Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Derry City Ladies began a new chapter in the Danske Bank Women's Premiership by hosting defending champions Linfield Ladies, a tough opener made more difficult in windy conditions.
Derry, playing with the wind in the first half didn't really use it to their advantage, and failed to have any long range efforts on target. They did threat a few times with Rachel Barnaby starting to show what she is capable of and good work rate from Lauren Cregan that lacked the final finish.
But, after around half-of-an-hour of good resiliant defending the deadlock was broken, with Kirsty McGuinness firing past Noamh Barr in the Derry net.
Derry came close again with Lauren Cregan chasing down a ball over the top passing to Barnaby who was unable to finish. Only a few minutes later a Megan Bell effort hit the post after a shot from the edge of the area.
The second half was a totally different affair. Within 30 seconds of the restart Alison Smyth had doubled Linfield's lead, pouncing on a loose ball to convert from just inside the box.
With the wind behind them Linfield continued to apply pressure and a second Megan Bell drive from distance hit the post.
Linfield went 3-0 ahead on 50 minutes when Bell fired home from distance and opened up a real margin between the sides.
Just after the hour mark Linfield made the changes when Kelsey Burrows, Amber Dempster and Rebecca McKenna came on for Abbie Magee, Sarah Venney and Louise McDaniel.
Another long range Megan Bell strike in the 71st minute made it 4-0 to the champions.
On 81 minutes a left wing corner was pushed onto the bar and Jennifer McDade was on hand to head in Linfield’s 5th of the night from close range.
In the 85th minute a terrific shot from distance by Amber Dempster crashed against the crossbar and on 88 minutes Chloe McCarron who turned in a very assured performance in midfield all evening, scored Linfield's sixth goal with a classy finish from the edge of the box.
In the 89th minute Amber Dempster was upended in the box and Megan Bell stepped up to convert from the spot for her hat-trick goal and Linfield's seventh.
Derry City Ladies: Barr, Doherty, McKeever, Dunne, McMullan, Connolly, Lapsley, Logue, Walsh, Barnaby, Cregan subs G. McGuinness (replaced N. Connolly 52), Curran (not used), Cunningham (replaced Logue 52), Coll (not used), Lavery (not used)
Linfield Ladies: Perry, Myles, Robson, Magee, McDade, Venney, McCarron, McDaniel, Bell, Smyth, McGuinness subs McKenna (replaced McDaniel 60), Dempster (replaced Magee 60), Burrows (replaced Venney 60)
Referee: Barry Devenney