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To be totally honest, I never thought that I would enjoy girls football as much as I did, watching this SSFA Girls Shield Final at Spartans Academy. Both sides played some brilliant football and this match was a great advert for Youth Football in Scotland. Woodmill took the shield on the night, but it is a shame that there has to be a loser in a cup final, when both teams played as well as these girls did. Megen Reilly with a double, and strikes from Georgia Muller and Shannon MacNamara sealed the win for Woodmill. Natasha Selkirk with Lasswade's goal.
The first attack of the night came from central midfield powerhouse Shannon MacNamara. Driving down the left hand side, diagonally into the box, she pulled the ball back towards the penalty spot, but Nicola Selkirk was on hand to clear the danger. McNamara giving a clear indication of her intentions for the evening.
MacNamara was showing all of her attributes, and this time forcing Lasswade keeper Megane Steel into a wonderful save. MacNamara found herself in some space 25 yards out, he powerful effort looking destined for the back of the net, but Steel was equal to it, pushing the ball to safety. Fine save.
The goal for Woodmill did eventually come. Georgia Muller on the right hand side, cut inside of the left back for Lasswade, she found herself one on one with Steel. The keeper commiting herself on the edge of the box, Muller was composed, rounded Steel and finished into the empty net. 1-0 to Woodmill, and fully deserved.
Courtney McDonald almost equalised immediately for Lasswade, with virtually their first real attack of the match. a long range effort almost catching out Kira Sutter in the Woodmil goal, but McDonald's effort just clearing the post.
Both sides were adopting totally different approaches to the match. Lasswade were opting to build from the back, which is very encouraging indeed, and opting to shoot from long range. On the other hand, Woodmill were opting to clear the ball as far as possible at the back, and were playing football in and around the Lasswade penalty area. Almost trying to score the perfect goal. In Scotland, we try not to encourage the long ball, but in this case, Lasswade, I think, needed to opt for this style, as playing from the back meant they were being put under pressure all of the time.
It wasn't long untill Woodmill found their second goal of the match. MacNamara played in striker Megen Reilly on the edge of the 18 yard box, she took a touch to set herself, and fired an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net. Some finish, as was her celebration. 2-0 to Woodmill.
The game at this point really burst into and end to end affair, as Lasswade found themselves a way back into the game. A poor clearance from Sutter in goal fell to the feet of Natasha Selkirk, and she let the ball run across her body before hitting a low drive into the near post. Yet again, a great finish and Lasswade had a lifeline.
A very unfortunate incident occured next, with Lasswade playmaker Lauren Watters having to leave the pitch, with what looked like a serious knee injury. She was in clear pain, and this is never nice to see anywhere, especially on a Football pitch where she is playing the sport she loves.
The 2 goal lead for Woodmill was almost restored, as Hannah Colyer somehow managed to toe-poke the ball over the bar from 6 yards out. From my angle, it looked impossible to miss. There must have been some sort of a divit on this wonderful 3G synthetic pitch.
With Watters' injury, Lasswade suffered the double whammy as they were 2 goals behind again. Megen Reilly grabbing her second goal of the match, looping the ball over the on-rushing Steel from 12 yards out, to restore Woodmill's 2 goal advantages.
At half time in the SSFA Girls Shield Final, Woodmill lead by 3 goals to 1, and deservedly so.
Half Time: Lasswade High School Girls 1-3 Woodmill High School Girls
The second half overall really lacked much goalmouth action. A complete contrast to the first half. Lasswade dominated the second half, and looked as if they were going to come back from the 2 goal defecit. Natasha Selkirk battling hard down the right hand side, she pulled the ball back for Eilidh Morris on the penalty spot, but so very unfortunately, she missed her kick, and Summer Cowan was able to clear the danger.
McNamara was back doing her defending duties this time, as she cleared Morris' header from Learmouth's corner off the line, to preserve her sides 2 goal advantages. Although Woodmill were hanging on, with Lasswade growing into the match even more.
Megen Reilly couldve certainly confirmed her side's victory, and her hattrick, when she was 6 yards out, with the whole goal to aim at, but amazingly she fired over the bar. A goal there would have sent the very noisy Woodmill supporters into raptures.
Both sets of players were beginning to get very tired, as running about this massive pitch is a very tiring experience indeed. However, MacNamara, from somewhere, managed to find a burst of energy to power through the Lasswade centre backs, and firing a bullet-like strike across Steel, and she actually burst the net. The goal definately confirming Woodmill's win, and knocking the remaining stuffing out of a very competant Lasswade side.
Overall, I think that Woodmill did deserve the win, but Lasswade were definately worthy competitors, and put up a great fight, and in the second half, they dominated possession and I thought there were going to find themselves a way back into the match. It just wasn't to be though. Congratualtions to both sides for reaching the final, and to Woodmill High School for winning the SSFA Under 15's Girls Shield.
I would just like to wish Lasswade's Lauren Watters a speedy recovery, in what looked to me a very serious knee injury. The worst injuries are always the ones that occur when there isn't another player around. All the best to Lauren, I am sure she will return fighting fit.
Full Time: Lasswade High Schoool Girls 1-4 Woodmill High School Girls