THE past two Saturdays have seen another two wins for the Academy’s First XI Girls’ hockey team.
Larne Grammar were first to fall, suffering a 3-2 defeat from the girls. However, despite the win, the performance was somewhat lacking.
After an early three goals from Lucy McKee, from a corner and two open play strikes, the girls then sat back and allowed the Larne team to come back into the match.
The second half saw pressure from Larne, resulting in two goals, from bad defending all over the pitch. Goalkeeper Sarah McCabe played well, the two goals which beat her being rather unstoppable.
With the match ending 3-2 the win was secured and the victory safe, nevertheless the performance was far from desirable and one which needed to improve in order to beat better teams in the forthcoming weeks.
Portadown College then awaited the girls on Saturday October 6, a better outfit and what was to be a much better match. After a good practice on Thursday, the girls were determined to turn the sombre victory over Larne into a well deserved and high quality performance against Portadown.
However the girls started slowly and within the first five minutes found themselves 1-0 down due to sloppy play.
A quick turn around then followed, with excellent play from Emma Cartmill down the left who threaded the ball through to Lucy, who won a penalty corner as the result. The score was then levelled, the girls calmed, and the hockey now ready to begin.
After good defensive transfers from the back four of Joanna Palnoch, Zoe Jameson, Megan McKenna and Emily Johns, who is now back from injury, the girls were able to build up good passages of play and put pressure on the Portadown defence.
There was a great battle in midfield between Abi Thompson and Portadown’s Ulster player Penny Joyce, however Abi’s relentless work rate and constant harrying saw her coming out on top. Abi took a quick free, slotting the ball through to Lucy who beat a few players before finishing in the net to put the girls 2-1 ahead.
Still in the first half the goals continued to come. After Lucy picked the ball up in midfield and hit Amy Gray, Amy finished magnificently low and hard in the bottom corner from a top of the circle strike.
The last goal of the match was to come at the end of the first half when Orla Magee, also back from injury, secured the ball in midfield, laying Lucy off to win a short corner.
With Emma Quinn, usual stick stopper on the bench with injury, it was a quick stop and strike from the top by Lucy which gave the girls a 4-1 lead and then there was no coming back for Portadown.
Despite the second half seeing no goals, good midfield transfers and forward chances were created with Emma Nelson and Katie McKee unlucky not to grab themselves a goal.
Chelsea Holden also enjoyed a fine game and was unlucky not to find the back of the net.