Glentoran win as game shortened due to keeper inju

May 21 2014 11:14 PM

A solitary goal from 15 year old substitute Katie Martin after 72 min was enough to take all three points from a spirited Ballymena side in a game that was called off due to goalkeeper Ciara McCoy suffering concussion.

The injury came as she bravely dived at the feet of Glentoran's Annie Timoney to gather the ball and was caught by an honest challenge from the forwards leading foot, a problem which was then compounded as she hit her head of the ground when she landed.

The game itself was quite an entertaining affair, with a confident Glentoran side attacking right from the start. This early pressure almost paid off after 2 minutes when Northern Ireland international midfielder Demi Vance flicked the ball into the path of Rebecca Bassett, who tried an audacious chip, only for keeper Ciara McCoy make a smart save. Vance herself forced another good save from the keeper when she hit a rasping free kick that was parried over.

The first real Ballymena chance came in the 6th minute when they headed a corner just over the bar with Glentoran goalkeeper Ash McKinnon well beaten. Glentoran then upped the pressure and chances from Vance and fellow internatioanl Nadene Caldwell required good saves to keep the score at 0-0.

Glentoran should have taken the lead when the ball was played across the goal after a surging run from pacey winger Lauren Wade, when a slip from Ballymena centre back Rebekah Reynolds allowed Annie Timoney to get a powerful drive away, but she couldn't get any real direction on the shot, and it was parried away by keeper McCoy.

This proved to be the story of the remaining time of the half, with efforts from Caldwell, Vance, Wade, Timoney and Bassett all being met by the gloves of McCoy or just going narrowly wide.

However the Glens thought the relentless pressure had paid off when a Kelly Baillie free kick was hit into the box and after bouncing around fell at the feet of Bassett, who finished via the bottom of the crossbar from close range. However the goal was correctly ruled out, as she was standing in an offside position when she received it.

The second half began in a slightly more balanced fashion, and Ballymena were able pass the ball around for spells. However it was Glentoran who had the first chance of the half when Lauren Wade was played through by an incisive pass from midfield, however she was just unable to beat the onrushing McCoy, who cleared the ball out to safety.

Ballymena kept playing their football and their best chance of the game came after 49 minutes, then the ball was played from the right into the path of number 7 Clare Timoney, who swivelled and hit the ball first time from 20 yards. She hit it sweetly and keeper McKinnon was never getting to it, so it was no surprise to hear sighs of relief from the Glentoran touchline when the effort went just wide of the top left corner.

Glentoran replied and again thought they had taken the lead after 55 min when Caldwell hit a dipping effort from 25 yards, but back pedalling McCoy managed to catch it just under the crossbar.

After this both defences dominated for a period, restricting the attackers to very few chances. It was the 72nd minute before the next chance game, and it proved to be the decisive one, as Wade ran onto another quality through ball and squared it across goal for youngster Katie Martin to sidefoot home to give the visiting team a slender, but deserved advantage.

It was the last meaningful action of the game, except for the accidental collision between Timoney and McCoy which left the keeper alert but concussed, so an ambulance was called as it was a head injury. By the time it arrived the light was fading, so the referee made the correct decision to end the game after 79 minutes with the score standing at 1-0.

Credit must go to the Ballymena players who put in a really good battling performance. Special mention must be given to both keeper Ciara McCoy, who was absolutely outstanding and made save after save, and centre back Rebekah Reynolds who made a number of crucial tackles and won a number of important headers to keep Glentoran at bay for the majority of the game. They will hope to build on this spirited performance in their next game, away to 3rd placed Linfield ladies.

Glentoran will be happy to take all three points back to Belfast and maintain their 100% league record, which will be tested by a improved Cliftonville side in the next round of fixtures.