Lomond Colts and Monifieth LFC met in the SWF East League Cup final on a windy but dry afternoon at Dundee University's Riverside Complex. In a stunning game of two halves the teams went into the break level at 2-2, with Lomond coming from behind twice. The Fifers then blew away their opponents in the second half with Michaela McLaughlin bagging a hat-trick as they ran out 7-2 winners.
The East Region of girls' football is split into two sections. Lomond Colts have been in excellent form in the Fife & Perth Division, winning all 9 of their ties to date. Monifieth are amongst the chasing pack in the Dundee and Angus Division, with the chance to go 3 points off the top should they win a couple of games in hand. On the road to the final Lomond had taken care of Raith Rovers, Broughty United and Dunfermline Athletic Girls; Monifieth had beaten Breadalbane/Strathtay YC, Jeanfield Saints and Forfar Farmington Wildcats.
The match started as it meant to continue, with chances aplenty at both ends. Kirsty Black of Monifieth shot across the face of goal, whereas Lomond's Nicole Peggie rounded the goalkeeper but saw the ball nicked off her toe by a well positioned defender.
Emily Younger lined up on the right hand side for Monifieth in an attacking minded role. She looked to make her mark on the game immediately, picking up the ball and running at her opposing defenders with a combination of trickery and direct power. Erin Clachers in the Lomond goal had to be at her best to deny Younger as a jinking run lead to her bearing down on goal. Younger's next foray forward saw the loose ball fall to Dee Brown, who curled a right footed shot off the post.
At the other end, Peggie came close to capitalising on a defensive error, but it would be Monifieth who drew first blood. Once again Younger's build up play was majestic and although her end product was less convincing, it deflected off a defender and flew into the net.
Lomond didn't take long to respond, conjuring up an instant equaliser. The ball was thrown in from the left hand side by Sophie Aitken and took a touch off a defender, wrongfooting Monifieth keeper Meg Rowan and nestling in the back of the net.
The goals were now flying in and another deflection saw Monifieth regain their lead. Georgie Simpson's shot took a drastic change of direction after hitting a defender and although goalkeeper Clachers did well to turn it onto the bar, it bounced down and was judged to have crossed the line. It was a close call but referee Isla English was quick and decisive with her verdict and to the credit of Lomond's players they accepted it and moved on immediately.
One final twist remained in the first half and it saw Lomond Colts equalise. A corner from Peggie was cleared back towards the flag, which prompted the pacy striker to cut inside and unleash a powerful right footed strike, giving the goalkeeper little chance.
Half Time: Lomond Colts Under 13s 2-2 Monifieth LFC Under 13s
The wind continued to blow across the pitch as the second half kicked off. The players of both sides did exceptionally well to get the ball down on the floor and pass the ball at every given opportunity.
Simpson thought she had put Monifieth back into the lead but Clachers managed to get her body behind the long range drive and smother the ball before it crossed the line.
However, it was Lomond Colts who scored the half's first goal and got their noses in front for the first time in the match. Michaela McLaughlan won a penalty kick and dusted herself down before drilling it low into the bottom right hand corner.
McLaughlan nearly doubled her tally and her side's advantage, when she glanced a header narrowly wide from a Peggie corner. She went once better a couple of minutes later when she met a corner on the volley, which found its way into the back of the net.
McLaughlan was now setting the heather alight and it was no surprise to see her crown a superb 10 minute spell by sealing her hat-trick. Isla Ryan and Peggie combined with the latter placing an inch perfect ball across goal and leaving a simple finish for the in form midfielder.
Whilst Monifieth continued to look threatening on the break, with Younger still looking dangerous everytime she picked up the ball, it was the Fife outfit who continued to thrive. Their strength in depth was evident when the talented Jess Hay came off the bench and immediately crashed a shot off the woodwork, with Aitken on hand to turn in the rebound.
The seventh and final goal for Colts was all about Hay. The super sub received the ball outside the area, jinked past the first challenge before behind floored by the second. After a friendly battle with the goal hungry McLaughlin, Hay won the right to take the spot kick. Despite Rowan doing well to get a hand to the ball, the power carried it in and Lomond celebrated.
A terrific final and advert for girls' football in the region. Lomond Colts were well worth their victory on the basis of their sublime second half display, but had Monifieth's end product matched their build up play, the scoreline may have been very different. Both sets of girls have a long journey ahead of them in youth football but are certainly on the right track.
Full Time: Lomond Colts Under 13s 7-2 Monifieth LFC Under 13s