Holytown Colts U14s have progressed to the semi-final of the SWF Youth Challenge Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Glasgow Girls at the Keir Hardie Centre.
This match had all the hallmarks of a proper cup tie as two excellent teams clashed for a place in the last four and could only be separated with spot-kicks after playing out an enthralling 2-2 draw.
Twice the hosts took the lead and twice their opponents showed great character to peg them back in normal time.
However, it was the Colts who were the victors in the shootout after extra time, flawlessly converting each shot to win 3-1.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors when Amy Hendry’s fourth-minute effort from the edge of the box was fired just over the crossbar.
Then a Holytown clearance only fell as far as Emily Cadoo whose snapshot was a whisker off target from just inside the box.
A chance in the 17th minute saw a drive from the right by Karli Mackay dragged agonisingly wide after Holytown keeper Freya Fisher had come rushing out to narrow the angle well.
The deadlock was broken at the other end, though, with 22 minutes played as player of the match Olivia Wilson threaded a brilliant through ball with the outside of her foot to set up Ellie Kidd who stabbed the ball home at the near post.
It was against the run of play, but the home side proved they could hold firm and show a ruthless touch in front of goal.
The Glasgow side rallied just four minutes after the break.
Great play on the left from Freya Gray allowed her to drive into the box before unleashing a lethal left-footed shot first time into the bottom left to equalise.
Erin Smith then went searching for a second Glasgow goal minutes later with a fierce strike from outside the area, but the Holytown goalie held well.
Caitlin Wilson demonstrated great feet on the wing, cutting inside and beating several players before testing Chloe Rundell who comfortably caught the ball.
With ten minutes to go, an amazing long-range strike from Olivia Wilson from a free kick was brilliantly tipped over by Rundell.
But astonishingly, it was from that resulting corner that Holytown regained the lead when Erin Ambrose’s dangerous corner to the front post was deflected into the net.
It looked as if the home team would be the ones to progress inside the 70 minutes of regulation time, however, their opponents had other ideas.
Mackay was released on the right and superbly picked out her strike partner Gray in the middle of the box and she coolly converted from close range to set up an additional twenty minutes to be played.
And as extra time often goes, it was a cagey affair with both teams cancelling each other out.
Only a shot from Sophie McCluskey, which was fantastically tipped onto the bar by Fisher, came close to winning the tie outright. However, the ball bounced down before the goal line and was cleared to safety.
And so, it was to be penalties and Holytown’s ruthless streak continued from the spot as they converted all of their kicks to progress.
Holytown Colts Player of the Match: Olivia Wilson
The midfielder put in a fantastic shift all afternoon, at the heart of many a move for her side in midfield as well as contributing going forward, it was a very mature and polished performance.
Glasgow Girls Player of the Match: Freya Gray
Twice her side went behind and twice the forward got her side back into the match with a fine brace.
Holytown Colts Magic Moment:
There aren’t many better feelings in football than winning a penalty shootout and Holytown Colts were the ones celebrating with their friends and family at the end as they progressed to the semi-final.
Glasgow Girls Magic Moment:
Freya Gray showed superb individual brilliance to level her side just minutes after the restart with her lethal left-footed finish which was smashed first time into the bottom corner. A fantastic goal.
Holytown Colts U14s
1. Freya Fisher
2. Lucy McDougall
3. Elise Macpherson
4. Olivia Wilson
5. Orla McKay
6. Abigail Jean Hendry
8. Mia Wallace
9. Ellie Kidd
10. Keeva Lynch
14. Lexi Smith
21. Caitlin Margaret Wilson
23. Ellie Harrison
24. Erin Ambrose
Glasgow Girls U14s
2. Emily Stanton
3. Kyla Hollands
4. Erin Gray
5. Amy Campbell
6. India Braid
7. Freya Gray
8. Sophie McCluskey
9. Karli Mackay
10. Amy Hendry
11. Erin Smith
16. Sophie McCue
17. Lucy McGraw
19. Emily Cadoo
20. Mia McAdam
21. Chloe Rundell
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