A Brave New Dawn for Edinburgh’s Newest Ladies Team Ends in Narrow Defeat

Nathan Atkinson

It was a historic day at Peffermill playing fields on Sunday afternoon as Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale (EUHV) played their first ever league game against a strong Glasgow Girls unit. The team formed in January as a result of a merger between Edinburgh University’s Women’s Football Club and the previously existing Hutchison Vale. The team’s only taste of competitive action before this contest was a League Cup defeat to a strong Rangers side. Unfortunately, the opening game of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Two went the same way for them, although they were unlucky not to get anything from the contest, which finished 2-1 to the away team.

EUHV centre-forward Anna Hume thought she’d been denied a goal-scoring opportunity early on, after latching onto a fine pass through the centre. She was tripped by the opposition goalkeeper, but was flagged offside at the last, meaning that the foul was academic.

For the most part though, it was Glasgow Girls who dominated proceedings and Lauren Coleman, the away side’s number five, was causing all sorts of problems with her pace and direct running. She served her first warning by charging down the wing, beating several Edinburgh players, before cutting inside and sending a shot just wide. She then got in behind following a long ball over the top, but rushed her shot, and it bobbled easily into the arms of City stopper, Helena Scullion.

Edinburgh did have one brilliant effort before half time however. Central midfielder (and club director!) Florence Haines won the ball in a dangerous position and the ball found its way to the number six, Karen Hanson. She steadied herself on the slippery 3G turf before curling a stunning effort just wide of the post from 25 yards out.

City were struggling to find a way to combat the problem of the dangerous Coleman getting in behind their defence. After she latched onto another long ball out of defence she tried to make up for her previous weak effort by leathering this one into the net. Unfortunately for her, she blazed it well over.

Much of Glasgow’s best play was coming through the middle, but they nearly scored in bizarre circumstances on the half-hour mark. Full-back Kirsty Maguire swung in a vicious low ball from the left and in attempting to clear the danger, Edinburgh defender and assistant coach Lisa McFarlane was only able to slice the ball up in the air. Coleman and Scullion found themselves jostling under the high ball and fortunately for the home side, the ball ended up dropping the wrong side of the post.

Nichola Sturrock was generally a calming influence in the Edinburgh defence throughout the first half, but she allowed Coleman to beat her inside the box and drive in a fierce shot from a tight angle. Scullion pushed the ball away, before Maxine Fury clipped the post with the rebound. The ball broke back to Coleman, who looked certain to score. A couple of Edinburgh defenders put their bodies on the line though, deflecting the ball behind for a corner.

Coleman then flicked a long ball in behind the defence and Fury flicked the bouncing ball beyond the onrushing keeper, but the ball drifted wide. Fury’s growing presence in the contest was then rewarded with the opening goal. A neat and tidy team move saw Glasgow winger Rachel Ashe advance down the right before cutting the ball back to Fury about 10 yards from goal. A lovely first touch saw her work a bit of space before she drilled the ball low and hard past the helpless Scallion. Fury ended the first half feeling a little dazed after being struck in the face by a wayward pass from her own teammate, Sam McPherson, but fortunately she was able to continue after being looked over by the team medic.

The second half started slowly but Glasgow were centimetres away from doubling their lead just before the hour mark. Haines was robbed in a dangerous area and Kirsty McDonald slid the loose ball straight into Coleman’s feet. Her strike was clean and beat Scullion all ends up but the ball just went the wrong side of the post.

Hume was proving to be dangerous whenever she got the ball, using her strength, power and skill to fashion opportunities for herself. A cross was clipped in from the right, and she took it down brilliantly. Her second touch looked certain to give Edinburgh the equaliser they craved but her shot was blocked heroically by Glasgow’s Megan Logan.

Unfortunately, just as EUHV looked to be coming back into the contest. Glasgow scored a wonderful second. Coleman, who was a menace all afternoon, held the ball up well on the left before playing it inside to McDonald. The midfielder took a couple of touches before rifling a strike into the roof of the net from 30 yards. It was a goal fit to win any game.

Credit to the home side however, as their heads didn’t drop after going 2-0 down. Sturrock swung in a devilish corner from the right and a Glasgow defender inadvertently flicked the ball on at the edge of the six-yard box, with the ball dropping just wide of the far post.

Just before the full-time whistle, Hanson tried a speculative shot from just outside the area. The powerful strike appeared to catch the Glasgow goalie by surprise who fumbled the ball, dropping it at her feet. Eventually she managed to scramble the ball out for a corner with help from her teammate, both of whom were under extreme pressure from Hume.

Sturrock, whose set-piece delivery for Edinburgh was outstanding in the second half, curled the resulting corner into the far post, where Hume met the ball and guided a header in, via a slight deflection off a Glasgow defender. It was a deserved consolation for the home side after a valiant performance. Sadly, it was the last kick of the match, and therefore Glasgow ran out 2-1 winners.

There were plenty of positives to take from defeat and Edinburgh manager Tom Connor, head coach Mike Ross and player/director Florence Haines all spoke with optimism in the post-match interviews. The ladies play away at Buchan next week, hoping to get that first league win on the board.

Manager: Tom Connor

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale Line-Up: Scallion, Clark, Rogers, Shepherd, Craig (Kerr 79), Hansen, Haines (Watters 83), Hume, Sturrock, Fardell (Murray 45), McFarlane (Durand-Watson 45, Brown 76)

Subs Not Used: Psenakova, Burns

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