In a somewhat frenetic pre-season friendly with neighbours Parkview, a new-look Carrick Ladies Hockey Club squad had to come from behind on no fewer than three occasions to seal a narrow 5-4 victory.
And the hero of the day for Carrick was last season’s 2nd XI front runner, Rebecca McRoberts who scored an opening day brace to set her team up for their eventual win. Fielding a number of new and young faces, Carrick went 1-0 down early in the game but, within minutes, McRoberts popped up on the right wing to strike home an equaliser. The visitors went ahead again shortly afterwards but once again McRoberts was on hand to level the scores at 2-2 from another narrowly angled strike on the right.
Parkview continued to put Carrick under continuing pressure and were rewarded with a third goal from a short corner play. But, not to be outdone, Carrick then forced the initiative and were again back on level terms when a shot on goal went into the net off a defenders foot. With both sides regularly rotating players to test out new playing patterns and sharpen player fitness, Carrick took the opportunity to field a number of its promising young players from last season’s Under-15 squad. And these Carrick youngsters encouragingly proved themselves well up for the occasion.
The home squad eventually managed to take the lead when Karen Nelson put them 4-3 ahead and, shortly after, a beautifully worked right-sided move involving Abbie Lyttle, Karen Nelson, and Ashley McConnell saw McConnell increase Carrick’s lead to 5-3. Parkview refused to concede however and pegged the score back to 5-4.
But a final period of Carrick pressure ensured the visitors were given few opportunities to grab a draw and Carrick eventually ran out 5-4 winners with both sets of players virtually out on their feet after an enthusiastic and hard working pre-season display by both teams.