It seemed to me as if the game was dead and buried at half time with Hearts leading 3-0. However, Celtic were determined to prove me wrong, as they came firing out the blocks with all guns blazing fighting for a chance to get themselves to Toryglen for the final. The first opportunity fell to Aimee Boyle, after a great ball over the top from captain Lauren Davidson. From the angle I was positioned, it looked as if Boyle had a clear 1on1 chance with Todd and seemed destined to score, but the Hearts captain and central defender Sophie Mauriello had other ideas as she slid in from absolutely nowhere to block the shot from Boyle and clear the ball to safety. An outstanding piece of defending from Mauriello to keep Hearts 3-0 up in this semi final.
Boyle found herself in a similar position a few minutes later. This time with a lot more time than she realised, she took the shot too early and it nestled safely in the arms of Todd. still 3-0.
In the not too distand future, Celtic did get themselves back into the game, and it was through Jacqueline McLure. A throw in on the left hand side, McLure getting the pass back from Davidson, and a low drive across Todd who was beaten all ends up. A fantastic strike from the Celtic player to reduce the deficit to 3-1.
Hearts just didn't look the same team that had dominated the whole of the first half, and they began to become very shaky at the back. Celtic were in the ascendency and most definately couldn't of came closer to making the game 3-2. Davidson's shot from 10 yards out was well saved down to her left by Todd, but she parried the ball back out to Davidson and the follow up looked certain to go in, but more astonishing defending from Hearts, and this time Holly Flett blocking the shot on the line was to keep the score at 3-1. Celtic just weren't getting the luck they needed and most definately deserved in this second half.
It wasn't to be 3-1 much longer as captain fantastic Davidson pulled another back for Celtic. Driving through the middle through 3 Hearts players, playing the ball wide to Boyle, continuing her run into the centre of the box and Boyle's first time cross back to Davidson was expertly converted past the helpless Todd to give Celtic even more hope of getting back into the game. 3-2 now, with not long to go!
It just wasn't to be Celtics day as the post was getting in the way of an equaliser. From a Celtic corner, a mass scramble of 10 players resulted in the ball making its way closer to the Hearts goal, and it was the toe of Davidson getting the touch to divert the ball towards goal, only to see it hit the foot of the post, and Mauriello cleared the danger for the meantime. Celtic really couldn't have come any closer to equalising.
Naomi Welch was becoming more and more isolated up front for Hearts, as all the other players were defending for their lives. On the rare occasion that Welch received the ball in the second half, her direct running style almost caught Celtic out as they were committing more bodies forward. Welch was left with only Bailey to beat with only a few minutes to go, but her shot from the angle crashed off the crossbar and Bailey grabbed the ball before Welch would follow up. The Hearts players and coaches with their heads in their hands as they knew that was the moment that could of sealed their place in the final.
Time was running out for Celtic, and they were dominating even more with possession stats heavily in their favour. The star of the show for Celtic, Lauren Davidson, had the golden opportunity to take the game to penalties, but some more brilliant defending from her fellow captain Sophie Mauriello confirmed Hearts' place in the final at Toryglen, with a block on Davidson's shot that seemed goal bound.
The cries of "Take it to the corner" came from the Hearts bench when they eventually got hold of the ball, and the referee blew the final whistle to signal the end of what was a thrilling game of football, and a great advert for girls football in Scotland. A unbelievable turn of events from the Hearts onslaught in the first half, to Celtics total dominance in the second made this game one of the most exciting games I have watched all season.
Congratulations to Hearts who have booked their date with Falkirk in the Final of the SWF Scottish Youth Cup final at Toryglen. Also, a massive well done to Celtic who put up a wonderful second half showing to give Hearts a scare, and their grit and determination almost giving them a chance of playing in the final aswell. With the Hoops side a 12's team playing at 13's level, the future is bright for that crop of players.