Stonehaven Girls u16’s won an extra time thriller against Tullibody to go through to the next round in the Scottish cup.
An end to end epic in the mould of all great cup ties with passion, committment and thrills and spills throughout this roller coaster ride of a game which went right to the final whistle of extra time in front of the largest crowd the girls have played in front of.
Stoney went at it from the off with Natalie Christie and Ogilivie carving open the right flank of Tullibody’s defence at will. Chance after Stoney chance was thwarted by the inspired away keeper with Ogilvie, Townsend , Spence and Porter all missing out when one on one with the keeper.
The back five of Stoney looked impenetrable with Imray quick off her line and captain Smith commanding her colleagues the speedy Watson, elegant Brawley and ball playing centre half Erin Christie as they marshalled the away threat of the very speedy centre forward in particular. The closest they came was from an indirect freekick fired naively straight into the goal without anyone touching it. Finally the young whippet forward Ogilvie burst through to slip the opener past the Tullibody keeper.
Stoney then went for the jugular with key midfielder Johnston orchestrating and the neat interplay of schemer Spence and attacking midfielder Townsend a feature. Towards the end of the first half Stoney gained almost total domination with Johnston’s pinpoint corners causing mayhem with one glanced onto the bar by Townsend meeting it at the near post.
Sub Simpkin crashed through on the left but narrowly missed putting in Porter. Annand came on to add pep to the midfield and Watson and Erin Christie were taking turns stepping forward as Stoney drove on in search of a second It nearly arrived when Spence drove straight at the keeper and the interval arrived with everyone querying how it was only one nil.Tullibody started to gain a foothold in the second half as the large pitch and sunshine began to drain energy levels.
There centre forward fired over and some last ditch defending was needed to survive. Young Irving came on to make some neat passes before injuring her foot. As the spaces opened up McVey nearly burst through, One move would have been close to goal of the season as Watson in her goalmouth fed Townsed who jinked past a couple of challenges before feeding the speeding Ogilvie on the left in space five yards inside the opposition half.
She sped down on the keeper who yet again saved. The second was coming and it was provided by Ogilvie who was picked out by a raking 30 yard through ball from central midfielder Johnston . Ogilvie easliy outpaced the defence to slip it past the keeper. Still Stoney had chances with one technically perfect driven half volley from the edge
of the area by Erin Christie a highlight. Then came a final ten minutes when time stood still for Stoney and a footballing tragedy began to unfold as Tullibody’s star striker intercepted to slot a first for them and then as they threw extra bodies forward they charged down their left and an equaliser crashed in right on full time amidst away fans delirium.
With extra time many would have thought them dead and buried but Stoney regrouped and came again. Urged on by captain Smiths promptings Porter thought she’d won it when she crashed a half volley from the right edge of the six yard box which hit a defender to take a wicked goal bound deflection only for Tullibody’s keeper to change direction and somehow keeper out the ball. By now legs were tiring and it resembled a basketball game as it went from end to end with Porter frequently galloping through on the right.
Porter and Ogilvie both looked as they would get through on goal but as the away team defended desperately no-one spotted Natalie Christie’s wonderful late run into space, Then it took some crashing interceptions from Smith and Watson to keep out Tullibody with keeper Imray also rushing off her line to gather safely. McVey came on to good effect in the Stoney defence for the stricken Erin Christie as extra time took its toll.
Just as the game looked to be heading to the dreaded penalties Johnston fired in a free kick from the left edge of the penalty box which was dropping to the back post and was met by Spence who headed it in to provoke wild jubilation in the Stoney ranks. Final score 3-2 with many frayed nerves and bitten nails.’
STONEY SQUAD Dani Imray,
Koni Watson,Shannon Brawley, Daisy Smith (cpt) Erin Christie , Kirsten Johnston, LIbby Spence, Natalie Christie ,Katy Townsend, Lisa Porter, Francesca Ogilvie, Elisha SImpkin, Lucy McVey, Amie Annand, Hester Irving
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - 15 from Stoney although special mention for Koni Watsons marking job on Tullibody’s star striker during extra time
MAGIC MOMENT Was from Tullibody’s keeper whose stunning save from Porters strike brought instant rapturous applause from the large crowd.