THE Senior 1 relegation battle went right to the wire when Larne drove the final nail into Ballyclare’s coffin at the weekend.
Ballyclare’s slender hopes of avoiding the play-off depended upon the outcome of their final fixture at Larne High School grounds on Saturday afternoon, but although a Sue Dickey strike earned a 1-1 draw and took their points tally to 16, they needed at least 18 to have a chance of survival.
That result secured continued membership of Section 1 for the Larne girls, but condemned Dickey’s side to a play-off - probably against Carrick.
In contrast, Larne Ladies sitting on 18 points with one fixture to fulfil, could end up in a respectable midtable position by leap-frogging Omagh and NICS. At the opposite end of the table Belfast Harlequins, who have gone through the campaign undefeated, will be promoted, with Lisnagarvey qualifying for the play-off position.
The ‘Clare girls had to come from behind in midweek to secure an odd goal in three win against Civil Service.
Service had opened the scoring before Vikki Milligan restored parity following fine set-up play by Dickey. With both teams keen to collect full points there was plenty of activity in the circles.
Claire Grills made a couple of excellent saves as did her opposite number, but it was a penalty flick which ensured that Ballyclare would go into Saturday’s crucial clash in Larne, with their slim survival hopes still alive.
Kerri Bell won the flick, and Emma Patterson held her nerve to coolly slot home from the spot.
Ballyclare Ladies panel for the two games: Claire Grills, Louise Holmes, Emma Patterson, Nicky McMillan, Jade Purdy, Lorraine Ashcroft, Victoria White, Vikki Milligan, Suzanne Dickey (Capt.), Kerrie Bell, Tori Wallace, Jaquie Hanley, Caroline McGookin, Kerry McLeod.