Ballyclare Ladies failed to halt the Banbridge charge towards the Premier League as they lost out in Saturday’s Senior 1 clash.
Four behind at the interval, Caroline Darragh’s girls conceded another in the second session in a comprehensive 5-0 defeat in Banbridge.
The ‘Clare girls travelled to County Down minus Rebecca Beattie, Louise Holmes and Jordan Jones and they were soon under the cosh against the runaway leaders who have dropped only one point in 10 outings.
Goalkeeper Sara Coulter was seldom out of the action, while her opposite number was almost a spectator in a one-sided first half in which the hosts scored four without reply after taking an early lead.
Ballyclare began the second session more positively, but found it difficult to penetrate a home defence that had conceded only six goals to date, with Suzanne Dickey, Jaquie Hanley, Rebecca Campbell and Jessica West restricted to half-chances.
At the opposite end, Coulter pulled off a marvellous low save from a penalty stroke, but was beaten a fifth time near the end from open play.
The win leaves Banbridge six points clear at the summit with three games in hand, while Darragh’s girls remain in mid-table, well clear of relegation candidates Victorians and Larne.
Ballyclare Ladies’ panel: S Coulter, J Purdy, K McLeod, C McGookin, R Campbell, S Dickey, C Darragh, L Ashcroft, J Hanley, V White, R Maybin, J West.
On Saturday, Ballyclare face another difficult hurdle when second-placed Knock will be in town.