LATE SPOT KICK SECURES POINT FOR SKY BLUES
In challenging weather conditions, Ballymena United Women welcomed Mid Ulster Ladies to the Showgrounds in a massive match at the foot of the table.
The first chance fell to the visitors on six minutes when Aimee McClure’s well struck shot was on target but well held by Lucy Winton in the Ballymena net.
The hosts were forced into an early change on 8 minutes, when Kerry Eddis picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Sarah Livingstone.
Just a minute later, Mid Ulster took the lead when Niamh O’Donnell beat the United midfield to the ball, drove forward, shrugging off two players to place a fantastic shot in the bottom right corner.
Mid Ulster worked to extend their lead but Ballymena got back into it on 19 minutes through some great football. A throw was Nicole Burns was cleverly left by Sarah Livingstone for Lucy Kirgan to pick up and send the ball across the pitch to Danielle Winter.
Winter’s deft flick was straight into the path of Katie Wallace’s run into the box and her shot crossed the line to the delight of the Sky Blues.
Both teams were relentless and Mid Ulster should have regained the lead on 30 minutes when Laura Kelly shot straight at the keeper from six yards out.
It was then Ballymena’s turn to go close, with Lilie Crooks saving well from Ellen McClure who looked set to score having shown good strength in the box.
Mid Ulster started the second half the stronger of the teams and executed a set piece to perfection, with Niamh O’Donnell whipping a brilliant free kick into the box for Laura Kelly to head home on 55 minutes.
United should have been back on equal terms five minutes later when Danielle Winter got in behind the defence and squared the box to Ellen McClure in the box but her shot was straight at Crooks.
Both sides had more chances and in injury time, Ballymena were awarded a penalty following a hand ball in the box. Danielle Winter stepped home and calmly slotted home to secure a dramatic point for the Sky Blues.
In the aftermath of the goal, Sharagh Murphy was shown a red card. An end to end, fiercely competitive game ended all square, leaving both sides still battling for survival in the Sport’s Direct Women’s Premiership.