Coleraine ladies kicked off their season with a fine 3-2 win over Portadown Integrated Ladies.
The goals came from new full back signing Laura Doey, and a brace from player-manager Alison Nicholl.
Coleraine started positively, pressing the Portadown goal persistently whilst keeping a high line at the back and marking Portadown attacking players out of the game.
They were rewarded inside 15 minutes when Laura Doey slotted home from a set piece.
Having taken the lead, Coleraine sat back and soon found themselves defending deep into their own half, struggling to contain the pace of Portadown’s right wing and centre forward.
As a result Portadown scored two before the break, playing impressive high tempo football to outpace Coleraine’s midfield and defence. Coleraine left the field at half-time 2-1 down.
After a half-time team talk by Alison Nichol and skipper Shairee Nicholl, Coleraine came out determined from the beginning of the second half.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 55th minute when Alison Nicholl fired home skilfully from outside the Portadown box to make the score 2-2. With Portadown on the back foot, their defence continued to be split by through balls from Coleraine’s backs and midfield who showed good link up play. Coleraine were again rewarded, their third goal coming again from Alison who slotted home after hard work from Lauren Marshall in the middle of the park and Kirsty Gillis on left wing. With Portadown struggling to contain Coleraine forwards, the referee awarded Coleraine an indirect free kick on the edge of the eighteen yard box after the Portadown keeper handled outside her area. The reaction of already frustrated Portadown players led to the dismissal of one midfielder, reducing the Ports to 10 women. Portadown battled hard but Coleraine continued to exert pressure until the referee blew the final whistle.
Final score Coleraine 3-2 Portadown.