VICTORIA Wray scored twice as Raphoe ladies overcame Mossley at The Glade on Saturday.
Mossley 0 Raphoe 2
Before the starting whistle, there were only four points separating them on the league table, with Mossley in the relegation zone and Raphoe floating above the dreaded red line.
Having come off the back of a super draw against the high flying Ulster Elks the previous week, Raphoe were entering the game with confidence. However, the quick slick play from last week, was almost non-existent in the opening half of this fixture for Raphoe.
The Donegal side found it difficult to control the ball on the water based surface, and this, along with some untidy movement of the ball, resulted in Mossley having the upper hand in the first half.
Mossley pressed high and were quick to intercept any badly judged passes by Raphoe. The defence of Kilpatrick, Barnett, Wray and Patterson had to be on their guard at all times, with netminder, Heather Humphrey showing her quick reactions to keep her team in the game throughout the game.
Mossley won a number of short corners in the opening half, but disappointingly for them, they were unable to take advantage of any of them.
Raphoe’s best chance in the opening half had fell to young Abbie McKnight. Leanne Patterson had played a square ball across the pitch to McKnight, who was one-on-one with the Mossley goalkeeper. McKnight pulled the trigger and her goal bound shot was saved well by the keeper.
Having a poor half, Raphoe were happy to hear the half time whistle, which allowed them to regroup as a team and get direction from Coach Richard Tinney.
There was improvement from the Raphoe side in the second half. Defensively, Raphoe were more solid and there was better linking play with the midfield of Patterson, Tinney, Wallace and Porter.
Not long in to the second half, Raphoe were awarded a short corner. The initial shot from Leanne Patterson was saved by the Mossley keeper, with the ball returning nicely to Victoria Wray, who took her chance well to put her team in the lead.
Mossley continued to press hard, as they had been doing from the start. They attacked both sides of the pitch and managed to find paths into the Raphoe circle, but were unfortunate to miss out of the final touch to pass Humphrey in goals.
The game was still 1-0 as it entered the final quarter.
With Raphoe’s focus on defending their 1-0 lead, their forward line of Patterson and Tinney found themselves without support at times when quick balls were sent their way.
However, smart manoeuvring by both, seen Raphoe awarded another short corner, which resulted in a two goal cushion being established against the run of play.
This time, it was a shot from Barnett that was saved. The rebound came back high to Zara Tinney, who controlled the ball superbly to bring it to ground level. A scramble for the ball took place, but it was Wray who showed her strength and experience by slotting the ball over the line for the second time in the match.
The final ten minutes seen attacks and last minute tackles from both sides. Leanne Patterson went one-on-one with the Mossley keeper and was unlucky not to get on the scoreboard, when fouled at the penalty spot area.
The game ended 2-0 in favour of Raphoe, and much to their delight and relief, they travelled home with another three points, in their bid to consolidate their spot in Ulster Premier Hockey.
Next week, the ladies will be at home against Ballymoney.
Raphoe: Heather Humphrey, Arlyne Kilpatrick, Sabrina Barnett (Captain), Victoria Wray, Lisa Patterson, Shannon Porter, Zara Tinney, Wendy Patterson, Sophie Wallace, Leanne Patterson, Lisa Smyth, Lyndsey Tinney, Janice Nelson, Julie Wilson, Rebecca Wauchope and Abbie McKnight