Coleraine 2s welcomed their league rivals Portadown 3s to Rugby Avenue for a quarterfinal match in the Junior Cup, with both sides closely matched they knew it would likely be a tight encounter.
It was a slightly reshuffled Coleraine team that started the match and initially it was a cagey affair as both sides tried to suss out the opposition but not give anything away. Portadown were soon in the attack and keeper Beth McMullan was quickly in the action, but with help from the Jinks’ sisters and the experience of Ursula Harper they were able to keep the visitors out. Ruth Adams carried out an excellent man-marking role on veteran Portadown forward Wendy Cowan to help keep her quiet!
With quick counterattacking by the home side the Portadown defence were soon under pressure but they defended well and despite good work by Louise Dornan and Zoe Jackson in midfield and some super runs by Helen McCallum and a number of shots on target, Coleraine were unable to break through.
Portadown had their chances too and four penalty corners were successfully defended by the home defence so that as half time came the game remained scoreless.
From the restart it was a different game, Aurora Watson and Emma Jamison grabbed control of the game in midfield and with quick passing down the flanks, Coleraine started to dominate play and create a number of chances. Four minutes in and some nifty stick work in the Portadown circle saw Aurora Watson get the decisive strike and give the home side the lead.
Although the visitors did break through on a number of occasions, these were calmly dealt with by Ursula Harper and Ciara Richmond, and Coleraine keeper Beth had a quiet second half.
Probing runs down both flanks by Sasha Richardson and Zoe Campbell helped create more chances for the home team, but that second goal proved elusive, despite the best efforts of Helen McCallum and Bekah Kennedy; the former in particular proving a constant thorn in Portadown’s side!
The drama of the match was heightened by a couple of self inflicted injuries to Portadown players , but hopefully none too serious, and as the clock counted down Coleraine held their nerve and the lead as the final whistle blew with a 1-0 win.
Many thanks to Robin Peacock for umpiring, great to see you back on the pitch.
So the Cup run continues and Coleraine await news of their rivals in the semifinals, which will again be played at home.
Meanwhile Coleraine Threes hosted Holywood Seconds.
The game started with the young home side in control and with brilliant work by Ellie Legge and Alice Reid on the left the pressure was put onto the away team.
Clare Hodges took the ball right to the back line and with her experience she made no mistake in hitting the back board with the narrowest of angles.
Holywood responded though and drew themselves level shortly after.
The home forwards of Racheal, Anna, Lyndsay and Zoe kept the pressure on and it paid off with a much deserved second goal. However just before the half time whistle Holywood equalised again
With numerous penalty corners Coleraine eventually put one of these in the back of the net as Emma made no mistake. Coleraine worked very hard and managed to keep this lead until the final whistle to secure the points.
Thanks to Willie, and Dee Dee who stayed to help the 3rds on the bench and also to Shaun Hartin for umpiring.