Jeanfield Swifts fend off spirited Penicuik Athletic fightback to lift 18s FirstPoint USA East Cup
MATCH REPORT by Rebecca Padden
The journey to the FirstPoint USA East Cup final took a unique path compared to the West region. The competition kicked off back in February, featuring preliminary round group stages. Jeanfield entered the final with an impressive unbeaten record, including a noteworthy victory over their final opponents, Penicuik, during the preliminary round. On the other hand, Penicuik also earned their spot in the final with just a single defeat against Jeanfield. They came into the final determined to emerge victorious this time and replicate their previous season’s success in the 16s Challenge Cup.
The game kicked off with both teams showing a desire to win their individual battles. 15 minutes into the game, a Jeanfield corner hit the side netting, causing a momentary scare for Penicuik. Followed shortly by another big Jeanfield chance as Scobie hit the inside of the post. Jeanfield continued to test their oppositions defence and looked to capitalise on loose balls in the middle of the park.
This pressure from the Perth side eventually paid off, with Johnstone stepping up to a freekick and unleashing a beautiful strike into the top left corner. Jeanfield continued to threaten the Penicuik defence following their opener, helped by Mackie’s impressive long throws down the left wing.
Penicuik started to find their way through the Jeanfield defence deep into the second half, with Reid skilfully bypassing defenders and creating opportunities with perfectly weighted through balls into her teammates. The match showcased high-speed action from both teams, with Penicuik’s Ratunaceva making a brilliant run down the wing after a fruitless Jeanfield corner.
Despite Penicuik’s best efforts and desire to get up the park, in the dying moments of the first half a long ball deflected off a Penicuik player and fell to Scobie, who struck it with power and precision to find the back of the net giving Jeanfield a 2-0 cushion heading into halftime.
The second half started with Penicuik displaying defensive resilience, clearing a dangerous header from inside the box. However, it was Jeanfield’s Smith who created the breakthrough, delivering a ball across the box finding Scobie, who looped it into the back of the net.
Penicuik, aiming to replicate their 16s Challenge Cup victory, pushed for a goal. Reid swerved past the Jeanfield defence delivering a shot into the keeper’s hands. Eventually, this pressure paid off for Penicuik as Blackie pulled one back and reignite the contest.
With their crowd fully behind them, Penicuik pressed for another goal. Jeanfield’s defence provided some crucial blocks with Grant in particular managing to clear multiple attempts.
Despite the heroic defending from Jeanfield, Penicuik used the momentum and encouragement from the crowd to score again, as Blackie beat the goalkeeper again by calmly slotting the ball into the left corner. The crowd sensed a grandstand comeback was on the cards.
With Penicuik pushing for an equaliser, Jeanfield’s defence remained resolute, ensuring their 3-2 victory. The match provided an enthralling spectacle for the fans, with both teams showcasing their abilities and determination. Jeanfield celebrated a hard-fought victory, while Penicuik can take huge pride in their spirited fightback.