Belfast Telegraph

Glens turn on style to stay top of the pile

By Nikki McWilliams

Glentoran held onto top spot in the Concentrix Premier League following a 2-0 victory over Cliftonville at the Billy Neill pitches.

Glentoran's class and slick passing came to the fore as they maintained their position at the summit.

However, Cliftonville made the current champions sweat as they burst out of the blocks early and created quick goalscoring opportunities.

A shot was placed marginally wide of the goalpost by youngster Niamh Adams who had a phenomenal game on the right side of midfield.

The Reds held a tight defensive line in the first half and made it difficult for the Glens to pose a threat in the final third.

"They held a decent line at the back," said Glentoran skipper Nadene Caldwell.

"We dominated most of the possession but couldn't convert and that's what killed us.

"We didn't start in the first half at all, we just couldn't get it going and nothing seemed to be going our way.

"The first half was hard graft as they played well but I think they tired a bit in the second half."

Cheryl Lamont's Glentoran side regrouped at the break and turned up the heat after the interval.

Veteran Kelly Bailie was the first to hit the scoresheet after blasting the ball into the net following a dangerous cross.

Two minutes later Gail Macklin rounded keeper Tiarna McKenna to seal three points for the Glens.

Skipper Caldwell emphasised the team spirit in the camp and highlighted that they need to focus on each challenge in front of them.

"It's still early days yet so we need to take each game as it comes and stay focused on the prize," declared the determined midfielder. In contrast, Reds captain Tiarna McKenna was happy with her side's performance but stated that due to simple mistakes, it cost them the game.

"We are happy with the performance," said McKenna. "Glentoran have a lot of experience in their midfield and throughout their team so we have to be satisfied and appreciate there are improvements to be made. We are a work in progress.

"It's only our second year in the Premier League and we're seeing improvements within our game but it's important we remain critical of our performances in order to improve more. We can always get better," added the 25-year-old.

Meanwhile, Mid-Ulster bounced back, winning 3-1 against the Shankill United Predators.

Linfield also maintained their winning form, defeating Ballymena 3-0 whilst Crusaders hammered Dromore 5-0 at Dromore Community Centre.

Teams switched their focus to Concentrix Premier League cup quarter-final battles this weekend but Glentoran Belfast United have once again displayed their capacity to inflict damage.

Results: Mid-Ulster Ladies 3 (Chloe McCarron, Cathy Rees and Sarah Connolly) Newbridge Predators 1 (Ashleigh McKee); Linfield Ladies 3 (Chelsea Myles, Kirsty McGuinness, Nicole Graham) Ballymena All Stars 0; Glentoran Belfast United 2 (Kelly Bailie and Gail Macklin) Cliftonville Ladies 0; Dromore Amateurs 0 Crusaders Strikers 5 (Alison Smyth 4, Amy Burden).

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