Musselburgh Windsor U18s edged past Drumchapel United 3-2 after extra time to win a tightly contested Scottish Women’s Football Youth Challenge Cup Final at Ochilview Park.
A moment of brilliance from Emma Hume in the second half of extra time proved to be the winner in a game in which both teams led.
The U18s final was the third Challenge Cup match of the afternoon and rounded off an excellent day of SWF youth cup final football at Ochilview.
The opening minutes were classic of a cup final, with both teams just feeling their way into the game but creating nothing more than a couple of half chances. Drumchapel United had the best of those but Erin McGregor sliced her effort when one-on-one with the Musselburgh goalkeeper and watched the ball trundle behind for a goal kick.
Musselburgh took the lead on the ten-minute mark, though, when the ball broke to Skye Feeley at the edge of the box and she rifled a powerful half-volley beyond the dive of Kirstin McLaney into the bottom right corner.
However, it didn’t take long for Drumchapel to respond and threw the match wide open when Cara Anderson headed home a floated corner from close range in the 14th minute, much to the delight of the boisterous Drumchapel faithful.
After two quickfire goals, clear-cut chances dried up by the half-hour mark but the pace of the game remained relentless with both sides fighting hard to win the midfield battle and carve out more goalscoring opportunities. Musselburgh attempted to play a couple of high balls in behind, but the Drumchapel defence stood firm and thwarted their efforts.
Around ten minutes from half-time, Musselburgh almost scored directly from a Mia Brotherston corner. Drumchapel keeper Kirstin McLaney misjudged the flight of the ball and let it drop on the goal line, but her centre-back was on hand to swipe clear at the 11th hour.
Musselburgh looked to be taking control of proceedings after the restart when Nicole Hogg’s strike sailed narrowly wide after some tricky footwork.
A cynical foul midway inside Musselburgh’s half on 55 minutes allowed United’s Rebecca Watson to have a pop from the resulting free kick, but her spectacular effort rattled off the post when it had looked destined for the top left corner.
As the game began to quieten down, up stepped Anderson to fire Drumchapel into a 2-1 lead. She expertly controlled a through ball which left the Windsor centre halves for dead and calmly got the ball out her feet to fire into the bottom right corner with the outside of her foot.
Then, just as Drumchapel had responded in the first half, Musselburgh replied minutes later. Feeley did well to pick up the loose ball, drive forward, dodge the onrushing Drumchapel defender, and unleash a perfectly placed shot into the top left corner from 20-yards to draw her side level and score her second of the final.
The rest of the second half was much more subdued and the game began to peter out with nothing to separate the two sides. The midfield battle raged on, but neither side could get the ball down to carve out any proper opportunities. That was until the final few minutes, however, when Drumchapel began to throw the kitchen sink at Musselburgh as extra time loomed but failed to find the net.
Extra time was a stop-start affair with various players pulling up with cramp as fatigue began to set in. There were few chances to report before half-time, but Musselburgh were reduced to ten players. Brotherston received her marching orders for kicking the ball in the direction of an opponent following a throw-in decision going against her. The colour of the card was perhaps a surprise to some, and those of that persuasion in the crowd made their feelings towards the referee known.
Musselburgh managed to snatch the winner in the 114th minute with an excellent solo goal from Hume. She picked up the ball on the left flank and beat her marker for pace as she drove to the byline before cutting inside and unleashing a pinpoint strike into the far top corner from a tight angle.
Drumchapel tried to utilise their extra player advantage but couldn’t find a way past Windsor’s backline who sat in and defended for their lives to ensure their team were crowned SWF U18s Challenge Cup champions.
Drumchapel United Player of the Match: Cara Anderson
The striker was a menace all afternoon and bagged a skilful double, with her pinpoint header drawing her side level in the first half and ensuring Musselburgh didn’t run away with it. She then expertly controlled a defence-splitting pass to coolly slot her team ahead in the match for the first time.
Musselburgh Windsor Player of the Match: Skye Feeley
Another well-taken cup final double earns Feeley player of the match. Her powerful first-half half-volley set things in motion for the eventual cup winners. She followed this up by using her strength to great effect to shake off Drumchapel’s helpless defence and bagged her second to take the game to extra time.
Drumchapel United Magic Moments: Cara Anderson’s second
Both the goal and build-up play were excellent in equal measure, with United’s central midfielder dispatching a Kevin De Bruyne-esque through ball which the Windsor defence couldn’t get near before Anderson finished the move with a low drive.
Musselburgh Windsor Magic Moments: Emma Hume’s winner There was nothing to split the teams all afternoon right up until late in extra time when Hume took it upon herself to break through Drumchapel’s backline and carve out an opportunity for herself from an acute angle which she took excellently to win the cup for her team.
Drumchapel United U18s
15. Kirstin McLaney
1. Rachel Irvine
2. Victoria Brade
3. Rebecca Watson
5. Karis Murphy
7. Cara McLaney
8. Erin McGregor
9. Cara Anderson
17. Lily McCabe
25. Eilidh Drain
38. Jessica Lansdowne
27. Jodie McGlashan
6. Kerry Sharp
12. Ellie McGilveray
14. Kirsten McGeown
18. Neve Sheridan
20. Karris Cameron McColl
29. Zoe Allardice
Musselburgh Windsor U18s
1. Rachel Fleming
6. Carly Dykes
7. Mia Brotherston
8. Keri McLean
9. Emma Hume
10. Nicole Hogg
11. Giorgia De Martino
12. Skye Feeley
15. Emma Thomson Joyal
17. Leah Munro
18. Hannah Menzies
2. Chelsea Evitt
4. Sarah Knox
5. Charlotte Bauld
16. Kacie Fyvie
19. Freyja Christina Bjarnason
20. Megan Wood
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