Demspster double fires Bangor Ladies to third win in a week

NIWFA Championship

Camlough Rovers Ladies 1

Bangor FC Ladies 2

Lewis Bennett reports from Camlough Stadium

BANGOR FC Ladies made it a third win in five days last Wednesday after securing a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Camlough Rovers Ladies in the NIWFA Championship.

Adding to the 6-1 league success over Ballymena United Women three days earlier and the Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup triumph against Valley Rangers the previous Friday, Chris Dougan’s side bagged another three points in south Armagh but were made to battle for their reward by a stern home outfit.

The Seasiders edged in front of an end-to-end encounter on 32 minutes thanks to an Amber Dempster free-kick finish, but were pegged back on the hour mark as a goalmouth scramble allowed Camlough’s Leanne Domican to prod home an equaliser.

It asked questions of the visitors’ resilience to fight back, but any doubts were emphatically put to bed by Dempster’s winning strike four minutes from time when she powered into the bottom left corner and capped off a fine piece of flowing football from the back to the front.

It made for a satisfying return trip from Camlough Stadium with all the points in tow – and matchwinner Dempster admitted as much, saying that although Bangor made hard work of things in rather murky weather conditions, grinding out the win was crucial.

The striker reflected: “It’s definitely great to travel all the way down here and come away with the three points.

“We definitely made hard work of it. It was obviously quite difficult given the circumstances with the travelling and we’re not really used to playing on a grass pitch, it was quite small.

“Those are things that can go against you, but at the same time, you can’t make excuses,” she added.

“We should’ve probably got the job done a lot earlier than we did, it was a physical game and the girls really did dig deep but the most important thing is we came away with the three points.”

Physical it was, and newly promoted Camlough’s intensity in the press posed problems for Bangor in an opening half-hour where both teams threw caution to the wind and a direct brand of football was on show, but the away side drew first blood when main markswoman Dempster picked her spot from range.

After the visitors were given a free-kick 25 yards from goal, the former Cliftonville Ladies and Linfield Women star stepped up to take, and the ball squirmed through the fingers of Rovers goalkeeper Aoife Magee to break the deadlock.

Having beaten Foyle Belles and St Oliver Plunkett in their preceding two outings, the hosts had the bit between their teeth and hit back on 60 minutes when an inswinging delivery from the left was pounced on by Domican from just a few yards out, turning past Giulia McLaughlin after the Seasiders stopper had made the punch.

It set up a tense finale, but Bangor kept their heads cool and enjoyed the bulk of possession and chances during the climax – a period that included a stunning double save from Magee to deny Dempster and then substitute Robyn McFadden – that led to what proved the decisive moment on 86 minutes.

Interplay from the back between McLaughlin and centre-halves Lucy Hollies and Dani Boyd saw the ball funnelled into midfield, from which Amanda Morton supplied an inch-perfect ball into Dempster’s stride that the forward repaid by thundering low into the bottom left.

With 13 strikes in just seven matches this season having notched up a fourth consecutive two-goal game, the Northern Ireland Futsal international is in fine fettle, with the Seagulls riding the waves of Camlough pressure that followed to see out their fifth victory in their sixth league match.