Linlithgow Rose women lift first silverware in ten-goal Alloa thriller

Linlithgow Rose have lifted the SWFL Plate in dramatic fashion after coming back with an injury-time equaliser before scoring two composed goals in extra time at the Indodrill Stadium in Alloa for a 6-4 victory over Musselburgh Windsor.

A hat-trick and an assist for Rose forward and player of the match Deborah Hendry completed a comeback for a side who were 2-1 down at halftime, with Musselburgh Windsor more clinical for much of the 90 minutes thanks to striker Erin Archibald, who also had a hat-trick.

The game kicked off with some nervy opening exchanges ahead of a frenetic first half. Deborah Hendry pulled a shot just wide for Linlithgow Rose after four minutes, then Chloe Shankie blasted well over from a corner for Windsor.

Rachel Fleming in the Windsor goal was commanding to hold onto a floated corner on eight minutes, then Erin Archibald at the other end held off a defender brilliantly but she too put the ball wide.

Minutes later, Ellie Taylor shrugged off a challenge to break right, and put in a great cross to the near post to Archibald, whose deft chip just cleared the bar, before Fleming saved at the feet of Rose skipper Lucy McEwan at the other end.

It would be Rose who opened the scoring after 23 minutes, Deborah Hendry showing great composure to drift past a defender and send the ball into the opposite corner.

But Musselburgh struck back on the half-hour mark with a lovely volley from Taylor which left the goalkeeper with no chance.

Hendry almost had Rose back in front three minutes later, after a good save from Fleming found her just outside the box but her shot rebounded off the inside of the upright. Fleming was being called more into action at this point, as Linlithgow pushed forward, Kirsty Barnes enjoying the run of the left-hand side and supplying balls forward to McEwan.

Hendry put another over from an awkward angle when Hannah Soutar was available to her right, and Rose were unable to capitalise from the spell.

With half time approaching, it would be Windsor who pulled in front again, Erin Archibald latched onto to a clever ball from Taylor from inside the box and rolled it under the keeper.

Fleming helped maintain the lead early in the second half, commanding her area well to snuff out forays forward by Linlithgow Rose, and the frenetic pace of the first half had gone. Jeniffer Gallacher was forced off with an injury after the hour mark.

Archibald almost nodded in her second but Rose keeper Lauren Brown tipped it round her near post. At the other end, Katie Barrie looked certain to score after Fleming had dived to the ground, but her shot from the right hand side of the box cleared the bar.

The equaliser came from Deborah Hendry after 74 minutes, latching onto a great ball from Emma McLure and curling it in with her left. But a minute later Archibald scored her second to put Windsor back in front, a fizzing effort from outside the box, adding another for her hat trick on 81 minutes.

With around five minutes of regulation time to go, Hannah Soutar pulled one back for Rose then against all the odds, Hendry fed McLure deep into injury time and she showed great composure to place it past Fleming and send the game into extra time.

Although the momentum was clearly with Linlithgow going into extra time, and with Windsor missing the creativity of Ellie Taylor who had hobbled off after landing awkwardly, it would be Hendry with the first chance, her shot going straight into Brown’s arms.

Nerves were on show from both teams. A clear trip on Gallacher on the edge of the box gave Windsor a free kick in a good position, but the ball was too high for the onrushing attackers. At the other end, McLure fluffed a shot after making good space for herself.

But Linlithgow Rose returned to life in the second period of extra time, Deborah Hendry sealing her hat-trick before Lucy McEwan ghosted in make it a ten-goal game and send the young Rose fans wild.

Scottish Women’s Football returns to the Indodrill on Sunday for a double header. First up the SWFL Cup final is an all-Fife affair as Glenrothes Strollers face McDermid Ladies, then the Championship and League One Cup final follows at 4pm, when Championship leaders Rossvale face Dryburgh Athletic. Both games will be broadcast live on the SWF Youtube channel.

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