Four-goal McFadden inspires Ladies to league rout



Bangor FC Ladies 9

St Oliver Plunkett Ladies 0

Lewis Bennett reports from Clandeboye Park

BANGOR FC Ladies, and in particular four-goal substitute Robyn McFadden, made it a night to savour last Wednesday evening when they emerged 9-0 winners over St Oliver Plunkett Ladies at Clandeboye Park in their penultimate fixture before the mid-season break.

The Seasiders were high in confidence on the back of the impressive 5-1 victory over St James’ Swifts on Monday evening to advance to the Local Women Sport Super Cup quarter-finals and kept that momentum flowing with nine unanswered goals to do the double over Plunkett, having defeated them 6-1 on the opening day of the league season.

Chris Dougan’s side wasted no time in making their mark, with Leah Robinson opening the scoring less than five minutes into proceedings before Amber Dempster doubled the lead barely 60 seconds later to kickstart a mere 17-minute hat-trick.

Dempster added her second strike on 13 minutes and, 10 minutes later, the seasoned striker completed her personal treble from an indirect free-kick taken inside the box, picking out a gap through a crowd and plundering home a first-half match ball – a feat she also achieved in the first clash with Plunkett.

The star of the show, however, was second-half substitute Robyn McFadden, who went one better in the second half with her four-star haul. Introduced at the half-time break as part of a quintuple substitution, McFadden struck on 48 minutes and, after Francesca Costa grabbed her second goal in as many games two minutes later, took full command on the goal front.

McFadden blasted in her second on 63 minutes before slotting low for the hat-trick eight minutes later and, sealing the deal with Bangor’s ninth of the night, she added her fourth eight minutes from time to really stamp home her influence on the contest.

“It was a good day, I think the team played really well together,” reflected McFadden, who catapulted her goal tally for this term from one to five in a devastating 33-minute spell.

“I’m lucky to have good team-mates who can play good balls into the box and set me up for goals, there was great service into the box and I made sure I was in the right place to put them in the back of the net.

“We’ve lots of players who can get assists and goals around the team, we’ve a great strength in depth and we can all rely on each other to contribute.”

Off the back of breaking the deadlock just 70 seconds in against St James’ at Sally Gardens – and since learning that they will face NIWFA Development League side Civil Service Ladies away from home in the Super Cup last-eight – Bangor were similarly quick off the bat against fellow west Belfast opposition here.

Robinson’s deadlock-breaker inside the five-minute mark was a smart finish from an initial outswinging corner, trapping the ball under her spell before swivelling to place the ball low into the bottom left, before Dempster extended the cushion in double-quick time and kept up her rich vein of goalscoring form.

Indeed, by 23 minutes, the former Linfield and Cliftonville star already had her fourth hat-trick of the season. She put Bangor three up on 13 minutes and made the most of a fine piece of wing wizardry by teenage sensation Emi Wynne, who danced through a handful of challenges before squaring for Dempster to prod home. And her match ball was secured shortly after from an indirect free-kick – awarded after a Plunkett backpass was picked up by the goalkeeper – that she managed to bury.

With the three points all but secured by half-time, Dougan made a raft of alterations during the break which included a debut for young defender Kirsten Palmer, and two of those five changes kept the goal tap flowing within five minutes of the restart.

McFadden, who bagged her first of the campaign in the 8-1 Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup Round of 32 success over Comber Rec, doubled her tally for the season three minutes into the second half before impressive midfielder Costa bagged Bangor’s sixth just a couple of minutes later.

From there, McFadden hit the front. The forward’s second on 63 minutes was a drilled finish that left Plunkett goalkeeper Niamh McNally with no chance before a delicate placed strike secured her hat-trick eight minutes afterwards.

A fabulous fourth eight minutes from time rounded off the goal count at nine, while Giulia McLaughlin’s fourth clean sheet of the season between the sticks made it a perfect night’s work for Dougan and his charges to keep their Championship title charge on track.