Hillhead Ladies will need to raise their heads and their game if they're to survive in National 1: [22/03/15]
It all got off to a great start yesterday for Hillhead Ladies, with the first goal of this highly important game - scored and celebrated by Louise Andrews (pictured) - coming 10 minutes in, against a Dundee Wanderers side possibly still seething from defeat the week before, against Cala. But, Hillhead's joy was short-lived as the ladies from Tayside finally found their driving gear; gear engaged, and within a few short minutes Wanderers had turned proceedings around and were 3-1 up and looking set to run away with the game...and that was exactly what happened.
For Hillhead Ladies, yesterday, they were missing leadership in the middle of the park through the absence of the highly talented Kathy McCandless - they really missed her in every way. They really miss striker Wendy Andrews as well - she's been out since last November. McKandless and Andrews, on their game, are two of the best players in National 1 - and that's quite a pronouncement considering the high standard being set by many other players in the women's game here in Scotland. However, with that being said, the fact is, they weren't there yesterday.
Yesterday's problems were a combination of a couple of important aspects that creep into Hillhead's game every now and again. There seems to be a mental block that produces an overall lack of self-confidence as a team - and that blockage kicked in yesterday. Individually they all worked unbelievably hard, with some good performances in there, but as a team...well, it's that old saying, they just didn't gel.
Wanderers had Scotland internationalist Vikki Bunce playing herself up front, in a high role, standing, at times, in Hillhead's D and completely unmarked. Vikki B must have thought it was her birthday, but thankfully for Hillhead, they had the ever diligent Amy Whiten and Amber McFarlane cutting out those all important through passes and timing their tackles well.
Scotland and ex-GB player, Vikki Bunce, is one of the hardest players to stay close to, let alone mark; and eventually she dropped herself deeper into her trademark midfield position, and from that point on the Hillhead ladies spent the game chasing her. And what a performance she put in, including a fantastic solo run that started out wide right, beating players all the way in to the top of the circle and a deft reverse scoop past the keeper. The Wanderers youngsters were on-form as well, with Emily Dark and Kirsty Nicol, in particular, causing all sorts of problems. The injection of the new youngsters into the Dundee squad gives it a whole new, exciting look with so much potential. It will be fascinating to see what they can do in future seasons.
Hillhead ladies got a second goal thanks to Louise Andrews again, but the final score was 5-2 to the travelling Wanderers. Louise A had a good game. Shona Oliphant and Charlotte Johnston worked hard going forward and back, and youngster Carla MacNiven put in a good, solid shift as usual.
Falling short of putting a wig and skirt on himself, there's only so much Hillhead coach, John Swift, can do. Hillhead ladies have got so much to offer, but yesterday they looked down and beaten very quickly. As mentioned, it wasn't for want of trying: they worked really hard, but none of it really came together as they struggled to play as a team due to some basic errors committed and an overall lack of self-belief. That combination amounted to a day of team-frustration that they could have done without, as they get closer and closer to possible relegation
Life in the top flight is hard - Hillhead ladies know, that they will have to raise their heads and their game, to stay there.
FINAL SCORE: Hillhead 2 Dundee Wanderers 5
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