May 27, 2009
Bangor worked hard to remain unbeaten this season in the NIWFA
Bangor remain on top of divisional table
Bangor 1, 1st Bangor (Ards) 1
Seasiders come back from penalty to draw
The big Bangor/Newtownards "derby" ends in stalemate
Bangor Ladies, the ladies section of Bangor Football Club welcomed neighbouring Newtownards side 1st Bangor to Clandeboye Park on Tuesday (26th) evening in what had been billed in the local press, as a top of the table “derby” – both teams putting their NIWFA unbeaten records on the line in this one.
While it was true that if either of the two sides were to take all three points, they would be at the top of the table by the end of the evening, it is still too early in the season to be judged as a league championship decider, though still a game with all to play for, between the two rival ladies football clubs.
The Seasiders have started this year in great form – winning all four of their previous league games this season – scoring 23 goals in the process and conceding only two in return. Clandeboye Park has also played its part in the success of the local ladies club – the club two for two, having not conceded a goal at home since early April in a pre-season friendly against premiership club Loughgall Lakers at the Clandeboye Road arena.
Seasider Paula Dougherty stands firm against 1st Bangor at Clandeboye Road
Meanwhile their Londonderry Road visitor’s also boast an impressive unbeaten record in the 3rd Division, although dropped points away to Rossglass in week two of the divisional campaign, so only trailed the Seasiders by two points at the start of play.
So the stage was set on a fairly pleasant evening on the North Down coast – with a place at the top of the division the prize - it certainly was an enthralling game that was in prospect as the fixture got underway at 7.30 p.m.
With the Seasiders without Price, Ruddock, Dockery, McKibbin, Sharpe, McGarry and Duncan – manager Andy Craig was happy with the starting line up and the team has proved so far this season they was strength and depth in the squad to cover all areas in the side.
Squad: Bridget Finegan; Paula Dougherty, Christina McNamara (C), Rachel Bates, Trish Webb; Lauren McAteer, Petra Armstrong, Jenny Boyd, Carolyn Scott; Dee Savage, Natasha Lee. Subs: (used) Julie Graham and Christine Morrison.
The Seasiders didn’t start particularly well with the young Ards team the more lively in the opening exchanges. Some neat, good passing by the visitors exposed the Seasiders who were off the pace of the game.
The first real chance game in the game indeed fell for the visitors who could and should have gone ahead as early as the eighth minute when presented with a reasonable opportunity which exposed Finegan – but thankfully the Ards striker blasted over the bar.
As the game settled both teams showed that they are hard working sides and the tempo was high and the standard reasonably good. Bangor’s first chance came, after good work by Dougherty and McAteer on the right, putting Lee through on fifteen minutes – but the teenager drove the ball wide.
While 1st Bangor were just about shading the first half, the makeshift partnership at the back of McNamara and Bates, flanked by Webb and Dougherty were reasonably comfortable and Finegan only called upon for at the odd set piece.
Thirty minutes into the contest with nothing separating the two sides, a ball drove straight into the penalty area was adjudged to have struck a hand – and a shout for a penalty, was surprisingly granted to the away team. The referee insisting it was deliberate, which given the pace of the ball – seemed a little harsh. However 1st Bangor accepted the gift and the talented Molly Moore tucked the spot kick neatly into the corner to give the visitors the lead.
With the strong winter sun piercing over the abattoir end the Seasiders tried to respond, although could not really getting in behind the visitors and apart from a few bursts by Lee nothing was falling for the home side.
Bangor teenager Lauren McAteer got the Seasiders level in the second half
While 1st Bangor were always dangerous, the Seasiders were edging back into the contest, but just lacked penetration. Playing with a sweeper the visitors were relying on good counter attacking football, while swamping the Seasiders front pairing up top – producing a real scrap in midfield.
The last and best chance of the half fell, just before the break, the hard working Boyd, drove through the back line of 1st Bangor, got a nice touch which gave her the opportunity to go one on one with the visiting keeper but she struck wide when the equaliser looked certain. 0-1 Half time.
Some tactical changes at half time saw Morrison introduced at the back, moving McNamara to a more affective right wing role – and switching teenager McAteer to the left in place of Scott.
Having gone behind for the first time this season in the league – manager Andy Craig asked his league leaders to respond and with Armstrong and Boyd working very hard in the middle of the park the home team were starting to get an important foothold in the game – at just the right time.
Savage pushed up on the sweeper and this effectively forced the whole 1st Bangor defence deeper and created the space required for McNamara and McAteer to attack. With the momentum of the game slowly changing Bangor were now starting to play some of the better stuff and for the first time in the contest – the young Ards side were under pressure.
Within 10 minutes of the restart the visitors then paid the price - a corner out on the right was hit deep and with four Bangor players attacking the six yard area, the ball broke for McAteer who swept it in confidently from 8 yards out to make it 1-1.
More pressure followed as Savage, put through by the pace of Bangor Academy teenager Lee, had a half chance to record a quick double for the Clandeboye Road club - but the effort soared over the bar.
Haslam then introduced for Armstrong and Bangor enjoyed their best spell of the competition – forcing a series of corners and looked the more likely of the two teams to press on and get the winner.
As the second half continued the fixture still in the balance, the game settled into a reasonably good match and the chances came, though both teams were working very hard to try cancel each other out – Finegan really didn't have a shot to save.
Although the Seasiders in the ascendancy for most of the second half – the goal which was threatening just wouldn’t come. McNamara had a great chance, as did Lee but both efforts went wide and 1st Bangor survived going into the final 15 minutes.
The Seasiders were still pushing up on the last defender, forcing the young Ards team right back – but it just would fall kindly and despite some late half chances, the game moved into the last ten minutes with the clubs locked at 1-1.
Bangor changed their tactics in the second half and it paid off with the goal
A hope of a late onslaught by the Seasiders was canceled out when goalkeeper Finegan went down with just eight minutes on the clock with what, at first, looked a serious knee injury. But the Bangor No. 1, clearly in trouble, struggling to move fluently, bravely elected to stay on for the last minutes.
Bates was dropped very deep – Webb also dropped back and Bangor were content to see out the game and happy to settle for the point – which was enough for leaders to remain at the top of the table.
Manager Andy Craig “I’m not disappointed with the performance, perhaps the result could have been better but that happens in football – sometimes you win ugly, other times you play well and get nothing.
“On another night we could have taken all three points – but it wasn’t to be – so we have to accept at least we came away with the one required to remain top of the table – which was our objective at the start of the evening .
“I have to give credit to the young, talented Newtownards side who worked very hard to keep us out late in the second half – although I felt if we could nick a goal – the game was there for the taking.
“The penalty was certainly a soft one – and while nine out of ten referees wouldn’t have given it – this guy did and we had to deal with it, put it out of our minds and have a real go at the visitors in the second half.
“A lot of work was put in tonight – the starting defensive unit of Webb, Bates, McNamara and Dougherty were excellent. Finegan’s injury is a worry, she has been the difference this season, and to have conceded only three goals in five games, one a dodgy penalty, is testament to her ability.
In the middle of the park, Armstrong and Boyd are working extremely hard, while the teenagers McAteer and Lee are getting more confident each week, and can learn from the experience of Savage and Scott. Mention also for Haslam & Morrison – both in with solid performances when called upon – so we are in good shape at the moment. Player of the night – Jen Boyd.
Bangor will hope to continue their impressive start - when they travel to Millbridge in Ballynahinch next Wednesday (3rd) to take on Ballynahinch Olympic, before the Seasiders move to Bloomfield Playing Fields, following the closure of home venue Clandeboye Park (30th) for maintenance.
The club would however like to thank Bangor Football Club Chairman Trevor Best and the rest of the board at Clandeboye Park for their support of ladies football and the use of the splendid facilities at the Irish League club. Thanks also go to groundsman Brian Ritchie for his contribution on match nights, which is appreciated by everyone at the club.
Bangor head to Ballynahinch with 3 points on their minds
Last Edited by on Aug 01, 2009 5:24 AM