League opener v Cliftonville

By · April 28, 2013 · Filed in Match Report
Mid Ulster hosted Cliftonville at Mid Ulster Sports arena in their opening game of the 2013 NIWFA Premier league season.  Promoted this year after doing the double in the National league Cliftonville were certainly going to be a challenge for the Mid Ulster girls.  With Hayley O’Donnell still at university in England and a number of last seasons regulars unavailable it was a youthful Mid Ulster side that took to the pitch but they certainly staked claims for positions even when the more experienced players return.  Mid Ulster were delighted to welcome Simone Magill back as a spectator as she was home from Everton for a few days.  Simone as usual wanted to be involved and she finally got her long sought after position as water bottle carrier.
Monday nights team

Monday nights team

The game kicked off on yet another chilly evening and Cliftonville certainly made the better start applying pressure right from the start.  Karen Donnell was impressive at the back making a number of crunching challenges even though she was still nursing bruised ribs from a preseason friendly.  Even through the pain and the sound effects Karen was still able to enthuse about her heroics.  To Quote Lisa Richardson it was like the soundtrack to “One born every minute” as Karen knocked Cliftonville players and our Jackie flying in her pursuit to clear the ball.  Cliftonvilles pressure resulted in a couple of nervy moments for the large home support but Jacqueline Burns was in fine form making a couple of great saves and nearly getting knocked out in the process ( that was Karen).  With Jacqueline back on her feet and her hair washed courtesy of Mas first aid skills the game restarted.  Mid Ulsters opening nerves started to settle with Chloe McCarron starting to take control in the middle of the park.  Good play between Samantha Kelly and Louise Murphy saw a promising break but the final ball asked just too much of Murphy and the danger passed.  Cliftonville where proving a danger in possession Mid Ulster had the cross bar to thank for keeping the game scoreless on one occasion.  From this scare Mid Ulster went on the attack and Hannah Turkington laid the ball in Lyn Sommervilles path.  Lyn got a great shot away first time but the ball flew inches wide.  The Mid Ulster back line were being kept busy and Lisa Richardson and Chloe McCarron made some fine covering tackles to keep the Mid Ulster girls level at the break.
Claire Rooney with Club sponsor George Booth "The Railway Bar"

Claire Rooney with Club sponsor George Booth "The Railway Bar"

The second half started poorly for the home team as Cliftonville forced an early corner.  A great delivery caused a scramble in the box and as the ball dropped to the edge of the box Cliftonville had a good strike on goal.  Jacqueline Burns made a fine save but Cliftonvilles Louise Irvine was quickest to respond and she fired the rebound to the back of the net 1-0 to the visitors.  Mid Ulster picked themselves up and from the kick off Samantha Kelly showed great feet to dance through and play Lyn Sommerville through.  Lyns cross eluded everyone but the break gave the Mid Ulster girls a bit of heart.  More pressure followed with Chloe Barnes and Chloe McCarron both making good breaks but the final ball just wasn’t forthcoming.  Louise Murphy was replaced by Chloe Bowden after 66 mins and Chloe got into the action immediately picking up the ball and protecting it superbly.  Cliftonville were still pushing to secure the points and Claire Rooney had a contender for tackle of the year to prevent the Cliftonville Striker breaking clean through on goal.  Moments later a similar situation occurred but this time the timing was just not so great and Cliftonville may well feel aggrieved at not being awarded a penalty.  Mid Ulster didn’t let this deter them and they pushed for an equaliser in the dying moments.  Emma McFarland was pushing on well down the right wing and one such attack saw Lyn Sommerville shoot just wide.  A free kick 30 yards out on the left was to be the last chance for Mid Ulster and Chloe McCarron stepped up.  A super striker was inches wide and as the keeper took the kick out the final whistle sounded.  Mid Ulster 0  Cliftonville 1. Team: J Burns, C Rooney, K Donnell, L Richardson, E McFarland, S Kelly, L Murphy (C Bowden), C McCarron, L Sommerville, H Turkington, C Barnes.  Subs not used R Kelly, C Charles, E Junk. Chat after the game was one of surprise that after her performance on Saturday that Elaine “Junkie” Junk hadn’t at least got some kind of run on.  Perhaps Noel is saving her for the Glentoran match?  In the changing room Ma freed her large calves otherwise known as cows and this caused a bit of a delayed reaction between Emma and Simone.  After the game  both teams returned to the Railway Bar for a few sandwiches and Simone shared some secrets of the Everton post match diet with the girls.. Not!
Everton post match nutrtion Sunnie Style!

Everton post match nutrtion Sunnie Style!

Next up for the girls a visit to Ballymena on Wed 1 May.