On a sunny evening at Parkway, Comber Rec Ladies were playing in their penultimate home game of the season and they started lively with Laura Stewart bombing down the left wing. However, she was well tackled by Craigavon City Ladies' defence and a good save meant the match started tight. With Comber vying for the top spot of Concentrix Division 3 and Craigavon aiming to maintain third spot it was always going to be a pulsating evening.
In the 10th minute Comber's Debbie Ferguson took a long range shot that the Craigavon keeper Mairead Connolly stood no chance with (Comber Rec 1 - 0 Craigavon City Ladies). Soon after, neat interplay in the Comber midfield led to another goal on 15 minutes for Debbie Ferguson (Comber Rec 2 - 0 Craigavon City Ladies). A strong, stoic defence from Comber prevented Craigavon from breaking through from midfield. However, feisty Craigavon kept up their momentum and kept challenging for every ball. They received their just rewards when Sara Neville scored a wonder goal which everyone was thinking was going just over the bar. Incredibly, at the last second her lob just dipped under the post leaving the Comber goalkeeper stranded. The game was only 22 minutes in and already on a knife edge (Comber Rec 2 – 1 Craigavon City Ladies).
Ferguson was always looking for her hat trick but the Craigavon goalkeeper Mairead Connolly was commanding and did sweeper keeper, sending a perfect clearance up the pitch. Craigavon were now hungry for their second goal to make the match all square. Strong running up the left wing from Caroline Laird and great interplay with Rebecca Lavery showed their potential but this was nullified with Comber remaining solid at the back. With more pressure, Comber were rewarded with a corner and Laura Stewart coolly volleyed into the net for number 3 (Comber Rec 3 - 1 Craigavon City Ladies). Craigavon's Lavery continued to cause problems but Comber’s Caroline Walker marshalled the back four well. Craigavon tried their best but the defence, especially Ashley McBride matched them all the way and made some great tackles. There seemed no way through for Craigavon.
Half time score Comber Rec 3 - 1 Craigavon City Ladies
The pressure was mounting as Comber starting spreading the ball wide using the width of the pitch - they were still eager for more goals. However, Craigavon nearly scored next when a kick out by the keeper was intercepted by Lavery but the keeper Naomi McKnight pulled off a fabulous one handed save. It was not to be for the City girls and Dani Boyd, on 61 minutes, scored a cracking shot from just past half way and it sailed into the net (Comber Rec 4 - 1 Craigavon City Ladies).
With confidence soaring, Comber's Megan Gore burst through on a solo run and finished with an empathetic strike (Comber Rec 5 - 1 Craigavon City Ladies). Comber had stepped up a gear and showed their power in the chase for top position in Concentrix Division 3. Debbie Ferguson eventually accomplished her hat-trick on 78 minutes after the Craigavon keeper came off the line and the clearance ricocheted to the ever alert Ferguson, who was on fire, and did not miss the empty net (Comber Rec 6 - 1 Craigavon City Ladies).
The game finished 6 – 1 and it sets up an exciting shoot out in two weeks' time . If Comber Rec Ladies and Fermanagh Mallards Ladies win their next games then at Parkway is not to be missed as it should be the decider for the Concentrix Division 3 title.
Commenting after the game Comber Rec Manager Winky Kerr said, “The season has been a great one to date and this is all down to the commitment and dedication of all the girls. They certainly showed their strength tonight and their final home match is set to be a cracker if tonight is anything to go by”.