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McLeary Magic sees Rangers past Aberdeen in Scottish Cup

Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds 1

Ruiz 40

Rangers Girls Academy 4

McLeary 5, 10, Taylor 42, Pollock 63
  • Saturday, 18 May 2019
  • Aberdeen Sports Village
  • 15's Girls
  • Scottish Cup

Rangers progressed to the next round of the U15s Scottish Cup thanks to a 4-1 victory over Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds. A pair for Jodi McLeary and singles for Rebecca Taylor and Eve Pollock were enough for Jordan Boyd's young side to triumph on their travels. 

Aberdeen began the game brightly, running with purpose at the heart of the Rangers defence. Millie Urquhart's strike was deflected wide, moments before Demi Taylor and Alexandra Curry whipped in two dangerous corners. The hosts off to a vibrant start. 

A neat surface at Aberdeen Sports Village allowed the teams to move the ball around with intent in the early stages, both seeking composure and a measure of control in the haste of midfield. Rangers first threatened when Kirsten Love picked out the run of McLeary on the right. She beat her opponent to the byline before pulling it back for the arriving Emma Watson to rasp an effort off the crossbar from twelve yards. 

In the fifth minute, Rangers made the breakthrough, the combination this time working in reverse. Left footed, Watson dropped a beautifully weighted long ball beyond the Aberdeen backline with precision. It appeared initially as if Kayla Jardine was best placed to take up the chase for the Light Blues, but McLeary was in position to win the race. Sky Cameron did well to get fingertips on her shot, but could only help it up and into the goal. 

We saw bright interchange in reply for Aberdeen over the next few exchanges, with Demi Taylor and Emma Lawson battling hard, and Curry an outlet for some crossing opportunities. Forwards Urquhart and Carlijn Dashort were also responsible for asserting flashes of pressure with their workrate. 

Rangers though, would extend their advantage on 11. Daly again sharp and alert to tuck away the ball as she matched Madison Finnie for pace in the right channel and swept this one across the face of goal for the second. The visitors were rolling. 

Midway through the half, Demi Taylor watched her shot lift inches over Jodie Baker's crossbar, prior to a spate of chances at either end. First, Watson was close to rounding off a Rangers move, Cameron out swiftly to smother at her feet. Not to be outdone, Baker got her gloves on the ball as Dashort burrowed a way through.

Despite the deficit, it was clear that the young Reds were testing the Govan side. Dashort again gambled on a loose out-ball to find herself one-on-one, but could only guide the final shot wide of the target. A minute later, Demi Taylor stood over a promising freekick, which she had earmarked for the top corner. It was carved there with venom, only for Baker to produce a wonderful stop. 

Eilidh Austin sprinted clear to create another decent sight of goal for Rangers, the girls in the knowledge that a third would be pivotal. 

Whilst it hadn't arrived by the interval, Aberdeen could maintain hope that a fortnight of football comebacks may shine some fortune on them.

  • Half Time:
  • Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds
  • 0-2
  • Rangers Girls Academy

Into the second half, and Aberdeen got the response they had been looking for, as Adela Ruiz pulled them back into the contest. In truth, she may have finished moments earlier, as she rounded the keeper but was crowded out before she could get her shot away. No mistakes second time round though, the ball recycled by Millie Urquhart and it fell for Ruiz to slam high past Baker with authority.

A frantic restart took a further twist only a minute or so later. Time for cool heads. Rangers duo Kayla Jardine and Emma Watson, both outstanding throughout, kept the visitors ticking over and got them back on the front-foot. Pushed down the right wing, McLeary closed down Aberdeen's Simone Thomson, and Rebecca Taylor spotted an opportunity to pounce. By any stretch of imagination, this looked to have been an attempted delivery, and although the flightpath was altered, landing was a success, the ball instead checking in via the back post. Crossed coordinates or pitch perfect? No need for debate. 3-1. 

Simply put, Aberdeen refused to be out counted. Into the last fifteen and Demi Taylor went close to their second. Later, a Madison Finnie cross from the left just evaded Adela Ruiz and the supporting Carlijn Dashort. The Reds were still committing their all to attack and their desire was unwavering.

In almost every game it is difficult to shine a light on the importance of "quiet" performers. Players that move around the game with subtlety and do the often unseen things well can be invaluable. In Emma Watson, Kayla Jardine, and Eilidh Austin, Rangers had a trio in particular that were exuding calm when called upon. 

Light Blues substitute Rebecca McGarvey sent Austin away for the first of two efforts at goal - the second of her own making - but she found Sky Cameron in top form; standing strong. 

Then, in the final minutes Zoe Main, herself an incoming sub, struck low. On the clearance, the referee stopped play for handball on the edge of the box. Freekick to Rangers, and Eve Pollock stepped up to fire the ball expertly into the corner and seal the Ibrox outfit's continuity in the Cup.

At the final whistle, it is certain that both teams can reflect on highly credible performances. Aberdeen's young squad should be rightly proud of themselves for their contributions in a hardworking display which saw them test, and be tested. Commiserations to them on this occasion, but they will go again.

Rangers can look back on a big victory laced with team quality, which ultimately carried them clear, and will look forward to further challenges in this year's competition. Very well played.

  • Full Time:
  • Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds
  • 1-4
  • Rangers Girls Academy

Lineups

Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds
Rangers Girls Academy
1. Sky Cameron
2. Millie Urquhart
3. Madison Finnie
4. Katrina Morrison
5. Jemima Aspinall
6. Emma Lawson
7. Jessica Flockhart
8. Edith Whyte
9. Simone Thomson
10. Carlijn Dashort
11. Alexandra Curry
12. Emma Findlay
16. Morven White
17. Demi Taylor
18. Erin Cordiner
20. Adela Ruiz
21. Lana Cartney
22. Faith Maan
1. Talligh McArthur
2. Lucy Hardie
3. Chloe Clark
4. Holly Gillies
5. Zoe Main
6. Emma Watson
7. Kirsten Love
8. Eve Pollock
9. Cara Anderon
10. Rebecca Taylor
12. Eve Browning
14. Kayla Jardine
15. Eilidh Austin
17. Rebecca McGarvey
18. Leah Daly
19. Jodi McLeary
21. Jodie Baker
Star Player
Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds
Rangers Girls Academy
Demi Taylor - Was involved in much of Aberdeen's good work and attacking play, ensuring her team remained confident in their efforts. Unlucky not to grab a goal with a sweetly hit freekick in the first half.
Emma Watson - Embodied everything excellent about the Rangers performance. Calm, astute and intelligent on the ball, possessing an assured and skillful touch in the centre of the pitch. A creator in chief, this wholehearted footballer was a delight to watch.
Magic Moment
Aberdeen FC Ladies Reds
Rangers Girls Academy
Adela Ruiz' goal just beyond the break brought excitement to the home crowd, and gave her team impetus and belief which they built upon throughout the rest of the match
Eve Pollock's fabulous freekick wrapped up the game in fine style for the Gers. One for the scrapbook.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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