COLERAINE Ladies were narrowly defeated by Larne on Thursday night but boss Alison Nicholl hopes her side can take the positives out of a great performance…
The Bannsiders took a first-half lead through Storm Ballantyne with ‘keeper Cerys Sharkey also saving a spot kick.
However, the visitors – who have yet to taste defeat this season – would end up leaving with all three points through goals from Elle Houston and Amanda Morton.
Speaking to colerainefc.com, boss Nicholl admits some of her squad were a little bit nervous after a heavy defeat against the same opposition earlier in the season.
“It was very exciting game against Larne,” she said.
“I think my girls were panicking about how it would go after losing the last game 7-1 but we knew we showed them too much respect in that game.
“We started very well, came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders which was great to see after our defeat to Crewe.
“Larne were very composed on the ball, they are an experienced team who haven’t lost a game all season.
“It was end to end stuff, we had a couple of opportunities in the first 10 or 15 minutes as did they.
“On 25 minutes, we broke and after Abby Alexander had a shot saved, Storm Ballantyne who is only 14 followed up for her first senior goal for Coleraine which was very pleasing.
“Larne continued to put the pressure on and we had to soak it all up in the last ten minutes of the first half.
“Five minutes before the break, their right winger drove into the penalty box and we gave away a penalty but Cerys Sharkey made a tremendous save to keep us 1-0 up at half-time.”
Despite being unable to soak up Larne’s pressure after the break, Nicholl was pleased to see her side fight until the end.
“Larne were continuing to press and it came within ten minutes of the restart as it was a well worked goal which left our ‘keeper with no chance,” she added.
“It was a physical game as well but we got stuck in.
“Larne got the breakthrough ten minutes before the end as a good pass from left to right got their striker through and she calmly rolled the ball into the net.
“We were still in the game with Abby Alexander having one final chance for us saved.
“The game finished 2-1 to Larne but it was a pleasing performance right across the pitch as they haven’t been beaten this season.
“We can confidence from that ahead of the visit of Portadown on Wednesday.
“We are struggling most weeks with part time jobs to get a consistent team but we had Olivia Doherty back which strengthened us.
“We had Kitty Greer back as well and her father Michael very kindly sponsored the match ball.”