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Thursday, 28 February 2013 18:18

Last gasp strike puts Glasgow into British final

Written by  Stephen Kennedy
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Glasgow University Ladies
 vs
Leeds University Ladies
 
 
 
BUCS Trophy - Semi Final
Garscube Complex
27/02/2013
 
 
 
Author: Stephen Kennedy of SWFitba.
Photo: Stephen Kennedy

glasgowleedsHaving never watched university football let alone the women’s version of the sport, I was somewhat apprehensive when I was invited to cover the British Cup Semi-Final between Glasgow and Leeds Universities. What would the standard of football be like I wondered? Not one to be put off easily, I decided to support the girls and travel to Garscube Sporting Complex with new recruit to SWFitba Graeme Berry.

I am delighted to say I made the correct decision, for this turned out to be a wonderfully entertaining match with a real cup tie atmosphere thanks to a boisterous home support, who got behind their team, particularly in the second half.

The game was barely five minutes old when Sirri Topping lifted the ball over the last defender for Rachel Hammond to chase. Bearing in from the right, she shot across goal into the corner to give the GU an early lead.

Leeds responded positively through a Rosie Stone run but Tareetha Sun ushered her wide, ensuring her shot was comfortably held by keeper Rachel Kemp.
Abbey McIver of Leeds was looking a real threat whenever she got the ball. Her pace was proving to be a problem for the home side’s defence. Driving beyond the last defender, she shot low and hard across the face of the goal as the ball passed agonisingly close to the far post.

Leeds were not going to be denied though and duly equalised on 16 minutes with an almost identical move from the previous one. A simple ball through to McIver, who entered the box from the left and fired in low across the goal to make it one apiece.

Sadly Abbey would be taken off later in the match with a suspected broken collar bone.

Leeds gained a lot of confidence from the goal and began firing shots in at every opportunity. Caoimhe Costigan shot from 25 yards but her effort was wide of the stanchion.

However Glasgow restored their advantage from another long ball over the top for Topping. The Leeds keeper Sonia Holland rushed out but Topping got their first, lobbed the stranded keeper as the local support began to grow louder. Two goals to one, an ever increasing amount of observers coming in to encourage the Glasgow girls and we had game on.

Unfortunately the next action resulted in Leeds Sophie Cole limping off with possible ligament damage to her knee. Once again, luck was not on the visitors side.
GU should have scored number three as Mhairi Lyle volleyed from a corner from ten yards, skimming the topside of the bar. What a goal that would have been! Lyle displayed wonderful technique with her first time shot.
Ceara Macintyre was pacing up and down either wing causing all sorts of problems for the Leeds left and right backs. The small but speedy player hit a powerful shot, come cross from the right of the box, which Holland was happy to palm away and watch as the ball fell kindly for the Leeds back line.

Half Time: Glasgow University Ladies 2-1 Leeds University Ladies

The first 45 minutes were exciting, evenly balanced and worthy of taking up anyone’s time to watch from the sidelines. The second half however, was a frantic affair with non stop action and end to end football.

It began with Macintyre driving down the right wing, delivering the ball across the face of the goal for Topping to apply the deftest of touches to. The ball was cleared off the line by a combination of goalkeeper and defender to prevent the girls in black from obtaining a two goal advantage.
Leeds began to dominate, pushing forward at every opportunity, playing some delightful football with Glasgow mainly breaking away via Macintyre on the wings. The small but strong number seven was back defending, skipping beyond players with the greatest of ease and delivering some superb crosses – this was a girl heading for player of the match.

Macintyre displayed great passion and a temper to match it, when Rikke Christensen’s corner was met by her right foot as she slipped the ball towards goal. It was cleared after a bout of head and foot tennis in the area but Macintyre was incensed when referee Mr. Corrie denied what she claimed was a blatant hand ball. Her claims of “PENALTY” fell on deaf ears much to her annoyance, which resulted in a yellow card for dissent.

The Leeds keeper was called into action twice in succession saving firstly from the shot of Topping and again from Serena Miccolis from close range.

It was Glasgow’s turn to govern the game, controlling midfield through Topping, Miccolis and Macintyre. Their link up play was at times majestic.

We then saw the save of the match when Leeds’ Safia zerdazi struck a low drive from the right, forcing Kemp into a superb one-handed save, to the plaudits of the home support. The shot looked goal bound all the way. Great skill from both players.

Undeterred the number 13′s next attempt from a similar position was unstoppable. Hit high, with some venom, the ball cracked the crossbar, bouncing downwards as Kemp gathered. Referee and his assistant ruled the ball was over the line and the game was now balanced at 2 – 2.

What a game this was turning out to be. If a sports writer from one of our national newspapers had attended, he would have been treated to a marvellous match between these two girls’ teams. There would be no skirting around this fact!

I could hardly hear myself think as close to 100 people had gathered by now, including the Glasgow University Rugby Team! The noise was deafening as the crowd cheered their team on.

Natalie Brace and Billie Murphy had long distance efforts dealt with by GU keeper Kemp as Leeds looked for that decisive winning goal. The Glasgow side were tiring and with the visitors gaining a huge lift from the equaliser, looked more likely to score.

Brace came close with a curling shot from 20 yards but it was the wrong side of the bar.

Glasgow then had a glorious opportunity as Hammond whipped in a corner for Mariel Kaney to head from three yards. Many of the home fans thought she had scored but somehow, it edge beyond the far post.

The match continued at a chaotic pace from one end to the other. Both teams searching for the winner. As we approached the final minutes, I like many others, was preparing for penalties.

That was until Glasgow played a long cross ball to Macintyre who lay in wait on the right. Her shot was powerful, high and unstoppable as it bulged the back of the net to give the hosts the winning goal. The celebrations were manic as a line of girls donned in black strips chased Ceara Macintyre up the pitch towards the halfway line. The jubilant players dived on top of each other in a pile in front of their fans. Amazing scenes but could Leeds save the day?

Alas the referee brought this incredible match to an end seconds later. The game was a superb example of how good the women’s game can be when two equally matched sides meet and compete. And to think no one paid to see this spectacle – it was completely free and worthy of its billing as the British Cup Semi-Final. The truth be told – I did not want this match to end.

Hopefully Glasgow can go on and win the trophy and SWFitba wish the girls the very best in the final.

Let us not forget Leeds however, whom without, the match would have been a far less enjoyable affair. Great team spirit having travelled so far to lose right at the death. It’s a pity there had to be a losing side at all.

Leeds lost one player through a knee injury and another with a broken collar bone. The latter being Abbey McIver was in contention for Player of the Match before being helped off the park in great pain. We hope that Abbey and Sophie are back playing soon, wishing them both a speedy recovery.

Player of the Match: There was one girl who ran her heart out for the full 90 minutes. She was suffering from an audible chest infection but burst her lungs as she terrorised the Leeds defence on both wings. That Player is Ceara Macintyre. Excellent performance and our interview with Caera follows soon.

Full Time: Glasgow University Ladies 3-2 Leeds University Ladies

Glasgow University Ladies: Kemp, Cole, Lyle, Christensen, Sun, Jaycock, Kaney, Macintyre, Miccolis, Hammond, Topping, Reddie, McWilliams, McGregor, De Wolf, Downey

Leeds University Ladies: Holland, Capon, Stone, Williams, Murphy, Griffiths, Brace, Costigan, McIver, Piotrowska, Riddiford, Zerdazi, Cole
 
Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 20:04
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