Morganne Beggs (25)
Emily Wilson (36)
Morganne Beggs (66)
Morganne Beggs (68)
Nicole Connolly (88)

5

Kerrie Burns (60)

1

Morganne Beggs grabbed a hat-trick for Crusaders (Picture: Tony Hendron/PressEye.com)

MORGANNE BAGS A HAT-TRICK FOR CRUES

Morganne Beggs claimed the match ball with a hat-trick as Crusaders Strikers took on Portadown Ladies in soaring temperatures after defeating them in last week's Irish Cup.

The home side opened the scoring midway through the first half. Heather Mearns won the ball from the Portadown full back on the half way line, before sliding in Emily Wilson down the right who beat the covering centre half, Wilson's super ball across the box meant that Beggs didn't have to break her stride to finish confidently.

Wilson went from provider to scorer, Hayley O'Donnell finding her forward run for the 16 year old to finish across the Portadown keeper to double the lead.

Crusaders made two changes at half time with Danielle McDowell and Grace Murray replacing Hayley O'Donnell and Mairead McCann. Crusaders created a number of chances before Portadown pulled one back when Kerrie Burns scored a free kick from just outside the 18 yard box, a well placed shot riffled into the roof of the net leaving stand in keeper Caitlyn Hamilton no chance of making a save.

Crusaders pulled one back almost straight away, debutant Sarah Haddock feeding McDowell the ball who picked out a well timed run by Beggs who beat the offside trap to fire the ball across the goalkeeper.

McDowell and Beggs linked up again in quick succession, this time McDowell's dink over the defence set Beggs clear, the young striker showed great awareness to take the ball around the onrushing keeper and slot the ball into the empty goal with her left foot, securing her hat trick.

Substitute Nicole Connolly was next to get in on the act with Wilson again the provider.

Crusaders Strikers: Hamilton, Archibald, Armour, Nelson, Haddock, Mearns, O'Donnell, Moore, McCann, Beggs, Wilson subs Murray (replaced McCann 46), Carson (not used), McDowell (replaced O'Donnell 46), McGivern (not used), Connolly (replaced Archibald 61)

Portadown Ladies: McCabe, Henderson, McAllister, Adamson, Ruddy, McConnell, Burns, Donaldson, Clements, McKenna, Silva subs Bolger (replaced Adamson 79), Kerr (replaced Donaldson 46)

Referee: Neil McArdle