Larne Olympic Ladies bowed out of the NIWFA Cup on penalties after a brave effort against a strong Ballymacash side from the division above.
The opening to the game was a cagey midfield battle with both teams trying to gain control of the game. Larne took an early lead after ten minutes played when Francesca Agnew latched on to a ball in the box and sneaked it past the Ballymacash keeper to put Larne ahead.
Both teams continued to play good football but clear-cut chances were few and far between. Ballymacash created themselves a chance as they broke in behind the Larne defence and flashed a cross across goal which was turned into the net by the striker to even the score. Starting to build up momentum after their equaliser, Ballymacash won a penalty just before the half hour mark which was calmly converted to take the lead. On the stroke of half time, Larne nearly pulled level after good play down the right by Mollie McAllister and Francesca Agnew seen a powerful strike just go wide of the post.
Half-time: Larne Ladies Olympic 1-2 Ballymacash Young Ladies
Larne came out in the second half on the front foot and looking for an equaliser and they were soon rewarded. Building from defence, centre-back Cathy-Ann Lynn, worked a great ball to Francesca Agnew just inside her half who turned and drove at the full back until the byline and her low-drilled cross found Laura Aiken who made a bursting run to tap home to make it two apiece.
Both teams pushed for the winner and Larne took the lead with twenty minutes left to play. A great Holly Robinson free kick into the box was unfortunately turned home by a Ballymacash player and it looked like Larne were on track to cause a cup upset. Unfortunately for Larne, under pressure from a series of corners Ballymacash, they were unable to hold on and Ballymacash got their equaliser deep into the game. The game finished three apiece and with no extra time, it went straight to penalties. Ballymacash held their nerve to win 4-3 on penalties to advance to the next round.
Congratulations to Ballymacash Young Ladies and good luck for the next round of the competition.