MATCH REPORT by Rebecca Padden
In a highly anticipated showdown, the FirstPoint USA West Cup Final featured Glasgow City and Glasgow Girls competing for Glasgow crown. Both teams had displayed their skills throughout the tournament, eliminating tough opponents such as Ayr, Dumbarton, Cambusdoon, and Drumchapel in earlier rounds.
The game started with a series of thrilling moments. Glasgow City’s Browning showcased her playmaking abilities by delivering a fantastic ball with an inside-foot flick to McGarry. The shot was shut down by Glasgow Girls goalkeeper Macintyre, who established her commanding presence in the box early on.
Glasgow Girls had their chance to break through on goal ten minutes into play, but their attack was expertly intercepted by Glasgow City’s captain Shields, who made a decisive challenge to stop the danger. In the first ten minutes, the Glasgow Girls’ backline also displayed resilience, successfully keeping Glasgow City at bay.
Not to be outdone, Glasgow Girls also had attacking opportunities of their own within the first 15 minutes. Cooper embarked on a promising run, covering considerable ground from just past the halfway line. However, the shot veered wide of the right post as she slipped. In a quick succession of events, Cooper again found herself in another scoring position, but narrowly missed the chance to convert.
The intensity of the match continued to rise, with both teams showcasing their defensive courage. Glasgow City’s Auld made an outstanding block, then Glasgow Girls’ Barton displayed exceptional skill with a brilliant run only for the city defence to quickly shut her down, resulting in a shot straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
It was now Glasgow City’s time to have some chances on goal as McGarry exhibited excellent control in the box to bring down a cross from her teammate, but she couldn’t quite find the necessary composure to get a shot on target. Skinner then embarked on a great run, skipping past Glasgow Girls’ defence, but her shot was met with a brilliant save by Macintyre.
Glasgow City earned a corner with around 28 minutes played, and a well-executed delivery resulted in the first goal of the final as Carson capitalised on a gap in her opposition’s defence and tapped the ball into the bottom right corner.
Glasgow Girls persisted in their efforts to find an equaliser as Neville had an opportunity to level the score, but the shot dragged just wide of the post. This determination paid off however with Cooper finding the back of the net just before half time, equalising the score at 1-1 and setting the stage for an exciting second half.
After the halftime break, Glasgow Girls came close to taking the lead with an early chance that nearly slipped under the legs of the Glasgow City goalkeeper but was stopped just in time. City responded with an almost perfect shot that rattled off the crossbar, followed by a subsequent shot blocked by a resilient Glasgow Girls defence.
The match continued to be a back-and-forth affair, with Glasgow Girls’ scorer Cooper threatening once again. She managed to bypass the goalkeeper, but a well-timed clearance from a Glasgow City defender denied her the goal.
The momentum then shifted in favour of Glasgow City as they sought to extend their advantage. McGarry managed to break the deadlock, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner, and putting her side back in front.
Heads did not go down after this goal, though, as Glasgow Girls continued to fight for a way back into the game. Despite best efforts however, City’s Carson was able to double her goal tally and City’s lead with an impressive shot from outside the box that sailed over the goalkeeper’s head.
The impact of Glasgow City’s substitutes became evident, as their fresh legs injected speed and energy into the team. They began to dominate the game as Browning chested the ball down and unleashed a powerful strike into the net, extending their lead to 4-1.
The match reached its conclusion with Glasgow City firmly in control. In the closing stages, they delivered a final blow, with Kennedy finding the back of the net to make it 5-1. The final whistle blew, and Glasgow City emerged victorious, securing the FirstPoint 18s West Cup.
Both teams showcased their talents throughout the match, and it was a testament to the growing strength of women’s football in Scotland. The players exhibited passion, commitment, and a desire to succeed, providing a thrilling spectacle for the spectators. The match concluded with Glasgow City celebrating their triumph, while Glasgow Girls can take pride in their battling performance, despite the defeat.