The killer blow: Grove Menzieshill celebrate their second goal scored by Leigh Fawcett (15)
The women from the east.
Dundee city rivalry was up and running for this highly anticipated semi-final cup game. And all credit to both Dundee Wanderers and Grove Menzieshill for bringing their brand of cup fever all the way down to Glasgow.
The "fever" was, unfortunately, for Wanderers, switched to low four minutes into the game, thanks to a typical opportunist goal from Grove target lady, Sarah Jamieson. This quick, familiar and would be stifling start from Grove didn't knock the fight out of Wanderers, but it was a real blow to say the least, and it showed for most of the first half as they struggled to get into their stride. And Grove really piled on the pressure for the remainder of the half, drawing the Wanderers girls deeper and deeper back towards their own circle. The highly experienced keeper Carmin Dow and defenders Sam Sangster and co, had plenty to do.
That's not to say Wanderers didn't get the odd attack mounted in the first half - they did. Indeed, they were mighty close to scoring when, just before half time, Vikki Bunce went on one of her trademark solo runs, hit the edge of Grove's circle and shot the ball not far over the bar.
The Grove ladies had a really good first half with the likes of goal scorer Sarah Jamieson, Katie Robertson and Lynsey Allan a constant threat. And whilst the Menzieshill ladies at the back didn't have too much to do in the first half, they were well composed when called upon. For the neutral it would have been great to see veteran Pauline Stott not playing as deep as she was and further up the park in an attacking role. But this proved to be an extremely shrewd move by coach Linda Clement, with Mrs Stott quickly closing down rising Wanderers superstar - teenager Charlotte Watson - at most opportunities.
The second half saw a different Dundee Wanderers side, 1-0 down and straining eagerly to get back to the great form they've been showing this season. At the start of this month they executed a great 3-1 win against Grove in the league...so, that must have been going through their minds as they ventured out from the changing room team talk and out into the mighty fine weather at Glasgow Green.
Well, they went at it with more confidence from the whistle and were rewarded with a goal from Vikki Bunce on the 43rd mark. And for a short while after that they were on the rise, with the youth, speed and agility of the likes of Emily Dark, Charlotte Watson and Ruth Blaikie leading the way. However, Grove are a canny bunch at the back, giving very little away at the best or worst of times. Unlike the first half, suddenly they were called upon; and they did a good, solid job of subduing the raw enthusiasm descending upon them.
Karin Belch had a great game playing alongside stalwarts Louise Carroll and Leigh "Foxy" Fawcett. Before moving to Dundee to study she was playing as a forward for Clydesdale Western and scoring goals. Utility is her middle name.
But it was Pauline Stott who was really shining - particularly in a far busier second half - as she dealt with the unenviable task of keeping up with and marking Charlotte Watson! She didn't always manage it, but she managed it most of the time. Pauline Stott is Rhona Simpson, Helen Walker and Janet Jack's generation, amongst others! (Although we never ask a lady her age, here at ad-hocksports) Recently capped Scotland Senior squad girl, Charlotte Watson, is 16!
AD-HOCKSPORTS hereby awards Mrs Stott five stars for a brilliant performance!
Well, Grove's resolve at the back was rewarded as they dealt a double blow to Wanderers at the other end - two goals in two minutes (Leigh Fawcett 55", Jude McMullan 57"). After a poor first half from Wanderers where they just didn't seem to gel, they had come out far better in the second half and appeared to be climbing back into the contest. But these two goals ultimately killed them off.
The two teams from the east (okay, north-east) didn't bring in a classic by any means - but the mixture of youth and experience was fascinating to watch all the same. It all bodes well for the near and distant future.
Team performances rated:
Grove Menzieshill ★★★★☆
Dundee Wanderers ★★★☆☆
Grove MOM: Pauline Stott ★★★★★
Dundee Wanderers MOM: Ruth Blaikie ★★★★☆ (possibly the youngest girl on the pitch held her own brilliantly)
FINAL SCORE: Grove Menzieshill 3 Dundee Wanderers 1