Randalstown 1st XI continued their Ulster Shield campaign with a Wednesday night fixture against Dungannon.
The Town players knew little about their opposition but knew they needed an improvement on their previous performance. In a match littered with goal scoring opportunities, Randalstown seemed to lack the ability to find the back of the net.
And were punished for this when Dungannon squeezed a timid shot into the goals to take a 1-0 advantage. Despite an improved performance from the Town girls, they couldn’t find an equaliser and the game ended in a 1-0 loss.
Randalstown 1st XI 1, North Down 1st XI 1: Randalstown 1st XI opened their Premier League campaign with a Friday night match against newcomers North Down.
Randalstown had lots of attaching play in the opening half but found the North Down keeper and defence cleared their lines saving a couple of goal bound opportunities on the line. North Down were slow to get into the game but had quick forwards and showed skill as well in their play. Despite several good attacking moves, the first half ended scoreless.
The second half started brightly for Town who were rewarded after some good linkage play between the forwards with C-J McDonald rifling a shot into the net past the unknowing keeper.
Town dominated play for passages but couldn’t find the decisive pass or shot to double their lead. North Down kept knocking at the other end and after a succession of short corners got an equaliser. Both teams pressed forward in a search for the winner but it couldn’t be found with both keeper pulling off some fine saves. Town will be content with a point but know it should have been more.
The 1st XI return to action in the Denman UIster Shield on Wednesday evening with an away trip to North Down. Match starts at 7.15pm at Comber Leisure Centre
Randalstown 3rd XI 1, North Down 2nd XI 5: North Down were the first to break through with a goal struck with power from the top of the circle. They then followed this up with another goal after a goal line scrabble when Randalstown failed to successfully clear the ball.
Randalstown however fought back with a short period of pressure resulting in a goal. The ball was crossed over the front of the goal after a great run from Kirsty Manderson to Megan Lamont who shot towards goal and it was helped to the back of the net by Zoe McDowell. Randalstown however could not get another goal to equalise and North down punished this with two further goals from penalty corners before the half time whistle.
The second half saw much more positive play from Randalstown with a great period of pressure on the North down circle and many chances on goal but again they couldn’t convert these chances.
In the final few minutes North down won a penalty corner and after a further 3 corners they scored to make it 5-1.
Randalstown fourths travelled away on Saturday for what they anticipated to be a difficult game against North Down.
The game started with a North Down pass back and the Randalstown defence were quickly put under pressure and several shots were swiftly saved and cleared out to the midfield. The girls in green wasted no time in getting the ball to their forwards were they were unfortunate to have their own shots saved.
North down again were on the offence and again pressurising town’s defence were they eventually scored an unlucky goal past the keeper. The rest of the first half saw Randalstown maintain the majority of possession but before the end Down broke away again where a player skilfully lifted a ball into the nets making the score 2-0.
The second half began with Randalstown midfield made up of Jacqueline Robinson, Debbie Wilson and Tara Robinson working very well together and making some excellent passes and breaking through the home team’s defence but again the forwards of Sammie-Jo Nutter, Becky Hall and Dawn Kennedy were unfortunate to find the back of the goals.
North Down made a quick break which saw them wear down the defence of Kerrie Reid, Lucy Clark, Amy Erskine and Paula Robinson and shoot past Goalkeeper Shirley Reid.
The girls kept their heads up and were unlucky to have a goal disallowed as it was just outside the circle.
North Down scored a last minute goal to leave the score 4-0.
Randalstown 2, Mossley 1: Playing their first game together as a team, Randalstown fell behind when Mossley took an early lead from a penalty corner. Randalstown’s persistence eventually paid off when Ella McCooke equalised.
In the seond half, the Mossley keeper pulled off several good saves before Ella got her second from a reverse strike which proved the winning goal.