Strikes by Jaquie Hanley and Kerrie Bell secured Ballyclare Ladies’ second win of the season, but they had to come from behind to collect full points.
The Ballymena girls came to Foundry Lane as favourites in this Senior League Section 1 fixture, and started promisingly by turning round one up, but the ‘Clare girls rammed in two in the second session to clinch the 2-1 win.
In the seventh minute home goalie Sara Coulter made an excellent double-save, but was beaten at the third attempt by a Braid striker who rattled the backboard with a firm finish.
Suzanne Dickey’s girls replied with a series of attacks, but shots by Kerry McLeod, Dickey, Hanley and Bell failed to beat the busy keeper, while Coulter, at the opposite end, had a much easier time.
Five minutes after the break the scores were level when Dickey threaded the ball through for Hanley to get her name on the scorecard.
A heavy rain shower made playing conditions difficult for both teams, so with passes going astray there was little to get excited about in either circle.
However, around the hour mark Kerrie Bell blasted in the winner with a low diagonal shot that gave the keeper no chance.
When Ballymena pushed players forward in the final quarter in an attempt to salvage a point, Gillian McMaw and Louise Holmes tackled tenaciously, with Coulter restricted to making a couple of blocks.
The win leap-frogs the Clare girls over their Ballymena opponents in to the top half of the table for the first time this season.
Ballyclare Ladies’ panel: S Coulter, G McMaw, V White, L Holmes, C McGookin, L Ashcroft, S Dickey (C), K McLeod, J Fox, K Bell, L McKinstry, J Purdy, J Hanley.
A Zoe Hunter double secured the Junior League Section 2 points for the 2nd XI against Dromore II.
Owing to a pitch being unavailable in Ballyclare, this match was staged at Larne High School grounds where Kirsty Shanks starred at left-back by combining strong tackling with attacking play.
Fixtures: 1st XI v Banbridge, away; 2nd XI v Belfast Harlequins III, away, McConnell Shield; 3rd XI v Saintfield III, home, Junior Cup.