ONLY two days after a the visit of Fermanagh, Mid Ulster welcomed Glentoran Belfast Utd to the Mid Ulster Sports arena once again in the Euro Electrix Premier League. Although clearly buoyed by Monday nights result Mid Ulster knew that they would face a much stiffer challenge from the ladies from Belfast.
Mid Ulster started with one enforced change as Stacey Lee replaced the unavailable Michelle Scott. As expected Glentoran started strongly and a spell of early possession saw Nadine Caldwell find some space for a shot but once again Jacqueline Burns was equal to it.
Mid Ulster then started to find their flow and some great play in the midfield from Hayley O’Donnell saw Simone Magill get an early shot away. Alice Harkness in the Glentoran goal also showed good hands to eliminate the danger.
The game was end to end and a real feast of football. A free kick on 19 minutes for Glentoran posed a threat but the Mid Ulster wall did their job and the danger was cleared quickly as Simone Magill and Hayley O’Donnell linked up to win another corner.
As the game ebbed and flowed the Brown sisters put in some great defensive work to stifle the Glens attacks. Lisa Richardson at left back used all her experience in once such attack to hold off the Glens attackers and watch the ball run out for a goal kick. Glentoran were pushing for an opener and Jacqueline Burns made some great saves to keep the game scoreless before Mid Ulster carved an opening of their own. A Simone Magill cross was met well by Chloe Barnes but drifted inches wide. Glentoran replied immediately and Lisa Richardson was on hand this time to clear the ball off the line. Cara Milligan for Glentoran went close with a free header and Kirsty McGuinness was astounded to see her shot superbly saved by Jacqueline Burns low to her left. As the half time whistle approached Mid Ulster thought they had survived the half but with 46 minutes played a Glentoran cross was bundled in by Mykyla Mullholland to see the visitors into the break with a 1-0 advantage.
Whatever coach Noel Mitchell said at half time certainly had the desired effect as Mid Ulster started the second half on fire.
Samantha Kelly showed great strength and skill before she was upended to win a Mid Ulster free kick wide on the right. A great delivery from Hayley O’Donnell was met by Stacey Lee whose header eluded everyone and dropped to the back of the net to draw the game level.
With 7 minutes of the second half played it was game on and Mid Ulster had the wind in their sales. Two minutes later and Stacey Lee had her second. Samantha Kelly provided the through ball and Stacey Lee provided a great left foot finish to thrust Mid Ulster into the lead 2-1.
The home supporters were ecstatic but little did they know what was to come. From the kick off Simone Magill picked up the ball and drove at the Glentoran goal. Dragging the ball onto to her right foot she unleashed an unstoppable shot from a full 30 yards.
Glentoran were rocked and they tried to respond winning a corner but they couldn’t make anything of it. The Mid Ulster girls now had a spring in their step and any aching limbs from the previous game were forgotten about. Claire Brown made a great covering tackle and Lisa Richardson sent Samantha Kelly on her way with a great pass.
Glentoran were bossing possession but without causing the home support too many panic attacks thanks to some solid defensive play. Claire Rooney was leading the troops by example and the girls were responding with an outstanding work rate from every Mid Ulster player.
With Glentoran having to push Mid Ulster were also a threat on the break and Stacey Lee went close and on another occasion Samantha Kellys effort went just wide. A further Mid Ulster change was made with Rebecca Edwards replacing Stacey Lee to tighten up the midfield and see the game out. As time ticked on Glentoran started to show their frustration with a few impatient tackles and a couple of players picking up yellow cards to add to their woes.
As the clock ticked down Glentoran finally got a glimmer of hope when Nadine Caldwell scored to make it 3-2 with 2 minutes remaining. A further Glentoran free was cleared by Louise Murphy and Mid Ulster kept the ball well for the remaining few minutes to seal a historic victory for the club. Final score Mid Ulster 3 Glentoran Belfast Utd 2
Team: J Burns, C Rooney, C Brown, E McFarland, L Richardson, H O’Donnell, R Brown, S Kelly, C Barnes (L Murphy), S Magill, S Lee (R Edwards).
Subs not used: H Turkington, A Edwards, L Sommerville.