Money title challenge on track

ON Saturday Ballymoney played host to Ards in their latest premier league fixture with the home side needing nothing but a victory to keep their league form on track.

Ballymoney had to refocus their attention to the league after their Ulster Shield triumph during the week. The home side were without the services of Jessica Lynch due to work commitments.

Ballymoney were slow to start and lacked some composure early on. They gradually settled into the game and begun to dictate the play through Bridget Cleland, Nikki Parke and Julie Nelson in midfield.

Up front, Jill Kennedy, Katie Mullan and Emma Lynch continued to cause the Ards defence trouble and won three corners in the first half.

The Ards defence held strong and saw off and threat Ballymoney had. In the dying minutes of the first half Nikki Parke intercepted an Ards clearance and had the awareness to send the ball straight back into the danger area. Katie Mullan picked the ball up and found Jill Kennedy free on the penalty spot.

Jill continued her goal scoring exploits from the Ulster Shield final to give Ballymoney the lead just before the half time whistle.

Ballymoney upped the ante the second half and controlled the second half from early on right from the back with Jenna Holmes in goals controlling her defensive line of Angela Huey, Susie Martin, Lauren Barr and Gayle Adams. Ards were chasing the game and Ballymoney should have gone further ahead with chances from Aine Kearney, Jill Kennedy and Katie Mullan all going narrowly wide.

Again a quick decision from Nikki Parke found Aine Kearney free at the top of the circle.

Aine’s first time pass found Jill Kennedy in the circle. Jill kept her composure and beat one defender and then left the keeper stranded to double her goal tally for the day and double the Ballymoney lead. Ards didnt give up and fought back with a consolation goal four minutes from time. Ballymoney held out and claimed another three league points.