Inspired keeper denies Lurgan in top of table clash

Lurgan Ladies on the ball against Belfast Harlequins. INLM48-216.
Lurgan Ladies on the ball against Belfast Harlequins. INLM48-216.

Lurgan 0

Belfast Harlequins 0

Lurgan fought out this top of the table clash with Belfast Harlequins at the Junior High School on Friday night in horrific conditions.

Strong winds, driving rain paired with sleet persisted for most of the match. Despite this, the both teams served up an entertaining match with lots of exciting hockey and competitive challenges but unfortunately no goals which was all that was missing.

Lurgan almost scored from an early penalty corner. Their shot from a second minute effort was saved by the keeper but not properly and when the ball broke to Sarah McClure she hit a great shot on the reverse only to see it cannon off a post and behind to safety. Play swung from end to end with Lurgan enjoying the majority of possession but Quins looking very dangerous on the break. Lurgan managed another penalty corner award with 5 minutes to go to half time but returns in this department have been disappointing and this was no exception.

The second half began with Lurgan again on the attack and an early strike by Sarah McClure after a great run was well saved by the Quins keeper.

Quins won their first penalty in the 42nd minute and almost made it pay but Susie Taylor in the Lurgan goal stuck out a strong hand to deflect the ball on to her crossbar to prevent a certain goal. Carly Johnston earned Lurgan another penalty corner in the 45th minute but a reverse strike from a rebound from the keeper by McClure was deflected round the post as the keeper reacted brilliantly to prevent a Lurgan goal. Lurgan’s failure to take advantage of any penalty corner awards was again highlighted when they couldn’t capitalise on two more opportunities in the 54th and 61st minutes.

Harlequins almost made them pay in the 65th minute when a quick opened up the home defence but Emma Quinn brilliantly swept a goal bound shot off the line to prevent her side from going behind.

With only two minutes to go another Lurgan penalty corner failed to trouble the keeper and the match finished with neither side troubling the scoresheet. This result leaves Lurgan still on the same points as Harlequins but below them only on goal-difference.

However, Lurgan still have a game in hand on the leaders which could prove vital in this year’s title chase.