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Scottish Independent Schools girls defeat English counterparts in pulsating match

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English Independent Schools
 vs
Scottish Independent Schools
 
 
 
Girls Independent Schools Challenge Match
St George's Park
16 December 2014
 
 
 
The FA Performance Centre at St George’s Park provided an illustrious setting for the first ever full international fixture for a SISFA Girls’ squad; a real landmark, as our U16s headed south to the Staffordshire countryside to take on what we knew would be a strong England team.
 
The Scots started the game very much on the front foot, taking the game to their hosts, and the resultant early pressure paid off as striker Grace Molloy found time and space in the box to fire home. 
 
That old adage of a team being at its most vulnerable immediately after scoring certainly came home to roost, as England drew level within a minute, bundling the ball in from a free kick.
 
To the SISFA girls’ credit, however, they did not allow this setback to unsettle them and quickly found themselves dominating possession once again, with the central midfield trio of Georgia Adderley, Kate Alexander and Ciara Keenan doing sterling work in winning the ball and feeding it out to the wide areas. 
 
It thus came as no surprise when Scotland edged back in front, this time through Helena Todd, whose work out wide on the right was keeping the England rear guard busy, as she turned sharply and delivered a fine finish. 
 
Not to be outdone, Amber Paterson was also having considerable joy out on the left where she was able to use her pace to great effect, getting in behind the opposing defence and into promising positions. Indeed, she can count herself most unfortunate not to have got herself onto the score sheet, as Scotland piled on the pressure and created a number of fine chances, hitting both post and crossbar in the process.
 
As the first half wore on the Scots’ defence was rarely troubled and took on an increasingly solid look, wonderfully marshalled by centre backs Lynsey Carlyle and Katie MacDonald, who had by now forged a strong partnership. 
 
Left back Colette Cavanagh was not only nullifying an opponent whose pace and trickery posed a real threat, but with her marauding, penetrating runs deep into the England half was herself having a real impact as an attacking force. 
 
Meanwhile Kirsty Buist, not accustomed to playing at right back, showed good positional awareness and strength in the tackle, and on the rare occasions when England did manage to breach the Scottish back line they found in Whitney McMahon a goalkeeper who was both brave and alert to snuffing out any danger.
 
Having travelled with a squad of only thirteen and aware of the need to rotate players to keep things fresh, Sarah McLaren and Aicha Keita entered the fray before half time, making telling contributions in holding midfield and striking roles respectively. 
 
Half Time : English Independent Schools 1-2 Scottish Independent Schools
 
With Scotland 2-1 up at the break, the only real concern was the slenderness of the lead, and the early part of the second half did indeed suggest that we might ultimately rue earlier spurned opportunities, as England turned the game around with two goals in six minutes, their equaliser being a particularly good strike. 
 
However, the Scots – despite the inevitable onset of fatigue – were by no means finished yet and delivered the perfect response within two minutes of falling behind for the first and only time, courtesy of arguably the best move of the match finished off by Grace Molloy following some fantastic link up play with Georgia Adderley.
 
Fast forward a mere four minutes and once again it was Grace Molloy who showed real composure as she lobbed the England goalkeeper from distance to put SISFA 4-3 up and cap an outstanding performance by sealing her hat trick.
 
With more than quarter of an hour still to play and England desperately seeking an equaliser the tension was verging on unbearable, as the Scotland girls summoned every last remaining ounce of energy to keep their hosts at bay. 
 
Though England forced a number of corners and free kicks, the Scots’ defence and midfield remained resolute to the last, with Georgia Adderley very nearly delivering the crowning glory with a curling strike which looked for all the world like it was heading for the top right hand corner before sailing narrowly wide. 
 
As it was the final whistle brought both elation and relief, as Scotland saw out a remarkable victory courtesy of a superb team performance in a pulsating match. 
 
Full Time : English Independent Schools 3-4 Scottish Independent Schools
 
Scottish Independent Schools :
 
ADDERLEY Georgia, The Mary Erskine School
ALEXANDER Kate, George Watson’s College
BUIST Kirsty, The Mary Erskine School
CARLYLE Lynsey, Hamilton College
CAVANAGH Colette, St Aloysius’ College
KEENAN Ciara, George Watson’s College
KEITA Aicha, George Heriot’s School
MACDONALD Katie, Strathallan School
MCLAREN Sarah, George Heriot’s School
MCMAHON Whitney, St David’s High School
MOLLOY Grace, The Mary Erskine School
PATERSON Amber, Strathallan School
TODD Helena, St George’s School for Girls
 
 
 
 
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