Ballyclare Comrades 0
Report by Steven Boucher
Both teams came into Wednesday’s fixture looking to register their first win of the tournament, though Crues had fared slightly better having gained a draw on day 2. After an early burst of pace from Ballyclare’s Molly McClelland tested Crusaders’ defence, it was the Belfast side who dominated proceedings. Attacks came from Grace Murray, Katie Sloan and Emilee Leacock, but it was Charley McMullan who scored the opener on 18 minutes, with a delightful dipping volley from 20 yards out.
Ballyclare struggled to get a hold of the ball, despite strong efforts from McClelland and Alana Boyle in midfield. Megan Montgomery in the Comrade’s net also showed a good command of her box, regularly quick off her line to collect and close down attacks. But Crusaders pressure eventually told – shortly after her header had rattled the bar, Chloe Beckinsale fired home a powerful shot in the 33rd minute when the ball landed at her feet from a corner.
The second half continued in much the same way, with Ballyclare trying their best to put pressure on their opponents, but Crusaders showing plenty of composure and neat passing. Comrades held out until the 20th minute of the second half, when a good save from Montgomery unfortunately landed at the feet of Grace Murray who finished neatly into the empty net. 5 minutes from time Crusaders added a fourth, when Daisy Moore was fouled in the box, and Leacock dispatched the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Despite the impressive scoreline, Crusaders manager Nicky Geddis felt disappointed it wasn’t more. “I don’t the scoreline is reflective of how the game went.
“But you have to take your chances and all credit to Ballyclare, they battled through. I thought their keeper had a wonderful performance.”
Despite finishing 3rd in the group, he was disappointed they weren’t higher, though hopes his team can put in a good performance in the Globe final on Friday against USSSA.