Corner queens Rainey open up six point gap in league

Rainey 4 Annadale 1

League leaders Rainey were keen to regain their winning momentum against high-flying Annadale after a hard fought draw with PSNI.

Annadale travelled down to Magherafelt second in the league and in full knowledge that a win against Rainey would have taken them level with their opposition. Rainey however were keen to strengthen their position at the top of the league.

The match started slowly. Annadale, an experienced and physical team, were making fine passes and putting in attacks on the Rainey defence. However the home team were their match in fitness and skill and there were numerous forays into the Annadale half before winning their first short corner. The corner was delivered with precision, a sharp ball out from Catherine Walshe, picked up on the edge by Jenna Bowman and fired back into the circle towards the left post, where Catherine Walshe - who had moved to this position - deflected the ball into the back of the net.

With their first goal the Rainey confidence rose, however Annadale were not going to lie down, they too continued with good movement and attacks into the Rainey half. However Rainey’s second goal wasn’t far away. The ball was picked up in the circle by Nicole Heaney and a shot on goal was delivered and saved, however not deterred, Nicole fought on and placed the ball into the back of the net.

Annadale rose to the occasion and a few minutes later a ball was passed from their defence into the Rainey half and picked up by an Annadale forward. Rainey appeared to have switched off, allowing three passes without tackle, directly into the circle where an Annadale player was positioned, and deftly deflected the ball into the Rainey goals.

Half time came and Rainey were 2-1 up, a precarious position, however after some wise words imparted by coach Colin Barnes, the Rainey girls came back onto the pitch, eager to maintain the lead and get the three points.

Both teams gave a strong performance in the second half; however Rainey outplayed Annadale in their attacks and finishes. On winning several further short corners, Rainey eventually capitalised once more. Again Catherine Walshe pushed the ball from the base line, collected by Jenna Bowman, and a shot into the left corner of the goals sealed goal number three.

Rainey pressed on with strong runs on the right hand side from Zara Bell (who forced several of the short corners) and Megan Mulholland, and on the left from Claire Mulholland, and Jayne Speer.

Maeve McNally worked tirelessly in the middle of the field spreading the ball right and left and once again the ball made it into the circle. Emma Currie who had several shots on target, took aim once again, the Annadale keeper, made a good save going to ground, however Jenna Bowman was hovering for the rebound, she dived for the ball, over the top of the goalkeeper, pushing it over the line and delivering Rainey’s fourth goal.

Annadale put Rainey under pressure throughout the game, however Rainey’s defence, made up of Robyn Hastings, Louise McMaster, Brianna Kerr and Catherine Walshe, did a sterling job protecting the circle, transferring the ball, making runs up the pitch and tackling the Annadale attack.

The match finished with a 4-1 win for Rainey, the 3 points securing the position at the top of the league, 6 points clear of Annadale in 2nd position.

Rainey Ladies: Maeve McNally (c), Rebecca Allen, Louise McMaster, Brianna Kerr, Catherine Walshe, Robyn Hastings, Claire Mulholland, Zara Bell, Megan Mulholland, Nicole Heaney, Jayne Speer, Jenna Bowman (vc), Emma Currie.

Man of the Match: Joint Emma Currie and Jenna Bowman

Rainey will play Bangor Ladies on the 17th November at Bangor Sportsplex.