Atkinson nets as in-form Bann Ladies pick up a point

Banbridge Ladies Seconds in recent action against Randalstown. Edward Byrne Photography INBL1440-240EB
Banbridge Ladies Seconds in recent action against Randalstown. Edward Byrne Photography INBL1440-240EB

Banbridge Ladies first team hosted Ballyclare at Havelock Park on Saturday in an important league encounter.

Ballyclare started the brighter of the two, testing the Bann defence. However, solid defensive work from Jill Mehaffey, Megan McKenna and Alannah Magee kept the opposition at bay.

Bann started to apply some pressure themselves and after some great passing from Amy Atkinson and Rachel Cairns in the circle, the latter slipped Samantha Bann in, who saw her reverse stick effort just go wide of the post.

Moments later, Ballyclare won a penalty corner and despite a great save from Sarah McCabe, a penalty stroke was awarded for an infringement on the goal-line.

Ballyclare stepped up and made it 1-0. This stung Bann into a response, with good work from Magee resulting in Bann being awarded their first penalty corner of the game. The corner was well executed but Ballyclare ran a good defence, winning a free out.

Megan Whan was then involved in the build up to Bann winning yet another penalty corner, only for the Ballyclare defence to ensure the same outcome. The game became a bit end to end, with good defensive and attacking intent from both teams to see out the half.

Bann started the second half looking the better team. Sarah McCracken and Gail McConnell were distributing the ball well in the centre of the park, and breaking up potential Ballyclare attacks.

Elayne Brown and Alex Jenkinson were combining well on the right flank, wining their share of frees and penetrating the Ballyclare circle, while Charley Brush also provided support both going forward and defensively.

Bann thought they had drawn level when a ball into the circle from Magee was finished skilfully by Cathy Rees, only for the decision to be reversed. Yet Bann didn’t have to wait long to make it 1-1, as a swiftly executed penalty corner routine saw an Atkinson strike deflect off a Ballyclare stick and into the net.

The Bann defence continued to absorb any Ballyclare pressure, while the midfield and forward lines continued to bombard the Ballyclare circle. Another penalty corner was won, this time by Atkinson, who showed good skill to beat the Ballyclare defence.

A shot from Magee was deflected in by Samantha Bann, only for the goal to be disallowed due to a raised ball. With the game drawing to a close, Bann upped their game again.

Cairns won a penalty corner with less than two minutes on the clock but good defensive running from Ballyclare prevented a strike on goal. Despite a tireless team effort from Bann, the game finished 1-1.

The team would like to thank A,B & C Insurance for their continued support.