HOCKEY: Willis smashes home winner for Carrick against Greenisland

Carrick Ladies goalkeeper Rebecca Whiteside thwarts this Greenisland Ladies attack. INCT 39-030-PSB
Carrick Ladies goalkeeper Rebecca Whiteside thwarts this Greenisland Ladies attack. INCT 39-030-PSB

Julie Willis’ second-half strike ensured Carrick Ladies came out on top against neighbours Greenisland, but not before they weathered a few scares in Saturday’s tense game at the Amphitheatre.

As has proven to be the case in derbies over recent years, Greenisland hit the ground running from the opening whistle, but a well-drilled Carrick defence repulsed all efforts on goal.

“Local derby games against Greenisland always carry some added spice,” said Carrick captain Amy Cross after the match, “but they are generally tight affairs and most often won by nothing more than a single goal. So we did our best to just play our normal game, keep a clean sheet, and hopefully a winner would come our way, as it did.

“Our priority was to win at home after losing our opening home game against Owls two weeks ago, so we’re delighted to have achieved that.”

Greenisland had their chances with a few penalty corner plays, but they were met with a wall of green on every occasion backed up by another excellent performance from goalkeeper, Rebecca Whiteside.

Carrick fought hard to regain the initiative from their hard-pressing opponents in the hard-fought Senior Two match, but they too were met with a determined defence that refused to be forced unto the back foot.

In the second half, Carrick were more in control, thanks to an eye-catching performance from Christine Waide, ably supported by Rachel Lynas and Emma Nichols, all of whom were soon pressing deep into Greenisland territory.

Greenisland remained dangerous on the break, however, with their main threat coming from their right wing. But as Carrick increased the pressure, Greenisland were forced into a more defensive role as Waide and Lynas looked dangerously on the attack.

With the clock running down, Carrick found the vital breakthrough when Willis smashed home a pile-driver of a penalty corner shot to put her side ahead.

Greenisland refused to give up and while the Carrick defence continued to hold firm, the game ended with Greenisland pressing deep for that vital equaliser.