Lurgan Ladies 3 Queens 1
Lurgan reversed the decision with their Ulster Shield semi-final conquerors Queens in no uncertain terms with this comprehensive victory in a Premier League match at the Junior High on Saturday.
Credit must go to the Lurgan coach who with a few tactical changes and a little tweak in personnel, neutralised the oppositions strengths and emphasised their own to help construct this victory.
In contrast to the first match where Lurgan were virtually on the back foot throughout, they took the game to Queens from the first whistle. They never allowed Queens to settle on the ball and broke quickly themselves when in possession shifting the ball quickly from defence to attack. It was from such a move in the 8th minute that they took the lead. Emma Quinn broke quickly from defence, found Jo-Anne Wilson with a great pass and she quickly switched the ball to Sarah McClure who fired a terrific shot past the Queens keeper to put the home side in front.
Stung into action Queens went on the offensive and won their first penalty corner four minutes later which was well defended by Lurgan. The home side went on the attack themselves and won their first penalty corner of the match five minutes later. In a well-rehearsed move, a slip left to Charlene Hull at the stop was fired past the Queens keeper to increase the Lurgan lead.
Play swung from end to end but Lurgan’s intensity and harrying were preventing Queen’s from building up any momentum. Their propensity to attack down the right was providing Phoebe Preston and Amy Edwards, who had switched to midfield, with plenty of challenges but they responded well.
With a 2-0 lead Lurgan looked comfortable at the beginning of the second half but still had to defend a 37th minute Queens penalty corner.
The home side still looked the more likely to add to their lead and in the 47th minute the Queens defence did well to defend a Kathryn Edgar drag flick at a Lurgan penalty corner.
The home side kept up the pressure and two minutes later they got their reward. From another penalty corner they worked a beautiful routine for Emma Quinn to deflect home at the left hand post.
With a comfortable three goal lead Lurgan could afford to relax, but not too much as Queens can be a very dangerous side given any encouragement.
They almost created a way back into the match on 52 minutes when they broke through the Lurgan defence but with a one on one with the keeper, Suzie Taylor in the Lurgan goal stood firm and made a tremendous block to preserve her sides three goal advantage. On the hour mark she again pulled off another two great stops from penalty corner awards but she had no chance with another fired into the roof of the net with just 5 minutes to go.
It was however too little too late as Lurgan ran out impressive winners and everyone who took to the pitch for Lurgan can be thoroughly proud of their performance.