Apr 18, 2012
Bangor Ladies v. Lisburn Ladies
Summer of football underway as Bangor are unlucky in opener
Bangor Ladies, the ladies section at Bangor Football Club, kicked off their 2012 Northern Ireland Women’s summer of football at Clandeboye Park last Tuesday (17th) evening against newly promoted and unbeaten, division three champions Lisburn Ladies.
Despite the heavy showers which had fallen earlier in the day and the gloomy forecast for the evening, the Seasiders, lined up on a dry but very bitter evening with Rosemary McNeilly starting in goals; a defensive unit of Alanah Burns, Lisa Gilmore, Leanne McGarry and Jenny Boyd; with Sophie Ferris, Mollie Moore, Rebecca Adams and Christine Duncan behind a strike partnership of Natasha Lee and Jessica Beers; substitutes were Kellie Gillies, Dawn Clarke and Janice Urwin.
Although usually favouring a 4-4-2 line up, Bangor manager Andy Craig keen not to concede early on, sacrificed the talented Moore in midfield, opting instead to drop the teenager into a sweeper role behind the back four.
While the visitors had a numerical advantage in the middle of the park, Adams working extremely hard, never allowed them to get into any rhythm right from the start, and with the home side settling early, the first 15 minutes of the contest were fairly even, Lee though carving out the best opportunity for the Seasiders.
With Moore tucked in behind the back four providing the insurance for the long ball played over the top, and more importantly some protection for the newly signed keeper McNeilly, playing in her first senior game for the Sammy Mellon and Sons sponsored ladies, Bangor continued their impressive start.
However, despite Bangor twice almost opening the scoring, it was Lisburn who broke the deadlock, a quickly taken corner swung in caught Bangor cold and McNeilly could do nothing as a Lisburn striker rose to head the ball past her and into the right hand corner.
Although the Seasiders found themselves behind, they were certainly making a game of it with Beers and Lee lively and on both flanks Ferris and Duncan looking to get at the Lisburn defence. Again Lee’s pace got her away but unfortunately the striker dragged the effort just wide of the upright.
The game changed dramatically however, with the seemingly inexplicable award of a penalty kick on 18 minutes, as Moore was adjudged to have tangled with a visiting forward in the box, when the visiting striker had in fact, gone over on her ankle unchallenged. McNeilly did get her left hand to the resultant spot kick, as Lisburn gladly accepted the decision and doubled their advantage.
Sophie Ferris, scores for the second league game in a row for Bangor Ladies
More adversity shortly before half time, with the clubs leading goalscorer last season Lee pulling up with a muscle injury, however with just minutes left before the break, the decision was not to make the change until after the half time interval.
Right on the half time whistle Bangor were to get right back into this one, a free kick hit diagonally by McGarry from just inside the Lisburn half, found right sided midfielder Ferris at the back stick and the youngster calmly swept it in to make it 2-1 at the break.
Despite clearly still struggling, Lee was left up front with Beers and again the Seasiders started the half well, although for the first 15 minutes just could not provide enough quality on the final pass, if they had, the Seasiders may well have nudged ahead during this spell.
With Lee seemingly able to run the injury off, Urwin replaced Boyd at left back as Bangor continued to dominate at this point. Not to be out done though, Lisburn, clearly a relatively good team, showed just why they remained unbeaten last season, weathering the early storm and in fact restoring their two goal advantage, again from a corner, which was disappointing.
Striker Natasha Lee, injured at the end of the first half
More controversy, just after the hour, with Bangor pinning Lisburn back in their own half, teenager Ferris broke down the right and having cut inside, slipped in Beers, who despite some attention, managed to break free and swept the ball into the net to cut the deficit and put Bangor right back in the contest.
However, the referee adjudged that there had been a foul in the lead-up to the goal and despite having not blown for the alleged infringement, disregarded the strike and instead, awarded the Seasiders a free kick on the edge of the box.
To the credit, Bangor having been arguably on the wrong side of two pivotal decisions, continued to play with belief and of the two sides, looked the better organised and had the final ball from midfield been played with just a little less pace, the home side could quite easily got right back into this one.
Despite conceding another soft goal, the Seasiders were certainly making a game of it going into the final fifteen. Lee withdrawn for Clarke, the Seasiders opted to go back to a more traditional line-up, Moore now pushed up to join Beers in the attack.
Yet another break for the visitors as the industrious Moore drove a late free kick into the box, which was clearly handled by a defender, but went unpunished. The final action of an entertaining fixture again involved Moore, played through by Adams, the Donaghadee schoolgirl denied by a fine save.
Although clearly disappointed with a few of the decisions manager Andy Craig was again upbeat: “I think this was a better night for Bangor ladies than it was for the visitors, we showed what we are capable of and despite the decisions not going in our favour, the team kept to the game plan and deserves to have got something from this one.
“McNeilly in goals did well in very difficult circumstances and I believe, will only improve as she profits from getting a few more games behind her. Her handling and distribution were good and will prove over the course of the season, to be a tremendous asset at the club.
“I can’t fault any one in the side for effort, Lee despite carrying an injury was always a handful, Beers also continues to improve, while Adams isolated in midfield, is another new signing and I can already see an improvement in both her fitness and timing since joining us just a few weeks ago. McGarry remains key in the defence, who along with the reliable Gilmore, Burns and Boyd who were all excellent.
“Goalscorer Ferris is just one of the young players I have at Clandeboye, and I believe Sophie has the potential to go on and represent Northern Ireland at senior level. But on the night, Mollie Moore was the star in this one, her decision-making was excellent and although still a teenager, she marshalled and organised the defensive unit with consummate ease.
“Her reading of the game was top class, and when pushed up front late on, showed her versatility, which was almost rewarded with a goal, that on the night she undoubtedly deserved.
“However, in this one, the decisions all went against us and although it was a positive and good all-round team performance, regrettably we have nothing to show for it. Lisburn rode their luck, took what came their way, remain unbeaten and left with the three points.
“There is nothing we can do about that now, but we can do something about it next Tuesday (24th) evening when we travel to Omagh to face Cappagh Spurs in our second league fixture. If we go into that one with the same work ethic and show the same character then we will hopefully get some points on the board.”
Other news is that the Seasiders have been awarded a bye into the second round of the Coca Cola Women’s F.A.Cup, which was drawn last Tuesday (17th) evening at Moyola Park Football Club. The second round ties will be played in mid May.
The club are also delighted to announce yet another important signing for the 2012 season. Former Ards Raider and ex-Glentoran midfielder Vicky Hutton joined the Seasiders on Tuesday night and will be eligible to start, once her Registration Form has cleared the IFA. Clandeboye Park will again close shortly for important maintenance to be carried out at the local ground. This will again see the ladies section switch to the Bloomfield Road pitches for a number of their home games, although the club would hope to be back at Clandeboye before the end of the season.
Lisa Gilmore puts in another solid defensive performance
If you are interested in playing ladies football this summer at Clandeboye Park, are over 14 years of age, you can simply turn up for training any Sunday afternoon 1.40 p.m. – 3.45 p.m. at Clandeboye. Training will continue this Sunday (22nd) and all players new, old, experienced or completely new to the sport, will be very welcome, whether wishing to train for fitness or just for fun. More details are available by contacting the manager Andy Craig at 0773 2277854.
Bangor Ladies lose league opener at Clandeboye
PLAYER OF THE GAME, APRIL 24th
Last Edited by on Apr 25, 2012 12:39 PM