Town battle back to get a draw after giving away an early goal


LURGAN were caught cold at the beginning of this match as the visitors scored within 20 seconds of the pass-back in their very first attack.

They swept up the pitch and a square pass across the circle was fired into the corner of the net before a Lurgan player could react.

Stung into response Lurgan bombed forward in search of an immediate equaliser but managed to squander two reasonable chances before they were awarded their first penalty corner on 10 minutes.

This was cleared by the Randalstown defence and then there was a break in proceedings as the umpires took both teams off the pitch due to the severity of the weather.

Happily the break was not too long as the skies cleared and the weather brightened up. Unfortunately the same could not be said of the hockey.

The one bright episode in the whole half came for Lurgan in the 15th minute when Sarah McClure, Lurgan’s best player on the day, slammed home a penalty corner move to give them the equaliser.

Lurgan were unlucky not to take the lead five minutes later when Bethany Barr, who had just come on to the pitch, hit the post with her very first touch after Joanne Wilson had played the ball across the circle.

Randalstown, on one of their rare excursions upfield, almost took the lead against the run of play when a ball fired into the circle was deflected off an attacker’s stick and crashed against the crossbar and away to safety.

Lurgan however continued to dominate possession but created few clear-cut chances and the half fizzled out without any further score.

Lurgan came out with more purpose in the second half and won two penalty corners in the opening two minutes. These were resolutely defended by the Randalstown backline who battled hard all afternoon.

Midway through the half Sandra Collen, the Lurgan left back, picked up the ball inside the Town circle and her strong shot looked to be heading to the top corner of the net until the Randalstown keeper stuck out a hand and deflected it round the post.

As in the first half Lurgan had the lion’s share of possession without looking really threatening. Just to illustrate Lurgan’s domination they had eight penalty corners in the match to Randalstown’s two.

But too many misplaced passes, too many balls lost in the challenge and too many good opportunities frittered away meant that Lurgan never really looked like they would score.

Randalstown looked like they were quite happy with their point and Lurgan just looked like they had run out of ideas.

In the end both teams had to settle for a point but Lurgan will be disappointed with their performance in a match that was there for the taking.

However this has been a marvellous season so far for Lurgan and they look certain to finish third at worst in the league which is a tremendous achievement.