MID-ULSTER WREAK REVENGE IN DRAMATIC FASHION
The first round of the N.I.W.F.A. Cup saw the Cookstown girls travel to Armagh to take on the team who had beaten them the previous week. Coach Noel Mitchell was forced to make some positional changes due to the absence of players, but the girls were still determined to turn around last weeks result.
Mid-Ulster started strongly with Laura Burton, reunited with her old striking partner Stacey Hodgett, starting were she had left off the previous week in torturing the Armagh defence. The Armagh defence were unable to contain the Mid-Ulster onslaught and wingers Julie Kirkpatrick and Michelle Derby found plenty of room to whip crosses into the Armagh penalty box. Julie used the ball excellently, and released Laura on the left wing for her first goal. Laura ran at the Armagh defence, cut inside the last defender and curled an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner of the goal.
Mid-Ulster pressed forward again, hoping to consolidate their lead, and kept the beleaguered Armagh team constantly in their own half. The pressure paid off when one of Michelle's weaving right wing runs found Heather Hunniford unmarked on the edge of the penalty box. Heather crossed the ball across the goal mouth and Julie was unfortunate not to covert her header, but she had done enough to put the Armagh keeper off and her fumbled catch fell onto the deadly accurate right boot of Laura Burton.
Laura was determined to get her hat-trick in style and when another defence splitting pass from mid-fielder Pamela Bates found her free on the left wing she floated the ball into the Armagh net leaving the keeper stranded on her goal-line.
Armagh 0 Mid-Ulster 3
In the second half Armagh changed their tactics, lofting high balls over the Mid-Ulster defence hoping the bounce of the ball would favour their forwards. It took the Mid-Ulster defence a little while to adjust to these tactics and Armagh got a goal back. The team tightened up again, Elaine Junk and Tracey Bell marshalled their defenders and Natasha Stewart, Ruth Brown and Clare McGrath ensured Armagh saw very little of the ball after that.
Not to be out-done Stacey Hodgett decided to get in on the goal scoring action with the mid-fielders passes finding her in plenty of space on the right wing she drifted a delightful ball over a bemused Armagh keeper to start her goal scoring run. Armagh failed to mark Stacey tightly enough and she punished their slackness with 2 more beautiful taken goals leaving the Armagh keeper wishing she had stayed at home tonight.
Armagh's 2nd goal came from a dubious penalty decision when a clash between striker and keeper Tracey Bell saw the Armagh player come off worse. Justice was done however, after the re-start Laura was brought down in the Armagh penalty box. She gained her feet to calmly converted the resulting spot kick.
Mid-Ulster continued to control the play and Armagh were glad to hear the final whistle.
Armagh 2 Mid-Ulster 7
Player of the Match
Joint award this week with Laura Burton
and Stacey Hodgett leaving the Armagh defence in tatters
Squad - Tracey Bell, Heather Hunniford, Natasha Stewart,
.............Karen Stirrup, Ruth Brown,.Michele Derby, Clare McGrath,
.............Pamela Bates, Julie Kirkpatrick, Laura Burton,
.............Elaine Junk, Judith Black, Sharon McGuckin, Sheree Junk