Picture: Gary Hancock
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Linfield Ladies lifted the inaugural NIFL Danske Bank Women's Premiership crown under the flood lights of Windsor Park with a 3-1 victory over Mid Ulster.
An inspired man of the match performance from Abbie Magee helped Linfield lift the silverware as the Belfast Blues recorded their 11th victory of the league campaign with a stylish performance.
The Champions controlled the early stages of the match, through Sarah Venney who was very assured on the ball throughout the night.
With all the possession going in favour of the home side, Mid Ulster were living off scraps. Sarah Connolly fired a shot into the arms of Linfield keeper Nicole Adams to register the first shot on target for her side after 10 minutes.
Only a minute later, Abbie Magee broke the deadlock when Linfield opened the scoring. A long ball over the Mid Ulster defence was poorly defended and allowed the striker to head into an empty net.
Magee had the opportunity to double her tally after a neat nutmeg on her marker on the edge of the box, she brought the ball onto her right foot only for her shot to be well matched by Megan Ferson in the Mid Ulster net.
Magee did net her and Linfield's second goal in the 19th minute. A superbly weighted through ball from Megan Bell was calmly slotted through the legs of the Mid Ulster keeper.
Mid Ulster managed to get on the ball midway through the first half and began to string some passes together. Rebecca Bassett kept the Linfield keeper on her toes with long shots while Chloe Orr squared a ball for Sarah Connolly but couldn't connect with the cross.
Samantha Kelly was able to get on the ball for Mid Ulster as the away side began to pressure the Linfield defence. Chloe Orr and Rebecca Bassett gave the Mid Ulster attack width, but Sarah Haddock and Jennifer McDade in the Linfield defence intercepted any decisive ball played by the Mid Ulster attack.
Linfield started the second half with purpose. Megan Bell skipped past a a mid Ulster challenge before threading a lovely ball to Clare Timoney on the edge of the opposition box. Timoney laid the ball off to Lyndsey Corry but her shot failed to cap off a lovely move from the champions.
Abbie Magee netted her hat trick 7 minutes after the interval when she headed home a Megan Bell corner however a deflected Samantha Kelly shot fell fortuitously into the path of Chloe Orr who fired home from 8 yards to give Mid Ulster a life line on 59 minutes.
Mid Ulster playmaker, Bassett almost capitalised on poor Linfield play when she collected the ball on the edge of the box. Unable to hit the ball first time on her left foot a right footed shot was straight into the arms of Nicole Adams.
In an incredible season where they remain undefeated, scoring 50 goals and conceding just 4, Linfield now look forward to an exciting experience in Europe next season.
Referee: Glenn Taylor
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