Mid Ulster 2 Crusaders Newtownabbey Strikers 5

By · August 14, 2010 · Filed in Match Report, News
In the final game of the season Mid Ulster entertained the newly crowned League Champions Newtownabbey Strikers.  After their exploit in the UEFA champions league during the week the Strikers were looking to end their season with a win and even with the league in the bag they still fielded a team full of International players.  Mid Ulster started well and indeed created a couple of chances.  Whilst Strikers slightly edged possession they did not really have a great deal of efforts on target to show for it.  Mid Ulster had there chances and a great strike from Lisa Richardson was unlucky to strike the underside of the bar and come out.  (perhaps goal line technology would have made a difference).  The Mid Ulster coaching staff at this point made a note "no more crossbar challenge at training!).  Unfortunately for the home side the visitors stepped up the pressure after this scare and towards the end of the first half they scored 3 goals to end the half with a flattering 3-0 lead. The second half started well for Mid Ulster but an unfortunate injury for the ever reliable Claire Brown led to Claire leaving the field to be replaced by Rachel Stewart.  A bit of a reshuffle saw Rebecca Dallas drop back into defence.  The home support got value for no money as Adele Gillespe and Hayley O'Donnell grabbed the game and start to put pressure on the visitors.  A great ball through from Simone Magill provided the opening and super sub Rachel Stewart struck a sweet shot to make the game 3-1.  This lifted Mid Ulster spirits and with Karen Donnell running things at the back (in between the seal impressions) the girls had a bit of self belief and started to show this.  Chloe Barnes and Louise Murphy were making good inroads up the wings which was releasing Stacey Lee and Lisa Richardson to hunt higher up the park.  More good work in the middle of the field again released Rachel Stewart and once again Rachel made no mistake striking a great shot to the back of the net.  With the score at 3 -2 strikers were rattled and Mid Ulster really believed they could do it.  Unfortunately as the home team went for broke there were inevitably going to be gaps at the back and not even the heroics (and dramatics!) of Colleen McCullagh in nets could stop them.  Two well taken goals in the last 5 minutes shattered the home teams dreams of a shock result but the girls can be proud of a great performance.