Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Cliftonville had the better of the early exchanges with Billie Simpson and Marissa Callaghan both getting shots away from inside the box but failing to hit the target, before Callaghan played a ball right across the face of the Ballymena goal but Nikita O'Neill couldn't connect.
The Reds got the breakthrough on 30 minutes when Ballymena conceded a free kick right on the edge of the box straight in front of goal. Callaghan stepped up to take the kick and curled the ball straight into the left hand side of the next.
Going behind sparked Ballymena into life and they instantly responded, seeking an immediate equaliser. Pushing up into the Cliftonville half, the ball fell to Erin Getty 20 yards out but her shot was straight at Reds 'keeper Anna McCleary.
A minute later, Hannah Henderson tried her luck from the with a beautiful long range effort from the left wing, producing an excellent save from McCleary.
Ballymena kept the pressure on with Michelle McDonald also going close before she found Danielle Winter on the left wing from a throw in on 44 minutes.
Winter drove into the box, reaching the by-line before passing the ball across the face of the goal where Rebecca Boyce was waiting to turn it in to the back of the net.
A slower start from both teams in the second half, the first real chance fell to Ballymena when Michelle McDonald had a shot blocked on the inside right of the box with the rebound shot from Rebekah Smyth well saved by the 'keeper.
Cliftonville began to raise their tempo again and Billie Simpson forced a point blank save from Ballymena 'keeper Anna Daley after some good running and a point perfect cross from Megan Weatherall found the striker in the middle of the box.
Daley made another good save a few minutes later when Simpson turned provider from the left hand side, finding Marissa Callaghan in the middle of the box but she hit her shot straight at Daley.
The Reds regained the lead on 68 minutes when Callaghan played a lovely through ball to Simpson and the striker made no mistake this time, lobbing the ball right over the advancing Daley.
Ballymena continued to work hard and pressure for the equaliser and Rebecca Reynolds went agonisingly close to doing so, making a long run from defence to get on the end of a cross from the right by McDonald. Despite connecting well with the ball, she directed the header straight at McCleary.
An end to end final 10 minutes saw both teams work hard for another goal but the match finished 2-1 to the visitors.
Ballymena United All Stars: Daley, Henderson, Getty, Reynolds, Haley, McIntosh, McDonald, A. Smyth, Boyce, R. Smyth subs Stevenson (not used), McCartney (replaced Getty 75), Henry (replaced R. Smyth 57)
Cliftonville Ladies: McCleary, McCarthy, Service, Moran, Kelly, McAleese, Weatherall, O'Neill, Simpson, Burgess, M. Callaghan subs Orr (replaced O'Neill 68), Dodds (not used), Cargill (replaced McAleese 76), Dunn (replaced Weatherall 90+1)
Referee: Kyle Barr
|Megan Weatherall||90 +1|
|Cathy Dunn||90 +1|