Release Date: 30/09/2011
Author: By Graeme Beggs
Crusaders Strikers gained revenge for last season’s loss to Glentoran Belfast United in the Coca-Cola Women’s Irish Cup Final at a rain-soaked Solitude. In a game played with passion and determination by both teams, the final certainly lived up to expectations.
GBU settled the better of the two teams and dominated the early exchanges. Nadine Caldwell saw her dipping lob fall just over the Strikers goal, while Kelly Bailie shot wide when breaking from midfield. Gail Macklin will feel she should have done better when shooting straight at the keeper from 6 yards out.
The girls from the Shore Road finally came into the game on the half hour mark playing some nice possession football with GBU having to defend for really the first time on the game. When the Crues did find an opening , Sara Booth could not get her shot away when well placed in the box.
However GBU were still a threat going forward with Kelly Bailie a constant menace to the Crusaders defence with her crosses from the left wing. With half time fast approaching Catherine O’Hagan spurned two glorious chances for GBU bringing a terrific reflex save from Angela Platt and shooting narrowly wide from inside the box.
Half time 0 – 0
GBU suffered an early blow in the second half with Claire Rea having to come off with a leg injury to be replaced by Jessica Foy, but this didn’t have any effect on GBU as they continued to threaten the Crusaders goal.
The Strikers main threat came from set pieces and this is where the opening goal came from. A free kick to the back post found Crusaders’ Helen McKenna unmarked to fire a header past Alice Harkness in the GBU goal. 1-0 Crusaders Strikers.
GBU had more urgency to their play now forcing Crusaders onto the back foot, who seemed content to play on the break. Kelly Bailie saw two shots saved while Ashley Hutton had a header hacked off the line. With the rain falling heavily onto Solitude, Crusaders found themselves sitting deeper and deeper, but their defence, marshalled by Sara Booth and Kim McMullan still held firm.
As the minutes ticked away GBU threw everything they had at the Strikers defence but it was Nicola McWilliams who broke down the field to make the game safe for Crusaders Strikers as she rounded the ‘keeper and calmly rolled the ball into an empty net.
Crusaders Strikers 2 – 0 Glentoran Belfast United
Coca-Cola Player of the Match: Kim McMullan
Platt, Dickinson, Booth, McMullan, Murphy, Connelly, Patterson, Carson, McCarthy, McKenna, McDaid. Substitutes: Murray, Shaw, Stewart, McWilliams, Docherty
Glentoran Belfast United
Harkness, Corry, Quigley, Hutton, Caldwell, Macklin, Rea, Vance, Doran, O’Hagan, Bailie.
Substitutes: Milligan, Foy, Downey, Duffy, Farrell
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