Mid Ulster hit Ballymena for six

By · June 30, 2013 · Filed in Match Report
Mid Ulster entertained Ballymena in the league on Wednesday night knowing that 3 points were essential to reignite a stuttering season so far. Mid Ulster started the game brightly with Lisa Richardson linking up well with Adele Gillespie and Samantha Kelly to put the Ballymena back line under some early pressure.  The Mid Ulster girls were definitely up for the game and Hayley O Donnell was busy in the centre of midfield breaking up the Ballymena possession and setting Mid Ulster on their way.  Hannah Turkington made a good break down the right and Sarah Connolly showed great strength to win the first corner of the game.  From the corner Ballymena cleared but only as far as Chloe McCarron whose shot was well blocked before the danger was cleared.  More pressure saw Sarah Connolly just beaten to a great through ball by the Ballymena keeper who gathered bravely.  It wasn’t all one way traffic and Ballymena were threatening on the break and then had a period of pressure which required Jacqueline Burns in the Mid Ulster goal to tidy up on a few occasions.  After this period Mid Ulster picked up the tempo again but it was the same problem as previous performances with some scintillating football but lacking the final touch.  A free kick from Adele Gillespie and a number of corners couldn’t find the breakthrough and there was always the niggling thought that the missed opportunities might come back to haunt the home team. The centre half pairing of Claire Rooney and Karen Donnell were coping well with any Ballymena pressure but there was nothing they could do when a slightly over enthusiastic challenge from Chloe McCarron saw Ballymena awarded a penalty.  Against the run of play Ballymena grabbed the opportunity with both hands and Emma Murray made no mistake to leave the score 1-0 to Ballymena with 28 minutes played. Mid Ulster picked up the tempo straight from the restart and on 37 minutes were awarded a free on the edge of the box.  A well worked set play saw Chloe McCarron apply the finishing touch to level the scores.  With their tales up Mid Ulster maintained the momentum and good work from Hannah Turkington and Sarah Connolly presented Adele Gillespie with an opening.  Adele made no mistake as she nosed the home team into the lead with 39 minutes played.  Ballymena tried to answer from the restart and Karen Donnell needed to be on hand to clear at the expense of a corner.  Jacqueline Burns gathered from the corner and immediately found Adele Gillespie clear with a pin point kick out.  Cutting inside Adele showed great composure to leave the score 3-1 as the half time whistle sounded.
waiting for the second half to kick off

waiting for the second half to kick off

Mid Ulster made a change at the break with Emma McFarland replacing Hannah Turkington and  a bit of reshuffle followed.  Ballymena started the second half well and some early pressure needed Claire Rooney and company to be alert.  After weathering the early pressure Mid Ulster started to impose once again and Sarah Connolly had an early chance but her shot was straight at the keeper.  Claire Browns move into the right side of midfield was causing Ballymena problems and it was through this link up with Adele Gillespie and Samantha Kelly that the next score came along.  Some great interplay led to a whipped in cross which Sarah Connolly was on hand to head home from close range.  With 55 minutes played Mid Ulster were 4-1 up and with the pressure off the home team started to play some great football.  Just back from her honeymoon Ruth Bell replaced Lisa Richardson on 57 minutes and she got involved in the action straight away with a good burst down the right wing and a cross that Sarah Connolly volleyed just wide.  On 64 minutes Stacey Lee replaced Claire Brown and with all the changes made Mid Ulster continued to apply the pressure.  Ballymena were trying to get something back but they were restricted to shots from distance and set pieces as the Mid Ulster players defended their lead.  Shots from Stacey Lee and Adele Gillespie kept the Ballymena back line under pressure and it was no surprise when on 78minutes Sarah Connolly grabbed her second of the night with a great finish.  Mid Ulster were getting good returns down both wings but particularly down the right with Emma McFarland and Ruth Bell linking up well with Adele Gillespie and Sarah Connolly.  This coupled with the follow up from midfield of Hayley O’Donnell and Chloe McCarron meant Ballymena were under pressure from all areas.  Even the route one ball was a danger.  A great ball from Claire Rooney teed up Sarah Connolly and a good save from the keeper gave away a corner.  From the corner Stacey Lee picked up the ball but she just couldn’t get enough pace on her shot and the ball was cleared off the line.  In the final minutes Ballymena won a corner which was cleared by Chloe McCarron to Hayley O’Donnell.  A great ball to Adele Gillespie saw Adele play a perfectly weighted pass to Sarah Connolly who made no mistake to grab her hat trick and leave the final score Mid Ulster 6  Ballymena 1.
Rooney chases the pitch invader

Rooney chases the pitch invader

Team: J Burns, C Brown (S Lee), C Rooney, K Donnell, L Richardson (R Bell), H Turkington (E McFarland), C McCarron, H O’Donnell, S Connolly, A Gillespie. Subs not used: C Barnes, C Bowden, L Murphy