The ladies 1sts welcomed Lurgan to Comber on Saturday for their first game of 2016. North Down knew that this would be a tough task with Lurgan pushing Harlequins hard at the top of the Premier League table. However North Down could take positives from their close 2-1 defeat in Lurgan back in October, when the home side only managed to grab the winner in the final few minutes of the game. The visitors won the toss and took the ball setting an early pace and trying to force North Down onto the back foot. However when the Comber girls had possession Lurgan seemed content to sit back and invite pressure. It was actually from a North Down attack that the visitors opened the scored against the run of play. North Down were attacking when they lost possession just outside the attacking 25’. They had lost their players defensively and Lurgan counter attacked quickly interchanging between 4 players, charging through the middle of the pitch and creating a 2v1 against Trish Neill who had no chance in the North Down net. The home side came into the ascendency a lot more after going behind and the remainder of the half was a fairly even contest. North Down created a good chance to equalise but Olivia Brown’s effort was saved. As half time approached North Down won a short corner and Katharine Hill made no mistake slamming the ball into the bottom left hand corner taking her tally to 17 for the season. Half time 1-1
The second half began much like the first half had ended with plenty of cat and mouse between the two sides but nobody creating any clear cut chances in open. North Down began to tire a little in the second half and Lurgan re took the lead from a short corner. Rachel Mornin was judged to have broken the line and sent to the half way line. From the re taken corner ball was switched left back to the injector and she slapped the ball home. After this Lurgan were happy to sit back, protect their lead and attack on the counter. North Down poked and prodded but were not able to break the visitors down. On another day the Comber girls could have had a point but Saturday was not that day but they can take positives from the closeness of the two teams despite their difference in league position. They now travel to the Dub on Saturday to face a Queens side who will be looking to avenge a shock 3-1 defeat at Comber back in October.
Report by Laura Clarke.