Dunfermline Athletic 1, Shetland Ladies 5
THE SHETLAND women’s football team produced a thrilling comeback to defeat Dunfermline Athletic 5-1, after being a goal down, in the first round of the Unite Scottish Cup.
The opposition are currently fourth in Division Two West of the Scottish League, so it was quite a daunting task which faced the Shetland players when they arrived in Dunfermline on Saturday morning.
Dunfermline kicked off and were soon into a tough tackling game. Shetland’s first attack, after good work in midfield between Lynda Flaws and captain Sarah Grogan, saw a through ball into Josie Jamieson’s path. She raced forward but pushed her shot which went over the bar.
In the 15th minute Dunfermline took the lead when a through ball was misjudged by the defender and goalkeeper, the forward nipping in to poke the ball into the empty net.
In the 24th minute keeper Sarah Couper was called on to make a great block from a low shot, and next Indyia Bradley slid in well to clear the ball away.
Shetland gradually regrouped and began to put their more senior opponents under pressure.
In the 31st minute a Shetland move between Zoe Irvine and Jessica Bradley saw the latter fouled about 25 yards out to the left. Jamieson placed the ball with menace and cracked it into the top corner for the equaliser.
Dunfermline roared back and good defending from Debbie Sneddon saw another attack ended. A move involving Toni Sidgwick and Mhari Moncrieff saw a ball through to Jessica Bradley. She raced past her marker and crossed to the far post but Sidgwick just failed to connect.
Shetland were now getting on top with Grogan and Flaws controlling their more physical opponents with tenacious tackling. With three minutes of the half remaining Jamieson was put through by a Grogan pass, but the goalkeeper got down low to block.
The Dunfermline team were now starting to argue and slow down, mostly due to the constant pressing by Shetland.
In the final minute Dunfermline won a corner, but the ball was cleared and the half-time score remained at 1-1.
In the second half Shetland kicked off and the ball was knocked back to Flaws by Jessica Bradley, who set off on a forward run. Flaws’ ball was inch perfect and Bradley raced forward, rounded the keeper and tucked the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
The Dunfermline girls’ heads visibly started to drop and the Shetland midfield of Mhari Moncrieff, Irvine, Grogan and Flaws were in full control and the pace of the front three was immense.
On the hour mark, however, a Dunfermline move saw Couper save brilliantly, down low. The game was obviously not won yet and three minutes later more good defending from Indyia Bradley saved Shetland.
In the 65th minutes another well-built move saw a pass from Sneddon find Jessica Bradley. Her excellent ball to Jamieson saw the striker race away to slot the ball home and make it 3-1.
Shetland made a substitution with Moncrieff coming off and Victoria Duthie coming on. She got straight into the game with a hard tackle, winning the ball and feeding it to Flaws. Her pass found Jamieson and again her finishing was spot on, making it 4-1 for a deserved hat trick.
Another change was made with Sidgwick being replaced by Jenny Richardson. The Unst girl was soon into the game with a long run from her own half, but just lost control of the ball.
The final Shetland substitution saw Jessica Bradley make way for Stacey Laurenson.
In the 73rd minute Shetland scored again when Grogan won the ball and passed to Laurenson. Her pass found Jamieson and she looked like she would score again. Her shot came off the post only to rebound to the on-rushing Richardson who made it five.
With six minutes remaining Flaws nearly rounded off a terrific performance when her 25-yard shot cracked off the post and away.
Coach Derrick Bradley said it had been a tremendous game with a great performance from his players, full of drive, fitness, enthusiasm, pace and team spirit.
“The back three of Kristan, Indyia and Debbie worked tirelessly and grew in confidence as the game went on.
“The midfield of Lynda, Mhari, Zoe and Sarah put in a hard-working, strong and creative performance, while up front Josie, Toni and Jessica ran themselves to a standstill, always pressing their opponents and finishing their chances to great effect.
“That’s not forgetting Sarah in goals, as she commanded her box and put confidence throughout her team mates. The three lasses who came on as subs all played their part, fitting in well to their positions and working as a team.
“Everyone played their part, but Sarah Grogan’s performance, so steady and commanding in midfield was spot on.”
Bradley also thanked the hosts for their hospitality and the food after the game, NorthLink Ferries, the SIC, Bolts’ Car Hire and Hughson Bros.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the women’s football scene in Shetland can visit the club website at www.shetlandwomensfc.com