Controversial end to eight goal thriller

Cookstown needed a result from this game and no better time to challenge for points on the back of a win over Greenisland the previous week.

Their run of form continued as Cookstown started strong with the passing game putting Ballyclare under pressure in their own half. This soon paid of as Clare Brown found her self driving into the circle, rounded the keeper and had her shot illegally cleared of the line by a Ballyclare foot. The resultant flick was taken by C.Brown and she made no mistake in putting it in the back of the net, giving the home side a well deserved 1-0 lead.

Although possession was still maintained after the early lead, Ballyclare equalised against the run of play when a short corner was awarded for a foot inside the Cookstown defensive circle. The chance was took well as the corner was placed into the right corner just beyond the reach of the Cookstown keeper B. Williamson to level the score at 1-1.

Cookstown continued to press but were unlucky when a well struck ball from just inside the half found its way untouched into the Cookstown circle only to take the slightest of deflections of B. Williamson’s pad to give the visiting side a controversial lead. The score remained 2-1 until the end of the first half.

Cookstown came out the second half strong and good possession of the ball lead to the equaliser, a crossed ball into the circle found R. Millar at the back post who slotted the ball away neatly.

This was a short lived lead as Ballyclare was awarded a short corner won from an umpiring error which lead to their third goal of the game. The initial shot was saved well, although the rebound was scored to give the opposition a 3-2 lead.

Cookstown showed great attacking skills by pushing on with J. Burns and L. Donaghy attacking from the wings, giving Ballyclare little time on the ball. This hard work payed of when the score was levelled once again as L. Johnston crossed a ball in from the right which was deflected goalwards by R. Stewart.

This lifted the Cookstown girls spirits as they strived to take a grip on the game that they deserved. Umpiring controversies filled the match and lead to Cookstown being reduced to 10 for 2 minutes of the second half as L. Johnston received a green card.

The game became heated as Ballyclare players and coaches tried to unnerve the Cookstown players, however they rised above this and continued to attack the Ballyclare circle, R. Millar then got her second goal of the game as C. Brown played a ball across the circle which found Millar at the back post to give the home team the lead with 8 minutes to go.

With 5 minutes left of the game, 3points seemed certain although this was not meant to be as luck once again went against the home side, a through ball which was heading for the byline took a deflection of the post and caught the Cookstown defence and keeper unaware, Ballyclare’s right wing followed up with a shot which drew the sides level once again.

With little time left for a Cookstown attack the game ended in a draw, with the home side extremely unlucky not to walk away with all three points.

This game proved the home sides character through a tough, physical game and gives them the opportunity to build on this to travel to Larne next Saturday.

Cookstown: B. Williamson, G. Brown, R. Smyth, L. Donaghy, G. Todd, J. Burns, L. Johnston, C. Brown, J. McClean, R. Millar, R. Stewart, S. Watt, A. Scott, C. McWhirter, D. Hamilton

Player of the match: R. Millar