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Vicktory speech

Vicky Carleton was lost for words after becoming the first player in history to score a Danske Bank Women’s Premiership title-winning goal for Cliftonville Ladies.

A second-half substitute in last night’s North Belfast Derby with Crusaders Strikers, Carleton was perfectly placed to nod home from close after Marissa Callaghan’s penalty had been cancelled out by Megan Ingram.

While she admitted being unable to vocalise what the moment meant to her, she did reveal that her frustration at starting the game among the subs fuelled her ambition to make a decisive impact.

“I honestly don’t have the words to describe how it feels and I don’t think I’ll have the words for a while,” she said.

“When he benched me, I was angry – and I went on to the pitch with that anger. As soon as I saw that ball coming in, I knew. I knew right away that I was going to be scoring.

“I think it skimmed off the bar and the way it fell, it just dropped right onto my head as I jumped so I was quite lucky.”

As it turned out, outgoing Champions Glentoran Women’s failure to get the better of Linfield Ladies meant that a draw would have been sufficient for the Reds to clinch the crown and, while the ex-Blues midfielder knew her former Club were performing well in east Belfast, Carleton was pleased that the news didn’t spread through the team as they stepped up their pursuit of a winner.

“When we were warming up at the sidelines, the photographers were telling us the score from the other game but I told them to stop because I didn’t want to know,” she added.

“I don’t think anyone on the pitch knew, which was ideal because you don’t want to be thinking about scores and results anywhere else; you just want to make sure you concentrate on winning your own game and thankfully we were able to do that.”