This game at Parkway, Comber was the deciding match for the Division 3 climax.
It has been a thrilling NIWFA Concentrix Technologies league this year with most of the teams scoring lots of goals. Unbeaten Fermanagh Mallards, just needed a draw to be the Champions and they would win. However, if Comber Rec Ladies won they would be Champions so the game started on a knife edge. Comber are a young and up and coming team would be challenging Fermanagh for every ball to win Division 3 and be crowned Champions at their home ground at the end of the night. That was a great incentive.
On a windy night both sets of teams started lively but struggled to keep the ball on the ground because of the blustery conditions. Both teams battled down the wings and put lots of pressure on each other to make mistakes. Comber Rec Ladies' Laura Stewart had a shot but the Mallards keeper Cleona Bogue turned it round the post to lead to a corner which was cleared competently. Tackles were frantic as this match had a feeling of an FA cup final. Ashley McBride crossed in a great ball to Debbie Ferguson but it was turned away for another corner. Fermanagh number 4 took a free kick but it was too close to the keeper and it was competently dealt with by Naomi McKnight. Laura Stewart drove through the middle of the park but the shot was well wide. Both teams were cancelling each other and the excitement was building. Another corner from the left just zipped over the top of the bar. Comber Rec Ladies were getting closer and closer. On the right wing Comber's Megan Gore was through on a one to one with only Brogue to beat but sent the shot wide.
Fermanagh Mallards Ladies were soaking up a lot of pressure until eventually Gore cut back inside to thread a ball to Debbie Ferguson who didn't miss as she coolly slotted it past the keeper (Comber Rec Ladies 1 - 0 Fermanagh Mallards Ladies). Fermanagh's Nicola Hynds pushed through but again it was dealt with competently. Gore linked up with Olivia Brown from a throw and Brown took a shot that the keeper could not hold (Comber Rec Ladies 2 - 0 Fermanagh Mallards). Louise Thompson for Fermanagh struck a great shot that just went wide. Brown hustled and bustled down the wing to receive another free kick - Ferguson controlled the ball and shot an unstoppable ball past the unfortunate keeper to make it Comber Rec Ladies 3 - 0 Fermanagh Mallards Ladies.
Danielle Boyd was again strong down the left wing and crossed for sub Lindsay Johnston who tucked it neatly into the corner for goal number 4 (Comber Rec Ladies 4 - 0 Fermanagh Mallards Ladies). Comber were cruising at this stage but Fermanagh kept attacking and Nicola Hynds had a shot on target but the keeper got her body confidently behind the ball. Their sub Lisa Woods had a chance soon after but with light fading it was a difficult chance and she just missed. McKnight pulled off a fabulous save from Alice Hurst to keep her clean sheet. Comber kept looking for more goals and Fermanagh's Ruth McClean constantly kept cutting out through balls and chances. Stewart followed the ball after a possible penalty shout - the ball stayed in and cut back for Ferguson who scored and achieved another hat trick. (Comber Rec Ladies 5 - 0 Fermanagh Mallard Ladies). Eimear Keenan nearly scored a consolation goal in the dying seconds.
The match had to be abandoned on 72 minutes due to poor light. Both teams will be promoted and will fit neatly into NIWFA Concentrix Technologies Division 2. Comber Rec Ladies were definitely deserved winners on the night playing with passion and style - worthy Champions, and Fermanagh were certainly excellent runners up. The party had only started at Parkway when their captain Caroline Walker lifted the cup proudly aloft. Fermanagh Mallards Ladies had a long journey home but next Thursday 4th September they still have a chance of silver ware against Craigavon City Ladies at Holm Park, Armagh 7.30pm KO.
Final score 5 - 0
(Report by Rosie McKee)