Dungannon took on Ballymena on Saturday in the knowledge that, at the business end of the season with only three games left, a victory was crucial.
Ballymena pressed well but were unsuccessful in trying to beat the defenders and have a shot on goal.
With great runs by the midfield, Dungannon caused some bother in Ballymena’s circle, the forward line working tirelessly to earn a shot on goal which was saved by a strong Ballymena keeper.
The play continued end to end before Ballymena got a free just outside Dungannon’s circle. With smart defence and a quick turn around Dungannon had a fast counter attack which resulted in Stacey Lee getting a shot on goal, which wasn’t converted. However Stacey was rewarded a penalty corner. Ballymena came out fast, breaking the line to allow Dungannon another opportunity. Again, however the defenders got the ball away before Dungannon could have a shot on goal, halftime 0-0.
Dungannon set the intensity high and remained strong and with great movement by the forwards got many chances in the circle, but were unlucky not to score.
Ballymena didn’t give up the fight against Dungannon’s defence but,with a steady backline, Georgina Mulligan easily gained possession and released the ball back into the midfielders.
A great run put pressure on the Ballymena defence but the pass was made into space and went out of play.
Then a great run from Stacy Lee to the corner put the ball onto the end of Sam Kelly’s stick and she slotted to the back of the net.
Ballymena didn’t give up and continued to put pressure on the defenders but, ith 10 minutes left, Dungannon carved another chance as a penalty corner was awarded. Lynda Elliott had a great shot but it was saved by the keeper.
As Ballymena ran towards Dungannon’s circle, they got back before Ballymena had time to put a shot away.
Dungannon quickly found Karen Elliott on the right, who passed it into Lynda Elliott, who spotted a well-timed run by Stacey Lee and she easily found the net, 2-0 as the game came to a close.
Both teams fought to the final whistle but Dungannon thankfully came out on top.
Dungannon 2XI 1
NICS 2XI 2
A weakened Dungannon side travelled to Stormont to play NICS for the third time this season. With one win and one loss recorded on two previous encounters, it was sure to be a tight match.
Both teams started well, despite having to brace fierce winds and torrential rain.
NICS produced more goalscoring opportunities in the oearly stages, but a strong Dungannon defence and keeper Jill Burnside denied the home team a goal.
However, midway through the first half NICS converted a well set-up goal that caught Dungannon off-guard.
The Dungannon midfield and forwards attempted to equalise but were unlucky as NICS broke through again and a great shot on goal and a mix-up in defence led to the Dungannon side finding themselves 2-0 down going in to half time.
The second half started very well for Dungannon. The addition of Nicola Cardwell and Shirley Stafford to the team lifted morale and aided Dungannon in attack allowing the visitors to have several opportunities to score.
It was a break by Rachel Kelly down the right that saw her pass the ball into the penalty spot and Lucy Parkes slotted it past the keeper.
Dungannon were now back in the race, with the score sitting 2-1 with 15 minutes to go.
This fired up NICS and great defensive play by Dungannon and many saves from keeper Jill Burnside kept the home team at bay. Frustration set in for NICS but the Dungannon team remained strong and they were unable to increase the score margin.
Despite many efforts by Dungannon to equalise before the final whistle, it was sadly not to be.
The team thank David Reid for his continued support and enthusiasm and for umpiring the match on Saturday.
Team: Jill Burnside, Ellen Irwin, Caitlin Bain, Grace Shrestha, Laura Saygi, Christine Kelly, Morgan Jenkins, Becky Boyd, Rachel Kelly, Lucy Parkes, Faye Acheson, Shirley Stafford, Nicola Cardwell.
Dungannon 3XI 3
Dungannon went to Coleraine on Saturday to play in horrendous weather conditions.
Despite arriving just a few minutes from passback Dungannon were sharp from the start and enjoyed a sustained opening half of pressure in the hosts defensive quarter.
The wrongs of the previous week were duly corrected for Lesley Ann Hetherington as she blasted Dungannon ahead with a quality penalty corner strike.
Indeed, the summary of this match can be ‘short’ with all three goals coming from penalty corners.
A succession of set-pieces saw Lesley Ann add her second and Shirley Stafford was well placed to finish the game off, netting the third from a rebound shot.
Thanks to Val Boyd for umpiring.
Thirds: M.Wilson LA Hetherington K.Needham R.Bettany C.Swaffield S.Stafford N.Cardwell E.Junk M.Davidson J.Cuddy J Rodgers D McClements.