By Davy Frazer
The ladies 1stXI made the short journey to Stormont on Saturday hoping for three points to keep the pressure on Ballymena who had jumped above them in the league into third position, the position Coach Frazer says is the aim for the season. With no umpires being supplied by the Ulster Branch, and none to be found in our club, Civil Service provided both and they were a credit to their club. Many thanks again to them.
The match was a hard fought one with many crunching tackles; not one for the feint hearted. The ladies were exceptionally well disciplined throughout, and this will hopefully continue for the remaining fixtures.
The first chance of the match fell to Amy Benson, who having collected the ball on the halfway line, beat her marker with a well executed skill, surged forward to the top of the circle, and when all around her expected her to shoot, decided to play a pass to Andrea Mockford,,which unfortunately went wide of the player and safely out of play for a defensive hit-out. Against the run of play Service were awarded a penalty corner. With the defence team expecting a push to the top of the circle, the ball went to the player on the left and she had all the time to pick her spot just wide of keeper Da Costa. A couple more chances fell to Amy Benson and Bex Mitchell before Andrea Mockford had a shot which was hit sweetly but also hit a player and was deemed dangerous.
With a change of formation at half time, changing to a 3-4-3 system, the ladies enjoyed the lion share of possession and got the goal their efforts deserved. Rebecca Mercer produced a mature performance when given the task of man marking Services’s danger player and this freed up Laura Clarke to a more advanced role. The equaliser came from a marauding run from Selina Lewis, who playing at left back found herself in the right wing position from which she hit a hard low cross into the circle. The ball deflected off a Service stick into the goal, and as of this season OGs count, so that made it 1-1. The game finished with North Down still not the attack looking for the winner. A couple of penalty corners were won, the first breaking down and the second a shot being saved by the home keeper, who was having the game of her life! All in all a draw was a fair result, and with news that Ballymena had drawn with our next opponents Ballyclare, the ladies remain two points behind them but with a game in hand, which is this Wednesday in Comber at 7.15.
Player of the Match: Rebecca Mercer