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Sometimes a moment of genius is all that can separate two evenly matched sides and that may well have proved to be the case today. Murieston arrived at today’s game having surrendered their claim to the league but dispatched their last two opponents in this competition 6-3 and 7-3 and so were confident of repeated last season’s run to the final.
Rangers on the other hand were still hopeful of securing a league and cup double and were looking good to achieve their goal. The Gers set out their stall as the more aggressive of the two sides with a conventional 4-4-2 emboldened by a high defensive line where United had packed five into midfield leaving Kirsten Frew to lead the line alone.
The weather was as unpredictable as the potential outcome of this contest as we kicked off with Rangers wearing their red away strip with Murieston in blue and white stripes. The early exchanges were typified by a series of brisk interchanges of possession as both sides looked to gain control, Rangers probing down the left as winger Elliss Jenkins tried to make the breakthrough.
However something’s in life just come out of the blue and as Frew and Rangers defender Chelsie Watson chased down a long ball from the back the Murieston showed an amazing quickness of thought to wrap her boot around both the player and ball and send a half volley sailing over Lauren Hinde from 40 yards out and into the top corner to give her side the lead after only five minutes (pictured, above right).
Rangers would soon hit the target themselves but Amanda Traynor's shot was well held by Jenna Fife as she showed the level of composure that had made her Scotland’s first choice keeper. Soon after Jenkins fired over after cutting inside as they looked to get back on level terms.
Next to try their luck was Caitlin McLean as she outpaced Murie’s Leah Cutkelvin down the wing after a superb through ball but her shot though well struck was turned around the post by Fife before doing the same to Kirsty Howats shot after she had stolen the ball of Fiona Boslem as we headed into the half time break.
Half Time: Murieston United Girls 1-0 Rangers FC Girls
The pressure on the beleaguered Murieston backline only increased after the break as Gers coach Peter Kennedy restructured his side and put three up front in an attempt to swing things back in his sides favour. This sent the amount of pressure being given from sustained to rampant as the front line of Jenkins, Howat, McLean and Traynor all poured forward.
However no matter how many times you beat the defender it is beating the goalie that counts and Fife was in no mood to give up her clean sheet as she saved shot after shot.
With the majority of resources at one end of the park the break was always on and Frew almost doubled her tally for the afternoon as she took Bianca Murphy’s cross first time on the volley sending it flying goal ward but Hinde was equal to it.
Rangers best chance of the match would fall to an unlikely source as, following a corner from the left, midfielder Megan Karagiozis’s snapshot was blocked and fell to centre back Amy Lindsay who didn’t panic under pressure and drove the ball low and out of the reach of Fife only to see it smack of the post and be cleared away.
Frew would have a final chance after being put through by Lauren Evans but although she finished well was adjudged to have been offside and her strike was disallowed.
That was all we had time for, it turned out, as the referee blew for full time soon after and pandemonium ensued. Murieston had beaten Rangers to reach a second successive final and having dispatched last season’s conquerors Celtic in the round of 16 must surely be favourites for glory this season.
Full Time: Murieston United Girls 1-0 Rangers FC Girls