Mid Ulster Ladies 2 Linfield 5
Mid Ulster welcomed Linfield to the Sports Arena on Wednesday night and with both teams only having lost to Glentoran in the league so far it promised to be an interesting encounter.
Mid Ulster started well with Adele Gillespie having a good run straight from the kick off. The experienced back line of Ashley Hutton and Lindsay Cory tidied things up for the visitors and sent Linfield on the counter.
With two minutes played Kirsty McGuinness underlined the threat that she posed. Picking up a ball on the left wing she left defenders in her wake as raced clear and calmly finished to give Linfield the lead.
Mid Ulster responded with an attack of their own and Chloe McCarron struck from distance but the ball was always rising as it cleared the Linfield crossbar.
A further Linfield attack won a corner for the visitors and the home crowd were relieved to see the ball headed wide at the back post.
It was end to end stuff and Sarah Connolly showed good feet to win a free on the left side of the box. Chloe McCarron stepped up and again went close the ball dipping just too late to test Nicole Adams.
The Linfield threat was still ever present and once again it was Kirsty McGuinness who was the thorn in the Mid Ulster side.
Another great run from her saw Jacqueline Burns make the initial save but Nicole Graham for Linfield was following up well to snatch an easy tap in and make it 2-0 to the visitors with 15 minutes played.
Linfield really had their tails up now and the Mid Ulster girls were finding it hard to stamp any authority on the game.
Further chances followed for Linfield and it was no real surprise when after 22 minutes Nicole Graham got her second as a cross in from the left was not cleared and the scoreline now read 3-0 to Linfield.
Mid Ulster battled away and Samantha Kelly made a great run down the left wing but once again the Linfield defence was up to the task.
Emma McFarland, Cathy Rees and Adele Gillespie were all involved in Mid Ulster attacks but the final shot wasn’t forthcoming and Linfield finished the half strongly with yet another attack involving Kirsty McGuinnnes resulting in her second goal of the evening as the half ended 4-0 to Linfield.
Mid Ulster stared the second half with a mountain to climb and things didn’t get any better when Jacqueline Burns made a great save initially but once again Linfield reacted quickest with Mairead
McCann following up to make it 5-0 with 47 minutes played. Mid Ulster did not give up and eventually their reward was to come. With 51 minutes on the clock Adele Gillespie played a great ball through to Sarah Connolly who did superbly well to get an inch on Ashley Hutton and place her finish to make it 5-1.
The Mid Ulster girls finally found some belief and moments later Connolly went close once again with a great left foot strike that had the keeper beaten but was narrowly wide.
Further chances followed with Ruth Bell picking our Cathy Rees but Nicole Adams for Linfield was well placed to gather this one. Linfield were still threatening when in possession but Claire Rooney and co were having a much better half and limiting the Linfield attack to shots from distance.
When Kirsty McGuinness did manage to break through Jacqueline Burns was showing her class too.
A raft of substitutions followed for both teams with Chloe Barnes, Hannah Turkington and Alice Smith replacing Sarah Connolly, Ruth Bell and Emma McFarland for the home team.
Mid Ulster continued to press and on 90 minutes Chloe McCarron’s shot was spilled and Cathy Rees was on target to fire home.
The game finished 5-2 and the Mid Ulster girls will hope to improve on this performance next week when they host Shankill Predators in the League at MUSA.