Football: Mid Ulster Ladies beat Shankill Predators in league

Emma McFarland who was influential for Mid Ulster Ladies in their win over Shankill Predators.

Emma McFarland who was influential for Mid Ulster Ladies in their win over Shankill Predators.

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Mid Ulster Ladies 3 Shankill Predators 1

Mid Ulster Ladies entertained Shankill Predators at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena in the Concentrix Premier League last Wednesday night.

Mid Ulster started brightly with Samantha Kelly having an early effort cleared off the Predators goal line in the opening minutes. The resulting corner also fell to Kelly but she could only shoot over.

Predators responded well and Claire Rooney and Karen Donnell had to be smart at the back for Mid Ulster to thwart the Shankill counter attacks.

More pressure followed from Mid Ulster but they couldn’t find the killer strike. Adele Gillespie’s shot was well blocked by a last ditch tackle as Predators proved difficult to break down.

Even when Mid Ulster did beat the defence the crossbar was proving to be equally hard to beat as Sarah Connolly found out in the 19th minute.

The half continued with Mid Ulster controlling possession but the Predator’s goalkeeper was well positioned on a number of occasions to keep the game goalless.

Shankill were also showing that they could be dangerous on the break although there was nothing to trouble Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal.

The second half started in the same pattern with Mid Ulster on the attack and Predators dangerous on the break.

Samantha Kelly was seeing a lot of the ball on the left side of midfield and drew a couple of fouls before the referee was forced to reach for the first yellow card of the night.

Mid Ulster were then hit with a sucker punch as a Predators break saw their number 9 split the defence and lift a well placed lob over the onrushing Jacqueline Burns. With 51 minutes played and the visitors were in front.

Mid Ulster made a substitution and changed the formation with attacker Hannah Turkington replacing centre half Karen Donnell. On 63 minutes the move paid dividends.

Sarah Connolly appeared to be upended in the penalty area but the appeals were waved away and the ball broke to the edge of the box where Chloe McCarron made no mistake in firing home the equaliser.

Sarah Connolly was causing the Predators back line all kinds of headaches and moments later a high challenge on Connolly from Megan Wetherall ended Wetherall’s participation in the game.

With Predators down to ten, Mid Ulster tried to use their advantage and in the 77th minutes Emma McFarland’s shot was spilled by the Predators keeper, Cathy Rees was quickest to react to make it 2-1 to the home side.

A further substitution for Mid Ulster followed as Louise Murphy replaced Adele Gillespie. Chloe McCarron was dominant in the middle with some great balls through to the front players.

On 84 minutes Mid Ulster wrapped up the points as Sarah Connolly stole a metre to get her shot away to make the score 3-1.

Predators threatened to take the gloss off the scoreline with a late corner but Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal came out well to punch clear and keep the 3-1 scoreline at the final whistle.