Following a heavy 4-0 defeat to Celtic four days previous in the league, Cumbernauld knew they had to up their game considerably if they were to leave Ainslie Park with the silverware on Thursday 18th May. And up their game they most certainly did.
The management team made five changes from Sunday’s league loss to Celtic for the cup final. McGann, Blair, Hutchison, Wardlaw and Ruth Young coming in for McSherry, Morrison, Dickson, Martin and the ineligible Taylor Johnston. Celtic also made a raft of changes from their victorious side. All seven substitutes from their league win starting in the cup final.
Cumbernauld started the final with serious injury concerns over top scorer Frances Fern, Sarah Wardlaw and Lynne Jackson. Fern limped out of the league fixture with an ankle injury, Wardlaw, whose late goal won the cup for the Colts had ended the league fixture with a broken big toe and defender Lynne Jackson ended the league fixture with three stitches in an horrific cut on her eyebrow after a visit to A&E.
The first half brought few and far between attempts on goal by both sides. The first chance of note fell to Cumbernauld, captain Lesley Blair received the ball 30 yards out in the centre of the park and shaped to shoot. Her shot flew goal wards and looked like opening the scoring until Baillie got a finger tip to the ball touching it onto the bar. The rebound fell to a Celtic player before Kim Guthrie nipped in front of the defender taking the ball off her toe. Guthrie however fluffed her excellent opportunity to give her side the lead shooting wide.
Wardlaw wasted another glorious chance to open the scoring ten minutes before the break as she lashed an opportunity created by the endeavours of Guthrie high and wide.
At half time the Cumbernauld coaches reminded their players while they had done well they still required maximum concentration for the next 45 minutes having restricting their opponents to only a couple of half chances.
The first change of the match was made by the Colts on the hour. Fern being replaced by Morrison having given as much as she could with her injury.
Celtic then had their best period of the match as they dominated for a ten minute spell. Cumbernauld though restricted them to half chances from distance and matched their opponents.
As the game was coming to a conclusion Cumbernauld were to get the only goal of the game with 5 minutes to go. Player of the match for the Colts Lauren Shaw won the ball deep in her half in a challenge and drove 20 yards forward. She played the ball down the line to Kim Guthrie who’d chased every lost cause on the evening. Guthrie made it to the by line and skipped past a defender and crossed low and hard into the box. The Celtic keeper and a defender never communicated with each other and the ball broke to Wardlaw twelve yards out. Wardlaw this time was composed with her finish as she slotted home to give her side the lead their dominance had deserved.
It was a nervy last few minutes for Cumbernauld as Celtic attempted to get back on level terms but they lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
When referee Vikki Allan blew the final whistle the Cumbernauld side wildly celebrated their first senior honour.
After the match it was a clearly emotional moment for the players and staff of the Colts. Manager Julie McSherry couldn’t hide how proud she was with what the side had achieved. For several seasons we’ve been trying to instil in the girls the belief they could win a major honour. We’ve known that they are good enough for several seasons and hopefully receiving their medals will give them the belief they can now achieve more.
Coaches Jamie Kirk and Paul Wilson were also exceptionally proud. We’ve only been with the girls for the last 5 months. We’ve seen the potential in this squad from when we came to the club, and also with the recent additions that have been made. There’s still so much more to come from them. The way they responded from the weekend defeat was an immense credit to them.
Report & Picture Stephen Bole
Cumbernauld Colts Ladies