In-form Derry City face stern test against Glentoran

The Glens have rattled in 29 goals already this season

Jess Foy
Jess Foy celebrates her goal for Glentoran Women against Lisburn Ladies last weekend at the Bluebell. Picture: Krissy McKee

GLENTORAN Women will be hoping to grab top spot this evening in the Sports Direct Women’s Premiership, when they host Derry City at Blanchflower Stadium.

The east Belfast side have won all three of their games so far in this year’s campaign and will be hoping to usurp current leaders Cliftonville Ladies, who have a free weekend.

Kim Turner’s charges have been in scintillating form so far this season, with Kerrie Beattie and Demi Vance leading the scoring charts with six and five goals scored respectively. Overall, the current title-holders have scored a scarcely believable 29 goals from their three outings, whilst only conceding one at the other end, a nod to the inclusion of several of their players in the recent Northern Ireland squad, who lost in a double-header with European heavyweights Portugal.

The Glens have also shown their ability to “dig out” a win when the going gets tough. A late goal from Sarah Tweedie – playing her first game of the season – settled a hard-fought Toal’s County Antrim Cup quarter-final at Seaview on Monday night.

However, Derry will make the journey to Belfast with expectation and rightly so. After a stuttering start to the season, they have now won their last two games to move fourth and have found the net an impressive 10 times in their four games so far. They will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet this evening.

One area of concern for the Candystripes, though, will be their inability to keep things tight at the back. A total of nine goals conceded in such a short period will unquestionably cause some anxiety amongst management as they prepare to face a side averaging almost 10 goals a game. If the north-west side can contain the Glens to less than three goals it may be considered a respectable performance.

The Bluebell Stadium plays host to the first Lisburn derby of the season, when the Ladies host Rangers. The Gers’ are the surprise package of the season so far winning all three of their games so far as well as reaching the League Cup final, which will be contested at the end of the month. Not bad for a side making their debut in the top division.

Rivals Lisburn Ladies will be desperate to get back to winning ways, having failed to secure a victory since their opening win over Larne at the beginning of May. They languish in seventh.

Elsewhere, it is a must-win for both sides at Midgely Park when Linfield host Crusaders. Both sides have been disappointing so far this season and currently occupy sixth and fifth in the table respectively.

With both having genuine title ambitions at the beginning of the campaign, a win is desperately needed to stay in touch with the current league leaders.

Finally, It is a battle of the basement at Inver Park, when Larne welcome Mid-Ulster Ladies. Both teams look set for a relegation dogfight with only a point between them so far.

Round five

Tonight (7.45pm unless stated) Glentoran v Derry City; Larne v Mid Ulster; Linfield v Crusaders; Lisburn Ladies v Lisburn Rangers (8pm)