well defended by the Victorian’s defence but they rode their luck with a second one two minutes later. A Charlene Hull strike was initially blocked but when the ball rebounded to her she hit a fierce shot on the volley only to see it crash of an upright and fly to safety.

Another strike from an 18th minute penalty corner from the same player cannoned off the same post and Lurgan shook their heads in disbelief as Victorians basked in their good fortune. Undaunted , Lurgan kept up the pressure and with 30 minutes on the clock they finally opened up a resolute Victorian’s defence. Lucy McKee picked up the ball on the halfway line and went on a jinking run before picking out Bethany Barr at the top of the circle. Bethany steered a precise pass to Jo-Anne Wilson on the penalty spot and she slipped the ball beautifully past the advancing keeper and into the corner of the net to put her side in front.

Lurgan forced two more penalty corners before half time and Lucy McKee converted the second one with a lovely drag-flick to increase Lurgan’s advantage.

The second half was only two minutes old when Lucy McKee scored her second and Lurgan’s third when slotting home from a tight angle after a great run along the back-line. Three minutes later and Lurgan added a fourth after good approach play by Lucy McKee and Shelley Sloan set up Jo-Anne Wilson for her second of the match. Victorians were lucky to weather a quick succession of penalty corners when the final one saw another McKee drag-flick thump off the crossbar.

After this flurry of activity the match went quiet for a period with Lurgan allowing Victorians to come into the match more and they were almost made to pay for their complacency. Keeper Naomi Costley kept the Lurgan lead intact with a couple of good stops with her feet and two minutes later a Victorians forward shot wide when it looked easier to score

On 28 minutes Lurgan scored their final goal when Julie Morrow registered her first Premier League goal with a smart finish from a ball played across the circle. It might have been her first but the composure she showed when taking it certainly suggests it wont be her last. A penalty corner award for Lurgan right on the whistle came to nothing but the three points Lurgan picked up on this victory lifts them to second place in the Premier League and guarantees a good crowd next week when Lurgan entertain near neighbours Portadown in what should be a keenly contested local derby.