The Balmoral Stadium, Cove
Aberdeen FC Women 3 FC Kilmarnock 1
Aberdeen produced a fine performance in Cove to defeat SWPL2 side Kilmarnock 3-1 and reach the quarter-final of the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup. It was the second round in a row that the Dons defeated a team from a higher league after beating SWPL1 team Spartans at the previous stage.
Report / Image: Aberdeen FC Women
The home-side made a few changes from last week’s league victory over Stonehaven with Kelly Forrest, Natasha Bruce and Bayley Hutchison all returning to the starting line-up in place the cup-tied duo of Jessica Broadrick and Eva Thomson. Chloe Gover also missed out due to the injury she picked up in last week’s win.
It was a physical encounter in the afternoon sunshine and the opening minutes of the game were dominated by a tough-tackling spell in midfield. Francesca Ogilvie had an early shot blocked for Aberdeen whilst Ching Hang Chun failed to capitalise on an Anna Blanchard error with Kilmarnock’s first attempt at goal.
Sophie Jamieson failed to get on the end of a Loren Campbell cross as the Dons looked to create their first clear-cut chance of the match after twelve-minutes. Aimie Docherty then tested Blanchard in the Aberdeen goal but the Dons goalie comfortably fielded the long-range effort.
The home-side’s first real chance of the game came after 19-minutes after some good play by Ogilvie on the left-wing. After a strong run forward, Ogilvie exchanged passes with Hutchison but she just couldn’t get enough on her shot to test Lauren McGregor in the Killie goal.
Just a minute later Aberdeen took the lead and it was all about youngster Bayley Hutchison. A strong tackle in midfield by HUTCHISON won her the ball and her strong run right through the heart of pitch took her to the edge of the area where she coolly placed the ball passed McGregor for 1-0.
The visitors initially responded well to going behind, Deirdre O’Riordan did well to cut out a long free-kick before Abby Robinson tried her luck from distance. Aberdeen were defending well and were maintaining a threat on the break as Killie went in search of an equaliser.
Eilidh Shore’s brilliant through ball was cut-out by the Kilmarnock defence just as it looked to have sent Ogilvie in on goal, then on the half-hour mark the Dons nearly made it two. Campbell’s free-kick from the right drifted all the way to the back-post and Hutchison was just unable to force the ball in past McGregor.
Aberdeen had weathered the Killie storm in the aftermath of the opening goal and as the half drew on it was the team in red who were on top. Shore had an attempt from distance following good build-up play involving Sophie Jamieson and Hutchison before the Dons went on to double their lead just before half time.
Jamieson’s clever header in-field found Hutchison who quickly played in Ogilvie on the left flank. OGILVIE checked inside on to her right foot before curling a superb effort into the corner to give the Dons a 2-0 half-time lead.
HT: ABERDEEN 2 KILMARNOCK 0
Kilmarnock manager Stewart Hall had clearly had words with his players during the half-time break as the visitors began the second period strongly. Carrie Doig and Kelly Forrest were both called into action with clearances at the heart of the Aberdeen defence as Killie started to turn up the pressure and their positive start to the half paid off on 51-minutes.
Clare Docherty played in Suzanne MacTaggart who was fouled right on the edge of the box by Dons full-back Campbell, who was booked by referee Paulina Ruszniak. Colette FLEMING stepped up to take the free-kick and she sent a powerful effort beyond Blanchard to bring the visitors right back into the game.
A strong run and shot by Hutchison was comfortably saved by McGregor as Aberdeen looked to respond to the Killie goal. Sophie Brown then replaced Johan Fraser for the home-side, Fraser having gamely battled on for as long as she could after picking up a knock early in the game.
Just after the hour mark the visitors were looking for an equaliser, Doig had to be on her toes to cut out a Docherty cross. Forrest and Natasha Bruce both then made important defence clearances to ensure the Reds maintained their lead.
It wasn’t quite backs-to-the wall stuff for Aberdeen though who were looking just as likely to get the next goal in the match. Shore played a clever ball in behind the Killie defence and McGregor was quick off her line to deny substitute Brown.
Aberdeen had their keeper to thank with 15-minutes remaining as Killie had their best chance to draw level. Goal-scorer Fleming played Docherty in behind the Dons defence and just as she pulled the trigger, Blanchard raced off her line to make a crucial block.
The game’s fourth goal was always going to crucial and it was Aberdeen who grabbed it in the 78th-minute to put the tie beyond Kilmarnock. Brown played-in Jamieson on the right wing and her cross towards Hutchison eventually made its way to the back of the penalty area. OGILVIE picked it up on the angle of the area, took a touch to settle herself then sent a terrific right-foot shot into the back of the Killie net for 3-1.
The Dons third goal seemed to have taken the wind out of the Kilmarnock sails but they continued to try and force their way back into the tie. Aberdeen’s game management was too good though and with the heat beginning to slow the game down the Reds saw out the remaining minutes to reach the quarter-final.
Kelly FORREST (C)
Johan FRASER (Sophie BROWN 55mins)