Following on from last week’s draw away to league leaders Crusaders, Mid Ulster were relishing the visit of 2nd place team Glentoran Belfast Utd to the Sports Arena.
On a beautiful summers evening a good crowd turned out to watch the game in anticipation of a good result for the home team.
Glentoran had other ideas and they took the initiative right from the kick off. In a team boasting five current senior international players the visitors applied the early pressure with Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal holding an early shot well.
After the early pressure Mid Ulster started to gain a foothold in the game. Hayley O’Donnell on her return from England was busy in the midfield area and good work between herself and Samantha Kelly nearly released Sarah Connolly for the home team. Glentoran broke from this and the other end Claire Brown was required to produce a good block to thwart the danger.
Mid Ulster were trying to play the ball around but Glentoran were ready to pounce on any loose passes and appeared to be the sharper team on the night. Adele Gillespie made good work on the right wing to set up Aoife Curran but Currans strike was from distance and didn’t trouble the Glentoran number one.
Leading the Mid Ulster attack was Sarah Connolly and once again she was showing some great touches on the ball. A fine turn saw her beat her marker and strike a left foot shot at the near post but the angle was tight and the Glentoran keeper gathered comfortably. Glentoran responded swiftly and a goal mouth scramble at the other end saw Claire Brown make another great block suffering a winding in the process.
Clear cut chances were not plentiful for either side and when the breakthrough goal came it was unusual to say the least. Alex Hurst for Glentoran picked up the ball on the right wing. As she delivered a cross-shot Claire Rooney mad a partial block. With Jacqueline Burns off her line the ball deflected over her head and into the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors with 38 minutes played.
The home crowd were silent at such a bizarre opener. Mid Ulster tried to pick up their game and in the final 5 minutes of the half they applied some pressure. Chloe McCarron picked out Aoife Curran with a great cross field ball and as the cross broke to the edge of the box Chloe was on hand to have a shot but once again the Glentoran No 1 dealt with it comfortably and so the half ended 1-0 to Glentoran.
Glentoran started the second half strongly and after some early pressure it was no surprise when they doubled their advantage. With 56 minutes on the clocked Lauren Wade made a good run and finished well despite the attention of Emma McFarland.
Glentoran tails were up now and the experienced players in the side were starting to boss the game. Claire Rooney and Lisa Richardson were giving it everything but it was difficult to cope with the movement of the Glentoran front players and midfield and Glentoran’s Demi Vance was next to find the net after 58 minutes.
Mid Ulster made a change with Hannah Turkington replacing Samantha Kelly but even Hannah’s speed couldn’t stop the Glentoran onslaught. On 53 minutes another N. Ireland international was on the score sheet, a simple tap in for Nadine Caldwell after a great run and cross from her teammate.
The home side were deflated but they stuck to their task. Chloe Barnes replaced Emma McFarland and the Mid Ulster girls tried to find a way to restore some pride. It wasn’t to be and a final goal for Gina Scaffidi and Glentoran capped a second half to forget for the home team who lost 5-0.
Mid Ulster: J Burns, C Rooney, C Brown, L Richardson, E McFarland (C Barnes), A Curran, C McCarron, H O’Donnell, S Kelly (H Turkington), A Gillespie, S Connolly. Subs not used: L Murphy, C Bowden, L Sommerville, K Donnell, S Lee, D Suitor
Next up for the girls a trip to Belfast to take on Newbridge Predators in the league.