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Game of two halves, but Hearts progress to Toryglen

Hearts Girls 3

Dodds, Welch (2)

Celtic FC 12's 2

McLure, Davidson
  • Saturday, 12 October 2013
  • Ravenscraig, Motherwell
  • 13's Girls
  • SWF Scottish Cup

Kieran Green | YFS South East Region Journalist

 
In a game of two completely contrasting halves of football, Hearts came out on top of a thrilling encounter in the Scottish Womans Football Scottish Youth Cup Semi final at Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell. Jennifer Margaret Dodds and a Naomi Welch double gave Hearts a 3-0 half time advantage. However, a spiriting second half showing from Celtic and goals from Jacqueline McLure and Lauren Davidson made it a nervy finish for Hearts, but they did just enough to get themselves a date with Falkirk at Toryglen in the final. Hearts beat Forfar Farmington Eagles 5 goals to nil to get themselves into this semi final, whilst Celtic recorded a 5-1 victory over Hibs. 
 
The game never really got to life until around 10 minutes in, when Jennifer Margaret Dodds put Hearts 1-0 up. Naomi Welch powerfully ran down the right hand side all the way to the corner flag, and she pulled the ball back to Dodds who was in a very good position to finish across Jade Bailey in the Celtic goal. Welch providing a great cut back to Dodds, and this combination would prove to cause Celtic many problems. 
 
Even in the early stages, Hearts' number 4 Naomi Welch was proving to be the main danger for Celtic, and her latest effort on goal was a spectacular one. The bouncing ball evading all but Welch, and she managed to chip the ball just over the head of Lauren Davidson, and then to bring the ball down with an expert touch, and the half volley looked destined for the top corner, but for Bailey in the Celtic goal it would've been. Terrific save and well held at the second attempt from her. Hearts almost doubling their lead. 
 
It wasn't long however until Hearts did double their lead, and it couldn't of been any other than Welch. Her powerful running providing too many problems for the Celtic defenders, and she was brought down inside the box, and a penalty was given by the referee. No complaints from Celtic. Welch took the penalty herself and she rifled it into the top corner with conviction, giving Bailey not a hope, despite going the right way. 2-0 to Hearts, and at this rate it could be quite a few more. 
 
Celtic, to their credit did not allow their heads to go down at any point and Aimee Boyle did provide Celtic with their first effort on target. From a wide and very tight angle, she managed to loop the ball towards the back post, and it looked as if Helena Todd in the Hearts goal was beaten, but amazingly she preserved her clean sheet with a brilliant touch over the bar. Celtic almost managing to get themselves back into the game.
 
After almost getting themselves back into the game, Celtic were dealt with a real blow as Hearts added to their lead with a third goal, through the best player on the park in the first half, Naomi Welch. A long goal kick from Hearts keeper Todd evaded everybody, and Welch found herself 1 on 1 with Bailey, and there was only ever going to be one outcome as she slotted home into the bottom left hand corner for a 3-0 half time lead for the capital side. Celtic had some serious work to do if they were to get back into the game. 
  • Half Time:
  • Hearts Girls
  • 3-0
  • Celtic FC 12's
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.
  • Full Time:
  • Hearts Girls
  • 3-2
  • Celtic FC 12's

Lineups

Hearts Girls
Celtic FC 12's

1. Helena Tod
2. Kazya Stevens
3. Tia-Louise Munro 
4. Naomi Welch
5. Holly Flett 
6. Tegan McLean
7. Ruth Quill
8. Alannis Hutchison
9. Sophie Mauriello
10. Jennifer Margaret Dodds
12. Holly Aitchison
14. Naimh McLaren

1. Jade Bailey
3. Jacqueline McLure
6. Emma McLure
7. Lauren Davidson
8. Emma Louise Lawton
9. Emma Johnstone
10. Mhairi Rennie
11. Aimee Boyle

Star Player
Hearts Girls
Celtic FC 12's
It was a toss up between goal scoring hero Naomi Welch and rock at the back Sophie Mauriello. Hearts would not have made the final without goals from Welch, however without the outstanding defending job from Mauriello would not have given Hearts the result they needed, and that is why Sophie Mauriello is Hearts' star player.
In the second half, Lauren Davidson was the main threat to Hearts, and she did what a captain should do, lift her teammates and lead by example, and she did all of that aswell as scoring a goal for her side. Lauren Davidson is Celtic's star player.
Magic Moment
Hearts Girls
Celtic FC 12's
When Naomi Welch scored her first goal, Hearts' second, it gave them some breathing space and it was an emphatic penalty. Rifled into the top corner. You won't see a better penalty than that!
Lauren Davidson scored Celtic's second goal to give them even more hope of getting something out of the game, and it was a brilliant goal as well. The one-two between her and Boyle was easy on the eye and it lifted the whole Celtic team even more.
Club Views
Hearts Girls
Celtic FC 12's
Coco McDonald, the Head Coach of Hearts said: "The girls worked extremely hard today and all throughout the season, and they deserve every minute of the final they will be playing in. Well done to them all."
Liam Pattie, the Head Coach of Celtic said: "I am very proud of the fighting spirit the girls showed today after being 3-0 down, and they were very unlucky not to get another goal."
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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