Glasgow City - Karsey McGlinchey
Glasgow City’s victory was dominant, achieved with goals from strikers, midfielders, defenders, starters and substitutes. Both wings were utilised, and bar one loss of concentration after scoring their fifth, the back line was comfortable. In such wins the goalscorers get the glory and statistics, but much of this team’s success comes from quick single and two-touch ball movement across and up the pitch, a philosophy personified by Karsey McGlinchey.
McGlinchey’s play is a good lesson in the importance of a player keeping her head up and considering space. By taking a few wise steps into gaps, she repeatedly gave her defenders a safe outlet on the ground, avoiding the need to hit long aerial balls; shifting and switching the play via minimal touches - whether five yards or to the opposite flank - ensured Dryburgh could never settle. This metronomic football was the foundation for players further up the field to be creative.
Being the gel between the lines means that communication and discipline are important elements in McGlinchey’s game. Her constant talking to defenders and fellow midfielders, and holding back when others advance, was both apparent and vital to an overall fluid, winning structure for the favourites. Consider, for instance, a moment in the 67th minute when a bounce deceived one of her centre backs, but McGlinchey was within sprinting distance to cover.
Yet perhaps this excellent midfield performance was best exemplified by a passage of play at the beginning of the second half. McGlinchey started an attack in the 43rd minute, following play into the box; a minute later she was sliding in at halfway to halt a potential breakaway. Not long after, a lofted ball over the left back sent a team mate through one-on-one. A single spell showed patience, support, discipline and distribution. This is why she has been given call-ups to the senior side.
A few pot shots from distance towards the end highlighted that goals may not be her forte, but with the result secure and possession near total, such exuberance was excusable. After all, it is not every day you get to be a cup final winner. That said, such is her ability there may be more days than most. This was a great individual display in a brutally strong team performance.
Dryburgh Athletic - Gabrielle Watt
For Dryburgh, heavy underdogs going into the final, spirit and endeavour were always going to be as important as the scoreline. Midfielder Brodie Clark had some promising moments, particularly in the opening salvo when she got beyond her direct opponents and required stout defending. Striker Gabrielle Watt, meanwhile, epitomised positivity in an often isolated role.
There may be nothing more tiring - and potentially dispiriting - in football than having to work without the ball, but Watt proverbially lead from the front. This is not, however, to state that running was her only weapon. When the ball was won she attacked defenders, with one dribble in the second half requiring three players to stop her.
The highlight, for Watt and the team, came in the opening period. Glasgow had just added to their tally when a lofted ball from Dryburgh’s midfield suddenly created a 50-50 bouncing ball near the centre back. Watt, synonymous with energy, went after it and won. Through on goal she calmly rolled the ball home, provoking the manner of team and crowd celebration that is genuinely heart-warming. Here was a tangible reward for an afternoon of intangible work.