Mid Ulster v Strikers

By · May 13, 2011 · Filed in Match Report, News
Mid Ulster hosted the 2010 league Champions Crusaders Newtownabbey Strikers at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena on Wednesday night.  With the influential Simone Magill out injured and Ruth Brown and Louise Murphy also unavailable the Mid Ulster girls knew they were going to be up against it.  On a positive note the girls were happy to welcome Stacey Lee back into the squad after her exploits on the Hockey field over the winter.  The side line was packed with crocked Mid Ulster players but it is good to see the girls out supporting their team even if some of them were more preoccupied chucking umbrellas around.

Simone shows her talent at that other popular sport Umbrella chucking

The game started with Strikers  in confident mood and indeed given Mid Ulsters recent results they must have considered that this would be an easy 3 points.  The Mid Ulster girls were up for the game but everyone feared the worst when Clare Carson opened the scoring for the visitors after only 4 minutes.  In the early exchanges Strikers looked value for their league champion status and they had a few early efforts on target.  They were nearly helped out in their quest for a goal as Hayley O’Donnell tried to out do Karen with a great effort for an own goal.  Thankfully it sailed over the bar.  Strikers forced a number of corners and indeed they did force Jacqueline Burns into a great save but they couldn’t increase their lead.  The Mid Ulster girls stuck to their task and as the game progressed the home team started to find their feet.  Starting from the back Jacqueline Burns was showing good hands and great distribution to get the girls on the move.   Adele Gillespe was hving more and more influence on the game, amazing for someone that hadn’t been to bed the night before the match.  Hayley O’Donnell was like a terrier closing down the Strikers and then splitting their defence with some great through balls.  Mykylea Stewart was looking back to her best and she showed some silky skills to beat her opposite number and start the Mid Ulster attack from the right back position.  Lisa Richardson had the first chance on goal for Mid Ulster after good work from Karen Donnell, Hayley O’Donnell and Adele Gillespe but good defending from Strikers cleared the danger.  After being on the end of a robust challenge Adele Gillespe picked herself up to get a shot on target in what was to be the final action of the half.

Mid Ulster on the attack

Mid Ulster started the second half like a house on fire and a good early attack saw Stacey Lee and Chloe Barnes combine to trouble the Strikers defence.  The Strikers were rattled and even the normally reliable Angela Platt in goals fluffed a clearance under pressure from Stacey Lee giving the home team an early corner.  Strikers upped their game too and the action was from end to end.  After a belt in the face Colleen McCullagh cleaned up the blood and marched on to make a great saving tackle even in the face of some polite conversation with the Strikers coaching staff.   Hayley O’Donnell was giving everything in midfield with no thought to the bruises she might sustain ( we just hope the bridesmaid dress is long!! And pink!).  Although Mid Ulster were having the majority of the play Strikers were still proving a threat on the break and Helen McKenna saw her effort go just wide.  Mid Ulster reacted with an attack of their own and a great individual run saw Stacey Lee beat 2 players but her shot drifted just wide. Mind you all the spectators thought it was going in and there was near a call for the Heart Stop training to be put into practice.   A similar attack led to a free kick awarded to the home team on the left corner of the Strikers box.  A well worked free kick brought more gasps from the local support as the effort curled just over the crossbar.    Brooke Jordan and Claire Brown were keeping the back door shut for the home team as Strikers  tried to get back into control.  So upset were the visitors that when the ball was put out so attention could be given to Hayley O’Donnell for an injury that Strikers played on from the resultant throw in rather than giving the ball back.   The commitment from the Mid Ulster girls was immense and this was personified by Karen Donnell as she hung like a salmon to stick her head onto a rocket of a ball to make a great clearance.  The referee then had to reach for his pocket as Strikers Danielle McDowell tried out for the British Olympic Diving team on the edge of the Mid Ulster box.  Tom Daley might have been impressed but the referee wasn’t although Myky was mildly amused by it all.  A final push from Mid Ulster just couldn’t find a breakthrough and it is surely the Strikers who were happier to hear the final whistle.  Final Score Mid Ulster 0  Crusaders Newtownabbey Strikers 1 Team J Burns, C Brown, K Donnell, B Jordan, M Stewart,C McCullagh L Richardson, H O’Donnell, A Gillespe, S Lee, C Barnes  Subs J Overend, E McFarland, C Charles.