Dungannon Ladies faced Victorians 1st XI with hopes of second place in the league still within their reach.
Coach Norman Purdy had a squad at almost full strength - only one player missing - and this meant he had plenty of options available which proved vital as injuries mounted during the game.
Dungannon lost the toss which unfortunately meant they were forced to play into the gale force wind. This proved to be very difficult for the Dungannon side as with only eight minutes on the clock Victorians pressed forward with the wind behind them and took a one nil lead.
Dungannon did fight back hard, winning a series of penalty corners after some positive play from Sam Kelly and Stacey Lee. However, luck just didn’t seem to be around for the home side as they found themselves failing to convert any of the penalty corners.
The Belfast girls battled their way into the circle putting Dungannon ‘Keeper Victoria Kerr under pressure, who with little assistance could only do her best to try and prevent Victorians doubling their lead.
It wasn’t to be, alas, as Victorians reacted quicker to the rebounding save and Dungannon found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.
Heads could have had the opportunity to fall at this stage of the game but Dungannon didn’t let this hinder them as the front line pressed forward with Andriea McKay showing her pace on the wing.
Another series of penalty corners fell to Dungannon after good attacking pressure but yet again they failed to convert. Just before half time Sam Kelly was fouled by a Victorians defender denying her goalbound effort and was duly awarded a penalty stroke.
Captain Lynda Elliott confidently stepped up to convert a powerful stroke to ensure the wind didn’t catch Dungannon out again, to leave it Dungannon 1-2 Victorians.
Purdy made several changes coming into the second half following injuries that were sustained in the first half. The team started the second half much livelier and looking determined.
Sam Kelly released a ball to Stacey Lee on the right wing who held the ball up, played it back into Sam who at this stage had made a driving run through the middle of the pitch. Sam found herself skipping round a defender in the ‘circle’ and then beat the keeper at the near post with a smashing strike.
This goal was a real boost for the home team as they pushed and pushed for another goal, maintaining the pressure on Victorian’s defence.
Despite more penalty corners and the umpire disallowing a Stacey Lee goal, as he blew his whistle for a Dungannon penalty corner just as she crossed the ball over the line. The home side couldn’t seem to find any luck for the ball to end up in the back of the net.
Both teams had been warned about their temperament with many players having to be spoken to by umpires, Dungannon managed to remain calm keeping all of their players on the pitch unlike the Victorians side who had two players sent off for a period of time.
In the final ten minutes with all eleven players back on the pitch Victorians managed to slip a third goal past a very frustrated Dungannon side who knew that second place in Senior One was now getting further out of sight.
In last two minutes Dungannon were awarded another penalty corner and despite the best efforts of Lisa Millar, some heroic goalkeeping and defending from Victorians the ball was eventually cleared.
Victorians gained possession of the ball in the Dungannon defensive area and like any team with a one goal lead and the clock ticking, they kept possession and ran the clock down much to the frustration of the Dungannon side.
A speedy recovered is wished to Lynsey Purdy and Hannah Smyth who both were sidelined with foot injuries received during the game.
Dungannon will feel annoyed with themselves after the game, even with the difficult conditions; however, they have to remember that this is their first season in Senior One and they have already surprised a lot of people, making it to Cup Final and having also secured third place in league.
Dungannon have one game left against second-placed North Dow, to be played away within the next two weeks.
Team: Victoria Kerr, Lynsey Purdy, Abigail Edwards, Georgina Mulligan, Emma Kilpatrick, Lisa Millar, Lynda Elliott, Hannah Smyth, Stacey Lee, Andriea McKay, Samantha Kelly, Sarah Winslow, Jayne Wilson, Jill Elliott, Laura Kennedy.
Thanks to coach Norman Purdy for all the hard word he has put in this season and to supporters who braved the terrible weather conditions at RSD on Saturday.
Congratulations to Dungannon Ladies U15 side who defeated Raphoe U15s 1-0 at RSD on Friday night, Chloe Davison with the goal assisted by Katie Burns.