Mid Ulster 1-0 Cliftonville
The Mid Ulster Ladies entertained Cliftonville in the league on Wednesday night at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena.
Still smarting from the cup defeat by the same opponents last week the Mid Ulster girls were out for revenge.
An enforced change to the Mid Ulster ranks was required with Aoife Curran out due to injury but the experienced Mykylea Stewart slotted in to the starting line up.
The opening exchanges were scrappy as both teams tried to find some sort of rhythm on a blustery evening.
Early minutes of the game were played mainly in the middle of the park, with the first significant effort coming from a Cliftonville shot from distance that went well wide.
Mid Ulster had their first significant chance after 15 minutes with Cathy Rees cutting in from the left but the Cliftonville goalkeeper got down well to make the save.
A spell of pressure followed from the Mid Ulster girls with Samantha Kelly shooting just wide from a Chloe McCarron pass and Sarah Connolly just finding the through ball from Mykylea Stewart a fraction too heavy.
On 23 minutes the breakthrough came for the home team. A foul on Hannah Turkington resulted in a central free kick about 25 yards out.
Chloe McCarron stepped up and made no mistake, her finish leaving the cliftonville keeper rooted to the spot.
Cliftonville responded immediately with Nortehrn Ireland international Marissa Callaghan making a great run down the right only to hit the side netting.
Further Cliftonville pressure saw Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal out to claim well, before sending Mid Ulster on the attack once more.
Clftonville maintained the pressure and indeed finished the half the stronger with Marissa Callaghan again causing problems for the Mid Ulster back line.
Solid defensive work saw the scoreline remain intact as the half time whistle sounded.
Having made a couple of changes at the break Cliftonville again started strongly but once again Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal was up to the task and along with her back four they were proving particularly hard to break down.
Mid Ulster once again settled to their task and enjoyed a good spell midway through the half.
The spectators were on their feet when Cathy Rees shot was spilled by the Cliftonville keeper but Sarah Connolly’s follow up rolled inches wide of the post much to their disappointment.
A moment of madness then followed for Cliftonville as Marissa Callaghan was red carded for giving the referee her opinion of him.
Reduced by a player, Cliftonville knew they had to change their mentality as they took hold of the game.
Cliftonville replied immediately hitting the outside of the post with an effort before more end to end action saw Mid Ulster’s Sarah Connolly have her shot well saved.
A further change from Cliftonville and a slight change to formation saw them push for an equaliser.
Billie Simpson and Trudi Harbinson were dangerous for the visitors but Jacqueline Burns was equal to their efforts tipping over superbly from one such shot.
A late substitution for Mid Ulster saw Alice Smith replace Sarah Connolly and moments later the final whistle sounded. A hard earned three points for the Mid Ulster girls.
Team: J Burns, C Rooney, K Donnell, L Richardson, E McFarland, M Stewart, C McCarron, C Rees, H Turkington, S Kelly, S Connolly (A Smith). Subs not used R Rodgers.