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Ladies make home comforts count

COLERAINE Ladies have it all to play for after picking up four points from two home games this week…

Coleraine Ladies have come through two of their three games in seven days, a tough schedule for the girls with two league games and a semi final to play. The first of those matches saw Carmoney Athletic travel to the University last Thursday night. The Ladies didn’t get off to their usual good start, with no games over the holiday period really told the story as the Ladies seemed slow and found it hard to get into the game early on.

It only took Carnmoney seven minutes to get on the score sheet when a ball dropped in behind the defence and their player ran in and slotted past ‘keeper Emma McCauley. Coleraine started to play a bit; Skye Strickland laid the ball back to Alison Nicholl who found Abbey Alexander on the wing, Abbey returned the pass for Alison to level the score on 22 minutes. Coleraine then took the lead when a long ball played over the top found Abbey Alexander on the left who squared the ball for Carla Dixie to stick it in the bottom corner on 24 minutes.

The second-half saw Coleraine caught cold again as Carnmoney broke down the left-hand side into the box to square to an on-rushing player to make the score 2-2. Coleraine took the lead again on 72 minutes when Alison Nicholl and Alicia Wilkinson linked up for Alison Nicholl to be set free and slot in Coleraine’s third goal and her second of the game. The lead didn’t last long again when Shairee McVey headed clear from a corner Carnmoney fired in a long-range effort to make it 3 -3 on the night as both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.

The Ladies then took on Chimney Corner at home on Monday night, very much wanting to push on in the league, the stifling heat was a struggle but the girls were determined to put in a better performance, and that they did. Emma McCauley made a good save on the 20 minute mark when Chimney Corner fired in a long-range effort. Coleraine were playing some nice football and found their passing game when a through ball ran onto their keeper, only for her clearance to bounce off their own player, and land at the feet of Abbey Alexander to put the Coleraine side ahead.

The Ladies were playing some good stuff from the front to the back. On 29 minutes, a long ball from the back was knocked down by Skye Strickland to Sam Miskimmon who once again set Abbey Alexander off out wide. Rather than pass Abbey saw the keeper of her line and struck one from outside the 18-yard box to score Coleraine’s second of the game. At the other end, Shairee McVey, Lizzy McNougher, Cailtlin Gourey and Megan Alexander were standing up and winning their battles as and when needed and managing to play the ball out to set up attacks when possible.

Carla Dickie won a free-kick on the half way line, Shairee McVey saw the Chimney Corner keeper off her line so hit an early free-kick, but unfortunately her effort went wide of the post. The Ladies then had a corner whipped in by Kirsty Gillis, with the clearance falling to Lauren Marshall only for her strike to land straight at the keeper.

The second-half saw the sun go down but the same can’t be said for both teams as Chimney Corner were still in the game and the Coleraine Ladies were looking more goals. Kirsty Gillis found herself through on goal when Megan Alexander played her in down the line, however their goalkeeper done well closing down the space and clearing the ball. On 56 minutes, Kirsty Gillis won a free-kick through sheer hard work and determination 25 yards out from goal. Up stepped Captain Shairee McVey to convert the free-kick nicely into the opposite top corner putting the Ladies 3-0 ahead.

Chimney Corner got on the attack again almost getting in behind the solid back line only for Lizzy McNougher to come across and clear her lines. Coleraine then had a goal chalked off for a dubious offside call when strikers Skye Strickland and Carla Dickie linked up for Carla to finish off a nice move thinking she had scored a good goal only to be left disappointed. Emma McCauley then got down well to her left to palm away a long-range effort and after the resulting corner was well dealt with, Coleraine went on the attack again only for the final whistle to halt them, winning the game 3-0.

A result which will give the girls confidence heading into their semi-final of the Division Two Cup on Thursday night at home against Ballymacash Ladies.

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