Game of two halves as Ballymoney Firsts draw

FAIR ENOUGH. Liz Lamont with Ballymoney Hockey Club's new coach, Richard Fairman.INBM35-15 077SC.
FAIR ENOUGH. Liz Lamont with Ballymoney Hockey Club's new coach, Richard Fairman.INBM35-15 077SC.

Ballymoney played host to Lisnagarvey in their first home league game of the season. Both teams had met recently in the Ulster Shield competition where Ballymoney edged a 2-1 victory.

In a dominant first half performance, Ballymoney opened the scoring on 6 minutes when Suzanna Brown got a deflection on a Bridget Cleland strike from the first short corner of the game.

The home side continued to dictate play through midfield and create problems for the Lisnagarvey defence. Just reward came on 15 minutes when Ballymoney moved the ball around the back and found Diane McNeill on the left. Diane’s weighted pass into the corner was picked up by Nikki Parke, who took on two defenders and unleashed an unstoppable strike from the circle edge to make it 2-0.

Ballymoney keeper Jodie Shannon was called on for the first time on 20 mins in a one on one situation but maintained concentration to see off the danger. Ballymoney won three more corners in the first half but failed to extend their lead.

The second half saw Lisnagarvey come out fighting, taking the game to Ballymoney and they pulled a goal back on 5 mins from open play. This gave the visitors a massive lift, and they grew in belief, becoming a very different team than the first half.

Ballymoney were also a different team than the first half, dropping in confidence and composure to allow Lisnagarvey back into the game.

Bridget Cleland almost made it 3-1 with a fine reverse stick effort from the top of the circle forcing an equally fine save from the Lisnagarvey keeper. Lisnagarvey won four corners in the game, all in the second half. They were rewarded with the equaliser from their third corner on 20 minutes. 
Ballymoney continued to push and dominated the final stages of the game but it was to little too late.

Opportunities came in the form of three corners right at the end of the game but the Lisnagarvey defence held out and the game finished 2-2.

This was very much a game of two halves for Ballymoney with a dominant and positive first half turning into a panicked second half performance with lots of lessons to be learned.

There will be many positives to be taken from the game but also plenty to work on in training before they travel to Portadown on Saturday.