National Competitions (602)
Dyce Boys Club ran out 3-2 winners in a competitive Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie against a battling Spartans team in Aberdeen on Sunday.
The away side soaked up the early Dyce pressure and took the lead against the run of play in the 8th minute. A long ball in behind the Dyce defence was quickly pounced upon by Spartans front man Lewis Reynolds, who coolly slotted low passed the advancing goalkeeper Inglis.
Despite some good Dyce play and dominant possession, the home-side lacked their usual killer instinct in front of goal and the Spartans defence were alert to the increasing Dyce pressure.
The Edinburgh side’s well organised defence were frustrating the hosts and it looked like the team in red and white would preserve their one goal advantage going into the break.
However, shortly before the interval Dyce were back on level terms. Sutherland held the ball up well before feeding into the feet of McFarlane, who curled a fantastic right foot strike into the top corner of Jack Lister’s goal.
Two minutes later, Lister was again picking the ball out of his net. Sutherland, who had assisted the first goal got his name on the scoresheet. A lovely turn on the edge of the Spartans box, created the space for the Dyce striker to hit a low shot which nestled into the left hand corner of the Spartans goal.
The match restarted with Dyce on the front foot, although the North East side could not emulate the fluidity that saw them dispose of their Dunfermline opponents in the previous round.
In the 53rd minute, Dyce forward Miller Keir was fouled inside the Spartans penalty box. Keir stepped up to take the spot kick which thundered off the middle of the crossbar and was cleared by the Spartans defence.
Birthday boy Keir made amends minutes later when he controlled a well-placed pass into the box from Laird to find the net from close range.
The visitors were not out of it yet, and pulled a goal back in the 65th minute. Good work from Harrison on the right, whose low cross was turned into Inglis’ goal by the advancing Joseph Uwandu.
A nervous five minutes remained for the boys in blue and white as the visitors chased the equaliser, but Dyce held on to progress to the next round.
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.
Rosie was very unlucky to be on the losing side for Musselburgh Windsor. Livingstone was a self striker for the South East Region outfit and had plenty of opportunities and also linked up with other players around about her and built things up.
Demi was phenomenal for Donside Juvenile Under 13s in their cup final victory over Musselburgh Youngsters, the captain set up 2 goals and also created an assist which led to the winning goal.
Taylor has unbelieveable shooting ability with a couple of great strikes, alongside that, Taylor also had additional chances which either went wide or over the bar.
Rangers victory in the Under 15s final was deserved, although ultimately a tougher contest than the early exchanges indicated. As initial pressure evaporated, and Hibs found a previously absent cohesion, attrition as much as tactics came to the fore.
Whilst the first half ended goalless, possession and territory were primarily with the Glaswegians. It was control built upon midfield, where they owned superior numbers, shape, and consequently options. Hannah Robinson, Kirsty MacLean and Hannah Jordan rotated around and across the centre, ensuring each ball player had not only support, but choice.
For Hibs, the formation was stretched. Wide players Lalita Hirani and Mya Bates operated towards the touchline, leaving central midfielders Phoebe Friend and Emma Mitchell against three opponents - four if a striker dropped deep - which tempted them to fall further towards their centre backs.
The midfield and defence were so close, frequently no further than 25 yards from their own goal, which made the defence tighter but possession difficult to hold. Players had to aim long, but Hirani, Bates and Eilidh McEwan were isolated. They offered speed, but beating a team from halfway is a low-percentage game.
Conversely, Rangers could move the ball to their fullbacks, or have advanced players pull wide only when play became too congested in the middle. As long as their defence stayed alert to potential breaks, the best hope for the opening goal was theirs.
It was perhaps a surprise that it took until the second period for that goal to come; that it originated in midfield numbers, however, was not. Winning the ball in the Hibs half, there was an immediate numerical advantage and midfielders to spare. With space into which to progress, Summer Christie’s 20 yard shot into the bottom right corner was certainly the optimum decision.
Hibs equalised swiftly, both in time and style. In many ways, their goal epitomised their earlier play as much as Rangers’ effort had. A long ball finally found success, with speed taking play past the defence. Only Hirani and a single defender were able to keep up, and without sufficient cover the striker was able to cut across her defender to convert the cross.
That goal inspired Hibs, who suddenly succeeded in joining their play with greater consistency. Ella Blamire filled the gap between strikers and the centre, and Hirani and Bates were able to tuck in, receiving and playing balls on the floor. The midfield monopoly cracked, Rangers found themselves struggling, and Hibs’ Friend could outwork her opponents as extra time arrived.
In an effort to reverse the tide, Rangers removed their centre forward, asking Jodi McLeary and Robinson to float in from wide positions. It didn’t appear to be effective, until suddenly it worked in the best fashion possible. McLeary chased and won a ball a long ball, turned in to find Donohoe, and then to the open MacLean, who had made great efforts to catch up with play. They had, in a manner, replicated Hibs’ strike to win the cup.
Rangers Player of the match - Kirsty Maclean
It was Rangers who lifted the U15s Scottish Womens Youth Cup at Oriam last Saturday. The Glasgow side took all the spoils in a tighly contested game which went all the way to extra time. The game winner was scored by Kirsty Maclean, who overall had an absolutely outstanding game. Besides her goal, the central midfielder stood out, and especially in the latter stages of the game, she showed no signs of fatigue, and continued to dominate the match.
She had seemingly adopted a deep lying playmaker role, sitting deep, and distributing the ball forward. She was not afraid to get stuck in and did brilliantly to stop several break away attempts by the Hibs side and stretching their backline through her excellent distribution.
Everytime she was on the ball, she looked composed and concentrated. It seemed like she could always find a pass no matter how many players were around her. Her ball control was second to none all game. It was as if the ball just stuck to her feet, as it hardly ever got away from her.
The second half was very evenly contested, with Hibs getting back into the game. It was Maclean again, who often calmed the game down, and got her team to keep the ball on the floor, and retain possession.
With the game firmly in the balance at 1-1, extra time was where Maclean really excelled. She was still fighting for every loose ball, every 50/50. Both teams were pushing forward for that winner, but it was Maclean that found it, late into the second half of extra time.
The composure she had displayed throughout the game, was once again the factor in her goal. She latched onto a pass from her team mate inside the box, took one touch, and slotted it away into the right hand side of the sprawling Hibernian goalkeeper.
She didnt let up there either. As the clock ticked on, it was Maclean again who played a brilliant ball over the top of the Hibs defence to Abbie Mackay who had her effort, tipped over the bar by Grace Mitchell in the Hibernian goal.
After the game when asked if her cup winning goal was the most important goal she has ever scored, she replied with a resounding yes.
Overall, the Rangers team had many impressive performers, however it was Kirsty Maclean who caught the eye.
Hibernian Player of the Match - Zoe Murray
In what was a very tightly contested game, Hibernian can be very proud of their performance.
All of the Hibernian players put in a brilliant shift, and were unlucky to come away without any silverware. Their defence was solid almost all game, with full back Zoe Murray being the outstanding one from the number four.
With Rangers being the dominant team in the first half she put in a real shift, going in for every tackle and doing well to contain the dangerous Rangers attackers. When the game shifted in the second, she continued to contain, contributing to their excellent defensive effort.
Everytime she was faced up on a one vs one she always knew what to do, not commiting herself and losing her position, but instead concentrating and waiting for the opposition to make a mistake.
Hibernian overall as a team worked really hard, and must be dissapointed that their effort was not rewarded. Ella Biamire was probably the most threatening on the attacking side of things due to her ability to get past her marker.
She set up to Lalita Hirani's opener in the second half. Grace Mitchell, the Hibs goalkeeper, also did well, making some very important saves especially in the second half.