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Graeme HS lift Senior Girls Shield with victory over Bathgate

Graeme High School 4

Young 9, Farquhar 24, Saunders 46, Kerr 49

Bathgate Academy 1

Barrie 47
  • Friday, 22 May 2015
  • The Falkirk Stadium
  • Under 18´s
  • SSFA Senior Girls Shield inal

Jack Thomson | YFS Falkirk Senior Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]d.co.uk

A sense of excitement and expectation enveloped the Falkirk Stadium as kick-off of the Senior Girls Shield Final approached on Friday evening. The opportunity to grasp silverware is one that all young footballers aspire to and 2015’s final promised to be an entertaining spectacle with both sides notching twenty goals or more en route. Graeme High School traveled to Dingwall as they ousted 2014’s winners Nicholson Institute 1-0 in the Semi-Final, while Bathgate Academy despatched Glasgow’s Williamwood High School to secure their place. 

The encounter opened in tense fashion as both teams ultimately realised there was a lot at stake and were determined not to allow a lapse in concentration to damage their chances of taking home the Shield. Graeme High School were the first to register an effort on goal in the third minute when Kim McAlpine demonstrated her quality with an enterprising turn on the edge of the Bathgate penalty area but her shot was held comfortably by goalkeeper Lauren Brown. Bathgate responded within five minutes by driving up the field and drawing a foul thirty yards from goal. Kirstie McIntosh whipped in a dangerous cross from the left but Graeme High did well to defend as a unit and nod the ball clear for a corner. 

It would not take long for the deadlock to be broken, however, when in the ninth minute during a Graeme High attack the ball bounced loose in Bathgate’s penalty area. Zoe Young reacted sharply and showed strength to outmuscle her marker before prodding the ball into the net beyond the outstretched arm of Brown. 

Bathgate Academy responded well, as they looked to get the ball forward immediately following kick-off, switching the play and opening up space. Graeme High recognised this and, as a result, began to press with intensity higher up the field. Winning the ball back in a dangerous attacking area with 17 minutes on the clock, Young’s pass found McAlpine who dinked a through-ball into the path of Claire Farquhar. The angle just proved too tight as Brown proved equal to the shot across goal. A minute following, McAlpine found herself released clean through on goal but Brown once again demonstrated her capability as a shot-stopper. This time narrowing the angle well before palming McAlpine’s strike to safety. Graeme High were looking for that second goal as they began to take charge in the middle of the pitch. 

It would arrive in the 24th minute when a diagonal ball released Farquhar on the left. Controlling the ball with ease the midfielder bore down on goal and lashed the ball clinically into the roof of the net. A second goal meant that Graeme High’s confidence soared and this was evident when McAlpine sent a dipping long-range effort inches over the crossbar from 25 yards.

The midfielder really began to enjoy herself when on the 28-minute mark an exquisite turn in the opposition box afforded her the space to knock the ball back in the direction of captain Samantha Kerr on the edge of the box. Kerr was unfortunate to drill the ball just wide. 

There was to be one more opportunity before the break and it fell to McAlpine once again as her darting box-to-box runs really proved to be a thorn in the side of Bathgate. Farquhar lobbed the ball in behind for McAlpine to pursue but Bathgate did well to force the innovative midfielder away from goal and keep the score at 2-0 going into half-time.

  • Half Time:
  • Graeme High School
  • 2-0
  • Bathgate Academy

Graeme High started the second half with the same tempo they finished the first as, immediately following the restart, Samantha Kerr burst down the right flank, beat Jane Marshall, and bent a cross into the box. It was McAlpine once again who had shown the hunger and desire to meet the delivery but her effort was blocked. 

The lead was to be extended in the 46th minute. Leah Eddie’s impressive overlapping performance at full back was adding an extra dimension to Graeme High’s attacks but this time the defender opted to cut infield before threading a ball through for McAlpine. The Graeme High player's drilled effort was matched by an excellent stop from Brown but Kasey Saunders had the goal at her mercy as she tapped the ball home to make it 3-0. 

It would take a single minute for Bathgate Academy to retort, however. Pacey winger Katie Barrie drove into space before floating what seemed to be a hopeful cross into the box. Much to everyone’s surprise the ball looped over goalkeeper Erin Shepherd-Rodgers and into the net to give Bathgate a lifeline.

It was to be a short-lived one. Graeme High got their fourth of the evening from a corner in the 49th minute. Farquhar curled the ball into the box and Kerr rose highest to flick a header into the empty net. 

As Graeme High’s resident bagpiper kicked in, the Falkirk-based school sensed they were a mere 20 minutes from having a party. As the leaders began to contain proceedings, a poor clearance from the Bathgate backline allowed substitute Natalie Thomson to have a pop at goal from the right side of the box. Thomson was unfortunate to slice her effort over the bar. 

Bathgate continued to work tirelessly to find another route back into the tie and almost did14 minutes from time when McIntosh’s corner was headed back into her path. Driving into the box, Bathgate’s linchpin struck the ball low towards the near post but Shepherd-Rodgers got down well to smother the effort.

The penultimate clear-cut chance of the evening came in the 70th minute and it was that girl McAlpine once again. The midfielder combined well with the trickery of Taylor Hamill. Weaving towards goal, McAlpine’s toe poke forced an excellent one-handed save from Brown as she turned the ball around the post.

As referee Roumen Rader blew for full time, the players and coaching staff of Graeme High School raced to one another to celebrate a wonderful achievement which was captured in complete elegance and style. It was a performance worthy of taking home the the SSFA’s Senior Girls Shield.

  • Full Time:
  • Graeme High School
  • 4-1
  • Bathgate Academy

Lineups

Graeme High School
Bathgate Academy
1. Erin Shepherd-Rodgers
2. Leah Eddie
3. Chloe Ward
4. Lindsey Blues
5. Sarah Johnston
6. Kim McAlpine
7. Samantha Kerr (c)
8. Claire Farquhar
9. Kasey Saunders
10. Taylor Hamill
11. Zoe Young
15. Natalie Thomson
1. Lauren Brown
2. Nicole Lind
3. Jane Marshall (c)
4. Tabbi Mace
5. Sophie McMillan
6. Monica Anderson
7. Teagan Lees
8. Nicole Smith
9. Amy Brown
10. Kirstie McIntosh
11. Kirsty Strang
12. Katie Barrie
14. Chloe Young
15. Miya Kelly
Star Player
Graeme High School
Bathgate Academy
Kim McAlpine - Her domineering box to box performance edges it over composed full back Leah Eddie. It was a performance showing constant creativity and imagination.
Kirstie McIntosh - Put in a tireless shift for Bathgate Academy, posing a dangerous threat in dead-ball situations and refusing to give up throughout.
Magic Moment
Graeme High School
Bathgate Academy
Farquhar's 24th minute strike demonstrated perfect technique and left the goalkeeper with no chance - a memorable goal fit for a final.
Katie Barrie's cross-come-shot was either a piece of fortune or absolute brilliance. Only the winger will know which. Her graft and persistent running was deserving of the sublime goal.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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