Raphoe ladies surged to the top of Senior 1 after an excellent home win over Castle at the Royal and Prior on Saturday.
Raphoe 3 Castle 1
Raphoe’s superior passing play demonstrated their pursuit of the Senior 1 title, while Castle’s battling spirit was visible in their attempt to avoid relegation.
Castle’s central midfielder, Kerri McIlroy, was very influential for her team. She was eager to get on the ball and dictate play where possible.
Lyndsey Tinney put in a superb shift closing the danger this player presented with close marking.
Castle held strong in the opening half even as Raphoe’s sweeping player Victoria Wray was very influential with her pass selection that was near perfection with passes reaching all areas of the park in a pattern that Castle could not read nor reach.
Sarah McErlean was very unfortunate not to put the host ahead after a wonderful break from the left side that cut through the Castle defence with Leanne Patterson weaving her way and finding herself in the D with goalkeeper, a defender and McErlean as company.
A clever slip presented a great opportunity, yet the keeper was quick to close and the shot came off her pads and danger averted.
The first half remained goal less despite excellent chances.
With Castle putting so many players behind the ball Raphoe knew they would need to create their chances on the break with speed, width and movement.
Early shots failed to be converted yet again, however deadlock was soon broken when after some lovely building play down the right hand side from Raphoe, Leanne Patterson slipped the ball across the goal mouth to the awaiting stick of Wendy Patterson who rammed the ball into the roof of the net.
Play was halted due to injury when a deflection of a Castle stick saw the ball sail upwards and connect with the nose of a Castle central defender.
Castle’s Lois Passmore steadied her defensive line however Castle had little chance to keep the second goal at bay.
Danger player Leanne Patterson couldn’t be held at bay and slotted home a beautiful reverse shot into the corner, leaving the keeper with no hope of saving.
Sophie Wallace had an excellent opportunity sail just wide after a lovely switch left from Janice Nelson.
On the right Zara Tinney and Alison Stewart caused a speedy threat, with Stewart demonstrating some exceptional cover and play break down.
The third goal remained elusive, until the Patterson girls cut a path through the defence once more. The ball having switched beautifully down the right by Jasmine Tinney found Leanne Patterson. Leanne Patterson’s swift hands teased the Castle players and when the opportunity arose she took her shot. Wendy Patterson having made a deceptive run arrived at the back post to ensure the ball was rocketed over the line. Patterson glory again!
Raphoe were disappointed to concede with less than five minutes on the clock. Sabrina Barnett, as ever, lifted her team and set a wonderful example with her strength and calm head.
Hungry for more goals Barnett and Raphoe went on the attack for a final time and this resulted in Raphoe winning a short corner.
Just as Victoria Wray was about to eject the ball to the top of the D, the Castle keeper, Brown, appeared to faint in the goal mouth. Players rushed to her aid. Play was halted and the final whistle sounded as concerns grew for the young lady. A special thanks to Raphoe player, Dr. Sarah McErlean, who on her day off, was a wonderful comfort to the Castle keeper with reassuring treatment and guidance.
This player needed hospital assessment and treatment and was swiftly taken to Altnagelvin Hospital.
A game of ups and downs, determination of both sides, a nose injury and ending in concern. Raphoe wish both players a speedy recovery and hope they are back on the pitch as soon as possible.
Player of the Match: Wendy Patterson
Raphoe: Heather Humphrey, Julie Wilson, Victoria Wray, Sabrina Barnett (Captain), Janice Nelson, Zara Tinney, Lyndsey Tinney, Wendy Patterson, Leanne Patterson, Jasmine Tinney, Lisa Smyth, Rebecca Wauchope, Sarah McErlean, Amy Wauchope, Alison Stewart & Sophie Wallace