Penicuik Athletic triumphed 3-1 against Giffnock Soccer Centre in the Scottish Women’s Football Challenge Cup final at Ochilview Park.
Goals from Caitlin Waterston, Emily Brown and Emily Reid sent Penicuik racing into a three-goal lead, whilst Kaitlyn Irvine’s wayward cross pulled a goal back late in the second half.
The match started, as most cup finals do, even and frantic. Both teams cancelled each other out in the opening exchanges until the 11th minute of the game when Phoebe Stewart in the Giffnock goal was forced into a save. Penicuik’s Reid found space in the box, but her effort from a tight angle was denied by the legs of Stewart.
Giffnock looked for a response two minutes later when Anya Crawford tried her luck from just inside the box after the ball fell to her, but her goal-bound shot was bravely stopped by the Penicuik defence.
Sarah Stewart then had a dig from outside the box which soared just over the bar.
Shortly after, Penicuik defender Brown’s direct free-kick from just outside her own half called Stewart in the opposition goal into action again. The stopper was alert to tip the wicked strike over the bar.
Brown went for goal again minutes later, however, this time her effort cleared the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken in the 25th minute when Waterston put the girls in blue and white in front after she slotted a one-on-one past Stewart who was unfortunate not to keep it out, getting a touch on the way through.
The second came only 60 seconds later, and it was third time lucky for Brown who saw one of her deep free kicks finally beat the Giffnock keeper. Stewart could not do much to stop the defender’s well-struck effort from 30-yards.
Penicuik looked to have taken control of the match just after the interval when Reid made it 3-0. She did brilliantly to evade the opposition backline and once again showed great composure to fire past the goalkeeper with a low shot—putting her side in the driving seat.
The rampant Penicuik were then awarded a penalty in the 47th minute for a shoulder barge on Reid. Captain Jenna Clarke stepped up but was denied by the impressive Stewart who went the right way and got down well to clutch the ball, giving her side a glimmer of hope.
And Giffnock did grab a goal back 11 minutes later. A looping cross from Irvine on the right went all the way into the top left corner, the flight of the ball deceiving Ella Marr between the sticks. This gave the side hope going into the last 20 minutes.
Katherine Sharp would have pulled a second back if it wasn’t for a stunning stop from Marr. The shot from Irvine’s cutback looked destined for the net but the heroics of the Penicuik goalkeeper preserved the two-goal lead.
The last chance of the match came in added time when Sharp’s cross found Holly Black at the back post. Her strike was fired just over the bar.
Scenes of jubilation ensued at the final whistle as the Penicuik bench were joined by their young supporters in celebrating with their victorious team on the pitch.
The cup win marks a double for the side, who also clinched their domestic league title unbeaten.
Giffnock Soccer Centre Player of the Match: Phoebe Stewart
The goalkeeper kept her side in the match throughout. Unlucky with the free kick from Brown, she still made several good saves and dealt with several high balls into the box well.
Penicuik Athletic Player of the Match: Emily Brown
Brown marshalled her defence throughout and capped off her performance with a fine free-kick from distance. An astute performance.
Magic Moment Giffnock Soccer Centre: Stewart’s penalty heroics
The Giffnock stopper gave her side a chance by saving a penalty at 3-0 down. This inspired a late fightback from her team.
Magic Moment Penicuik Athletic: Brown’s thunderous free kick
The defender stunned the ground with her 30-yard strike from the set piece. A goal fit for a cup final.
Giffnock Soccer Centre U16s
42. Phoebe Stewart
63. Faith Wilson
67. Cerys Ramsay
65. Anna Crawford
49. Katherine Sharp (C)
50. Sarah Stewart
66. Anna Steele
45. Niamh Bourke
44. Holly Black
53. Anya Crawford
73. Kaitlyn Irvine
52. Maisie Hunter
68. Ava Boyd
71. Kirsty Latta
68. Ava Boyd
70. Callia Clifford Demetriou
46. Lucia Walls
Penicuik Athletic U16s
1. Ella Marr
3. Emily Brown
5. Kerry Farmer
8. Isla Kay
9. Isabella Hall
10. Emily Reid
11. Jenna Clarke (C)
13. Laura Blackie
14. Millie Higgins
17. Gemma Burns
19. Caitlin Waterston
2. Amy Somervile
4. Lucy Hamilton
6. Daisy Mabon
12. Ella Wood
15. Alisa Jarvis
18. Kerry Brown
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