Ballyclare Ladies’ 2-0 local derby win against Larne keeps them in touch with the Senior League Section 1 leaders.
Knock and Banbridge are joint top, with Vikki Bratten’s girls tucked in neatly one point behind, while the Larne lasses are propping up the table, pointless after three outings.
The hosts started strongly at Larne High School grounds, and only timely interventions by Louise Holmes and Jaquie Hanley prevented them from storming in to an early lead.
After a sluggish start the ‘Clare girls began to push forward but four penalty corners failed to produce a score, with shots by Rebekah Beattie and Lorraine Ashcroft blocked.
Approaching the interval Beattie broke the deadlock when she touched home at the back post, after Caroline McGookin and Kerry McLeod had brought the ball in to the circle.
Larne started the second half in top gear. Tamsin Perry worked tirelessly chasing down the ball and keeping Ballyclare pinned in their own half.
A great run from Beth McFerran on the left led to a penalty corner which the Ballyclare defence marshalled by Hanley, who was standing for Jade Purdy at sweeper, managed to clear.
With Caroline Darragh and Sue Dickey prominent in midfield the visitors looked the more likely to score, and eventually Jessica West made the points secure when she connected with a Dickey cross and beat the keeper from close range.
Girl of the Game: Jaquie Hanley.
Ballyclare Ladies panel: S Coulter, J Hanley, L Holmes, C McGookin, K McLeod, L Ashcroft, C Darragh, S Dickey, R Beattie, R Maybin, V Bratten (C), J West.
Larne: L. McClelland, N. Kempton (c), J. Rodgers, K. Neill, L. Booth, G. Rennix, G. Russell, B. McFerran, R. Love, T. Perry, S. McGookin, B. McVeigh, R. Ferran, S. Russell.
Ballyclare officials are sorry to part company with Marina Powers who is moving to England.
Since the re-formation of the club in 1986, Marina has been a stalwart, first as a player and later as an administrator, occupying the position of President for many years. She will be greatly missed.