Kelburne Women 2nd XI: 1
Penalties: GHK 1 ? Kelburne 3
Last night theupstart ruffians of Kelburne?s second string gathered to challenge top division GHK among the gleaming penthouses of Jordanhill in the last sixteen of the Scottish Plate. Like the US ice-hockey team in 1980, like Wimbledon in the 1988 FA Cup and dare one say like St Mirren on 21st March this year (? ? fingers crossed)...Kelburne went into this game very much the underdogs but emerged victorious after equalising in the closing minutes of a nail-biting encounter and holding their nerve in the penalty shoot-out.
The Paisley side sprang forward from the
whistle with typical gusto, breaking into the D and forcing a number of
free hits and long corners. Alas this early supremacy was a brief and
unrewarding as a holiday fling and after five minutes the Anniesland
side hit back with a stinging undercut saved by Judith Crawford.
With GHK beginning to turn the screw, Fiona Donald, their captain was a thorn in Kelburne?s side with her penetrating runs from midfield. The visitors found it increasingly difficult to break out of their own 25 and brief escapes by Kerri Nunnery and Christine McCrimmon came to naught as their crashing drives from the right wing went unanswered.
Just as the Kelburne rearguard began to creak, Frances McKeown joined the fray. A quick defensive revision by the visitors balanced the team and relieved the pressure. Jennifer Morgan (left), began to reduce Donald?s influence on the game meanwhile McKeown was free to rove around midfield winning the ball.
As the first period waned, Lindsay Allan provided some impetus from left-midfield and Kelburne had their turn to confine GHK to their defensive quarter but could not carve out a decisive opening nor convince the home side?s official to condemn some of the host?s more agricultural tackles.
The second half was played out largely in the GHK half as Kelburne successfully contained them and won good possession though they could not convert this into opportunities. Possibly they were helped by GHK?s growing disinclination to pass the ball forward. Occasionally GHK attacked with numbers but Kelburne snuffed out these flares: Catherine McLauchlan stole the ball from the penalty corner striker and Katie Malpas made a vital reverse tackle at the back post.
With ten minutes left, penalties looked the most likely outcome, until an unchaperoned Donald slid the ball through a gap in the visitors defence to give the home side an unexpected lead. Refusing to permit an hour?s hard graft to be in vain, Kelburne whisked forward like avenging furies. Mclauchlan?s reverse shot was blocked. From the right wing Emma Ryan found Jen Morgan but her cross eluded Fiona McDonald?s brave dive. Another slick move up the right found McDonald this time and the diminutive winger shot twice, both shots blocked and both times the ball ricocheting up into the air before returning to her. A goalmouth scramble ensued. With McCrimmon and the opposing goalkeeper tangled on the deck, Fiona pounced once more but the whistle shrieked as the ball thudded into the backboard. A penalty corner was awarded when a goal beckoned.
The push-out drifted off target but McDonald improvised. As her swept shot headed to the right post, fleet-footed, Amanda Maxwell snuck in deflect high in to the net - Kelburne were level!
However, the home umpire hovered like some malign spirit in the Kelburne D and with two minutes to play awarded the hosts two corners: the first blocked by McKeown before hitting Kelburne feet; the second calmly shepherded out.
Despite the squeaks and squeals of excitement from the Kelburne bench no Paisley player could connect with a teasing cross that flashed past the home goal in the closing seconds. 1-1 Full Time. Penalties.
In the shootout faithful custodian Jude strode to the goal like Optimus Prime (right, centre) and proved to be the difference between the two sides by saving three of GHK?s penalties. Though McLauchlan missed the first of Kelburne?s flicks; Lynsey Paxton-Steele, Emma Ryan and Steph Kirkland all netted to take Kelburne through 3-1.
The Golden Girls will now have a road trip north to face either Highland InveRoss or Granite City Wanderers in the quarter finals.