Glentoran Belfast United U19 had a great 5 v 4 win over Crusaders Strikers at Valley Leisure Centre in their penultimate league game of the season to clinch the Championship. However the trophy has still not been presented due to an appeal by Linfield over the outcome of a previous match.
Crusaders started on the front foot putting Glentoran under pressure and keeper, Naomi Burns was called into action early on to make a save from McNeill at her near post. McNeill was a real threat to the Glens’ defence causing them problems every time she was on the ball. She forced Burns into a diving save to her right to palm away a goal bound shot for a corner. Cleo Neece Taggart picked up the cleared corner and inside her half ran with the ball to the into the Crusaders penalty area to set Kerry Beattie up to put Glentoran into the lead.
This goal spurred GBU on to look for more goals and a period of sustained pressure brought goal chances that weren’t converted. Crusaders made them pay for these missed chances when they equalised through McNeill and followed this up in quick succession with a second goal from Robinson to take the lead. The Glens went looking for an equaliser and it came from Cleo Neece Taggart with another mazy run to equalise just before half time.
The second half started with Glentoran in a different mood and they added to their lead through Rebecca McKenna. The Glens were now dominating the match and it wasn’t long before a fourth goal came along from Kerry Eddis who drove the ball over the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms from a wide angle. Glentoran continued to dominate but got caught on the break for a Crusaders 3rd goal. This goal spurred the Crues on and McNeill again scored to bring the scores level with 5 minutes remaining.
However the Glens weren’t prepared to give up. Their determination to fight to the final whistle paid off when Kerry Beattie chased a log ball towards the corner flag and managed to put in a cross for Sophie Senior to meet it with her head and their fifth and winning goal. At the final whistle Glentoran coaches, players and parents celebrated their win but were relieved to get the 3 points.
Much credit must go to both teams who put on a great game for the large crowd who turned up to watch the match.
This win puts GBU 5 points clear of nearest rivals Linfield Swifts with 1 match each to play.
At the time of writing we have received reports that Linfield have lodged a protest over their 5-3 defeat to Sion Swifts u19s. Should they regain the 3 points we would be 2 points clear going into our final fixture away to Sion Swifts on Friday 25th August. Linfield’s final fixture is away to Cliftonville Corinthians on Monday 21st August.