St Roch’s made the short trip out to Bent Recreation Park on Sunday to take on Motherwell Dev who were sitting 2 points above them in third place. With this being the last game before the summer break the visitors were keen to force their way into the top three, giving them a solid launch pad for the second half of the season.
Motherwell, however, were not going to make it easy and the game took off at a fairly hectic pace. Motherwell were intent on maximising pressure on the Roch’s full backs as ball after ball was sent into the channels but for the most part full backs Sarah Rhind and Natalie Huggan soaked up the pressure and then helped the visitors to push forward. Nicky McDonald and Claire Wright worked the wings tirelessly for St Roch’s and combined well with midfielder Jillsy Campbell to play some dangerous balls through on the home goal.
Indeed, only a couple of top quality saves from the home stopper prevented Caz Docherty (pictured left) from giving the Roch’s a half time lead. The game actually began to swing St Roch’s way shortly before the interval when Skipper Kate McManus was pushed forward into the holding midfield role she has been playing more recently and her partnership with the energetic Cara Lovatt is really paying dividends for the Ladies.
The second half was barely underway when this dynamic duo took control of midfield and skipper McManus sent a delightful ball over the top of the Motherwell defence for Caz Docherty to smash home from twelve yards out. Five minutes later it was Steph McManus’s turn to send a long range free kick from the halfway line over the top of the home defence and again Docherty was first to react as she raced in and coolly slotted the ball past the helpless keeper.
St Roch’s were firing on all cylinders now and took only another seven minutes to go three up. Kate McManus sent a long ball through to Docherty who took the ball to the bye line and lifted a delightful ball across the goal for the onrushing Claire Wright (pictured right) to head home at the back post.
The last twenty minutes continued to provide thrills at both ends with St Roch’s creating two or three good opportunities. Motherwell kept plugging away but Candy stopper Nicolle Andrews put in another assured performance and in addition to pulling off some quality saves she doubled up as an extra centre back on a couple of occasions.
The win puts St Roch’s into third place just one point off second place Blackburn and with a game in hand the Garngad girls are determined to keep going strong when the League resumes on 14 August.
Reported by St Roch’s Ladies
Pictures: St Roch’s Ladies