National Competitions (605)
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.
Donside Juveniles v Musselburgh Windsor U13 Girls
Donside Preview | Musselburgh Preview | Match Report | Photo Gallery | Match Analysis | Players of the Match | Cup Lift | Video Clip of the Game
Dryburgh Preview | City Preview | Match Report | Photo Gallery | Match Analysis | Players of the Match | Cup Lift | Video Clip of the Game
Vale of Leven vs Johnstone Burgh
Rutherglen Glencairn vs Campsie FC
Arthurlie Juniors vs Shettleston Juniors
Steins Thistle vs Kirkintilloch Rob Roy
Rossvale vs Harmony Row
Greenock High School vs Renfrew FC Blue
Gartcairn FA vs Barrhead YFC
KSC Kilwinning Rangers vs Eastwood Juveniles
All ties will be played in November. Good luck to all teams involved!
Vale of Leven vs Musselburgh Windsor
Colony Colts vs Arthurlie Cantera
St Andrews BC vs Cumbernauld Colts FC Blues
Thornton Hibs vs Larkhall Thistle
Broxburn Athletic Colts vs Port Glasgow BC
Armadale Calcio vs Harmony Row
Glenburn MW or Glenrothes Athletic vs Gleniffer Thistle or Hurlford
Syngenta Juveniles vs Calderbraes FC Colts
Musselburgh Youngstars vs Kirkintilloch Rob Roy
Milton Rovers vs Giffnock SC United
YFFC Jerviston vs Cambuslang FA
West Park United vs Longniddry Villa
EKFC Blues vs Spartans FC Youth Reds
Spartans FC Youth vs Irvine United
Auchinleck Talbot vs Rutherglen Glencairn
Sunnybank Elite vs Edinburgh City Black
Rothes Juniors vs Tynecastle FC
Harmony Row vs Blantyre SA Black
Spartans FC Youth vs Fairmuir BC
Kemnay FC vs FC Coasters
Milton vs Banks O’Dee Albion
Dryburgh Athletic vs Cumbernauld Colts
Third Lanark vs AM Soccer Club
Valleyfield vs Lewis United Rangers
Middlefield Wasps vs EKFC Blue
Lenzie vs Ferry Athletic
Glenrothes Strollers vs Mossend FC
Kilsyth CFC vs Colony Park
St Andrews BC Reds or Blantyre SA Gold vs Kilsyth Athletic
Rossvale FC Thistle vs Glenvale AFC
Bonnyrigg Rose FC vs Erskine YFC Athletic
Prestwick Community vs Jerviston FC Blue