Ladies left scratching their heads at defeat

HOW do you turn back time?

That was the question that management, team members and supporters of Banbridge Ladies were asking themselves as the referee blew full time at Cheney Park on Thursday evening.

The home side played their second League match of the season against the visitors from the ferry port of Larne. After surviving some early scares, including a penalty claim, the home team were awarded a free midway into the oppositions half on 15 minutes. Encouraged by the coaching team to hit the target”, Aisling Cull stepped up to take the free. Cull fully accepted the challenge and after clearing a wall of three hit the back of the net in a Ronaldo like fashion.

This, however, seemed to encourage the visitors who were quick to respond five minutes after going behind. Their number 8, Gill Small a full NI Ladies capped player, made a great solo run from the right wing into the box and shot well to beat the Banbridge keeper at her near post. 

The next 10 minutes saw Larne really raise their game and go into cruise control.  Two further goals followed for Larne in quick succession this time coming from Lambe and  NI capped Horner.

Banbridge were now under severe pressure but some excellent defending especially from McMullan, Ervine, Hopkins and the cross bar saw the teams leave the field at half time 1-3. On the resumption of the game Banbridge came out of the blocks very quickly and got at the Larne defence.  Cull again came close from a well delivered corner and rose to head well, but just over the bar. Tina Brush also was now causing the Larne defence problem and saw her effort come close also.  Strong penalty claims were rejected when Redpath was brought down in the box on 50 minutes. 

New signing Wendy Moorhead was introduced for Ervine and showed some classy skills in her midfield roll. 

If Larne had thought they were safely home in port Banbridge by now were certainly stirring up a storm. 

It was 20 minutes into the second half before they had an effort for themselves on the Banbridge goal.  Spence was particularly enjoying her game and continues to grow in stature alongside Lennon in their midfield roles.

The introduction of Loughlin at 70 minutes continued to cause trouble for what was by now a reorganised Larne defence.   With 10 minutes remaining Loughlin squared the ball to Jackson whose shot beat the best effort of the Larne keeper to leave the difference at one goal. 

The final 10 minutes saw Banbridge now in full flow and belief that the minimum they would accept was one point from this game.  Larne though were quick to seize an opportunity and broke quickly only to hit the woodwork for the second time in the match and were unable to follow up the rebound. 

In the dying minutes of the match Banbridge were again awarded a free in a similar position of that of their first goal but this time the keeper rose well to claim Cull’s effort from just under her bar. 

The equaliser was just not to be and the final score was 2-3.

Team:   McCrum,  Ervine, Hopkins, McMullan, Cull, Brush, Spence, Jackson, Lennon, Redpath, Taylor. Subs: Lennon (45 minutes), Loughlin (70 minutes), Moorhead (60 minutes), McCrea, Orr.