Action from Glentoran's defeat of Ballymena at The Showgrounds


The Women's Premiership League Cup got off to a high scoring start with a stunning 20 goals being bagged in just three quarter-final games as Glentoran Belfast United, Newry City Ladies and Linfield Ladies all booked their places in the last four alongside Crusaders Strikers.

The semi-final draw reads:-

Crusaders Strikers v. Newry City Ladies (Seaview, Belfast)
Glentoran Belfast United v. Linfield Ladies (Ashfield Boys School, Belfast)

Both games will be played to a finish on Wednesday, 28th June, 2017 (kick-off 7:30pm), with 10 minutes extra-time each way and penalties if necessary.

Here's how the Quarter-finals unfolded:-

In a cagey start, the teams exchanged chances but neither goalkeeper was overly troubled.  On 20 minutes, Ballymena conceded a free kick just outside the box, on the left hand side. Kerry Eddis struck the resulting free kick, rattling the top of far post.

A second free kick in the middle of the pitch seven minutes later was whipped in this time by Eddis, finding Rachel Rogan who produced a fine close save from Anna Daley in the Sky Blue net.

Glentoran made the breakthrough on 32 minutes when Samantha Kelly won the ball from a goal-kick and played Nadene Caldwell through into the box to score.

The Glens went close to doubling their advantage on 42 minutes when another strike from Eddis tested 'keeper Daley, whose finger tip save kept the home team still in the game at half time.

Glentoran started the second half quickly and their high tempo and pressure was rewarded less than five minutes in. Lauren Wade got the ball deep inside the box, passed across to Rogan who found the back of the net.

The visitors kept up the pressure and scored their third on 53 minutes thanks to some nice interchange between Gail Redmond and Caldwell following a short corner. Caldwell's shot was blocked by Daley who couldn't do anything about Redmond’s follow up strike.

The next chance fell to Ballymena when captain Wendy Young won the ball in midfield, played a lovely wide pass down the right hand side for Rebecca Boyce but her effort on goal was safely gathered by Nicole Adams.

Glentoran missed a number of good chances, with Wade hitting the crossbar from 20 yards out and Kelly unable to connect with the ball when it was played right across the face of the Ballymena goal by Makyla Mulholland.

With all of the pressure now coming from Glentoran, Mulholland finally got on the score sheet herself, meeting a free kick from Jessica Foy to head past the Ballymena 'keeper.

She also scored the final goal of the game with a memorable strike from 30 yards out on 79 minutes.

The Reds started strongly with Billie Simpson and young Leah McEvoy linking up well continually forcing Newry back however they were unable to take advantage and the visitors always looked dangerous on the break.

It was indeed Newry who did take the lead when a corner from Trudi Harbinson was somehow forced home by Elenize Belem. Rayza de Souza then doubled the score six minutes after that when she finished from close range with Harbinson again the provider.

Cliftonville continued to battle hard and were eventually rewarded after 23 minutes when Marissa Callaghan danced her way through the Newry defence to set up Billie Simpson who made no mistake with her finish.

Reds 'keeper Anna McCleary continued to thwart the visiting attack with some outstanding stops using feet and fingertips.

On 35 minutes a long range free kick from Harbinson almost deceived the home keeper but in somehow clawing it to safety she fell awkwardly and the Reds were forced into a change. Megan Wetherall bravely stepped in between the posts giving another young protégé Eirinn Canavan her opportunity to impress from the bench.

And she didn’t disappoint, after only minutes on the pitch she took her opportunity rifling a long range shot past Dhebora Barbosa in the Newry goal.

With tails up Cliftonville continued to pile on the pressure in the second half. Simpson should have converted an Emma McAleese free kick but instead nodded straight into the hands of a relieved Newry 'keeper.

Ten minutes in Callaghan again proved too clever for the Newry defence as she put the perfect pass through to McEvoy who unleased an unstoppable rocket leaving Barbosa with no chance.

However the Reds lead lasted only a matter of minutes, with firstly Gomes hitting home before a great cross from Kate Flood and finish from Amanda Dias restored the visitors advantage.

Former Reds striker Celine Curtis and Moya Feehan also got themselves on to the score sheet.

In the dying minutes Cliftonville were when Barbosa produced a series of great saves to deny Callaghan and Simpson.

Linfield took a fourth minute lead when Kirsty McGuinness whipped in a right wing cross which found Lauren Robson at the back post and her header went into the net off the crossbar and the visiting keeper. 

Sion Swifts equalised after 19 minutes when a clever through ball pierced the Linfield defence and put Amy Boyle Carr in the clear. She had time, composure and space to pick her spot, before placing the ball in the far corner, beyond Lauren Perry in the Linfield goal.

Linfield were back in front after 21 minutes, when a tantalising left wing cross from Louise McFrederick was swept into the net from close range by McGuinness. 

McGuinness curled a terrific shot just wide of the angle of crossbar and post on the half hour mark but five minutes later, she did make it 3-1 when she picked up a left wing cross from Chloe McCarron, before drilling a fierce, left foot shot past the Sion 'keeper into the near corner of the net.

After the restart, Kelsey Burrows, a half-time sub for Sarah Haddock, got on the end of a defence splitting through ball from McGuinness but fired her shot just over the bar from a good position in the right hand side of the box. 

On 59 minutes, it was 4-1 to Linfield when Sarah Venney's pass fell invitingly to Megan Bell who rifled her unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from just outside the box. 

On 79 minutes, McGuinness scored her hat-trick goal and Linfield's 5th goal. A free kick was awarded for a hand ball just outside the box and McGuinness stepped up to fire a terrific curling free kick into the roof of the net.

Linfield came close to a further goal in the 82nd minute.  A clever flick from Debbie McCarthy on the half way line sent Bell clear and bearing down on goal. After running the entire length of the half with the ball, Megan's shot on goal was well saved by the visiting keeper and the loose ball was cleared by the grateful retreating defence.