The Ulster Elks booked a home tie with Lurgan in the quarter finals of the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday but they had to come from behind to beat Lisnagarvey 4-1 at Mossley.
‘Garvey put up a brave battle but they acknowledged the fact that the Jordanstown side deserved their victory.
“The better side won on the day but it was good for our players to be exposed to that sort of opposition as that is what they have to aspire towards.” said ‘Garvey’s assistant coach Kyle Lunn.
Elks coach Ricky Lee while delighted that his side got through wasn’t entirely happy with the performance.
“They made it difficult for us by trying to break down play and we didn’t start the game very well.” he stated.
“They tried to soak up our pressure and then hit us on the counter attack and it took a while to break them down.”
In fact it wasn’t until the 57th minute when Dawn Axon scored a wonder goal to make it 3-1, that the game was settled as a contest.
The Elks won the penalty corner count 6-0 but, as Lee suggested, ‘Garvey did occasionally look threatening on the break.
Selena Brown shot ‘Garvey into the lead in the fourth minute after a swift passing move but after that set back it was the Jordanstown side who looked more likely to score.
Eight minutes later ‘Garvey goalkeeper Caroline Reid made a stupendous save with her helmet from Dawn Axon after a penalty corner had initially broken down.
Reid may not have known too much about it but it was a terrific reaction stop and, as they, with goals, they all count.
But Louise Wright got the equaliser nine minutes later when she tapped the ball in at the far post with a reverse stick shot after a free had eluded the visitors defence.
Shortly afterwards Reid shepherded a harmless looking through ball to safety but then was relieved to see it rebound off a post after a gust of wind had changed its direction.
But after two good saves from Rachel King and Stephanie Jameson, Reid was beaten when Laura McAlpine made it 2-1 in the 23rd minute when she scored from close range, this time after a penalty corner switch.
The third quarter was relatively featureless with ‘Garvey successfully soaking up any Elks attacks that came their way.
There were some signs of anxiety on the Elks bench and at one stage Lee made a triple substitution to his strike force in a bid to break down the stubborn visitors defence.
The Elks won a disputed penalty corner in the 50th minute but Kirstie Lammey’s strike was taken off the line by a defender.
Dawn Axon made the game safe with a superb strike in the 57th minute as she sent a reverse stick shot high into the net after skilfully manoeuvering herself into a shooting position.
The relief on the Elks bench was palpable as they now knew the tie was as good as over and a place in the last eight draw beckoned.
Just to make absolutely sure, Lammie wrapped things up with goal number four with six minutes left as she scored at the far post after good work on the left flank.