ST ANDREWS 1STS    4 GLASGOW 1STS         0
ST ANDREWS 1STS    2 GLASGOW CALEDONIAN 1STS  0

Victoria Hirst

HAVING LOST NARROWLY to Glasgow 1st XI (2-1) on their home pitch in their first game of the BUCS season, the girls’ 1st XI were determined to set the record straight in this second clash. As the score line reflects, they produced an excellent performance and gave the opposition no mercy.

St Andrews dominated from the start and did not relent throughout the match. Within a few minutes Saints were already in Glasgow’s D and during the first half they put the opposition under sustained pressure.

Heather Tait had an excellent game in centre midfield and endured a continuous battle with her opposition marker who seemed intent on getting her to the ground wherever possible.

Clare McGhee at centre back also showed versatility through some crucial defending and storming drives into attack which almost got her onto the scoreboard and rightly won her Man of the Match.

Despite plenty of runs from Lily Potter-Hayes and Becca Bamford down both wings, and a handful of efforts in the D, the Glasgow defence held strong until halfway through the first half when Jenny Coco Collins was on the right post to tap in captain Tait’s straight strike.

With this under their belt, Saints then looked to capitalise, and before the half time whistle their efforts were rewarded with a second goal from fresher Becky Bottle, currently the team’s leading goal scorer.

The half time talk focused on making the most of drives into the D and trying to win a free hit or short corner as soon as play was within the last 23 yards of the pitch. As predicted, the Glasgow girls came out fighting right from the start of the second half and put St Andrews under sustained periods of pressure. It was in vain, though.

Saint’s third goal started from a hit out just outside their own D which saw a string of excellent passes up the pitch from Claire Bartholomew, Tait and Heather Elder. With just a couple more defenders to beat, Tait and Elder showed some silky skills resulting in a clean finish from the latter.

Not willing to give up without a fight, Glasgow 1st XI gave a huge push halfway through the second half. For over five minutes the home side found themselves defending frantically, with the majority of the team in their own D. The defence did a fantastic job in clearing several short corners and Hilary Dixon made a couple of invaluable clearances just in front of the right post. Siobhan Gill also put in some crucial tackles as she has done consistently so far this season.

After defending a handful of long corners and free hits Saints eventually had possession once again and launched a final attack in the dying minutes of the game. Fitness levels have clearly improved since the start of the season as the girls continued to maintain the quick pace of the game until the final whistle. With another display of accurate, slick passing between the defence and midfield, Tait put away the fourth and final goal of the game.

With four minutes to go, referee Andrew Gillespie gave Clara McGhee a yellow card for good measure and ten minutes off the pitch; during her rueful time in the dugout she contemplated the delightful dirty to come (!).

THE TEAM THEN recorded a straightforward 2-0 victory over Glasgow Caledonian University, who sit bottom of the league with five defeats from five. There was no room for complacency, however, and the girls put in their usual hard work and did not lack commitment. The visitors, despite their poor record this season, were not going to lie down and take the punishment. They did pose an attacking threat, and the Saints defence had to show discipline and strength to ensure they conceded no goals – this they did with aplomb. At the other end, the two well-worked goals were put away to secure the win, though the team felt they could easily have had more.

These were a fantastic couple of results for the team. The girls really are proving their worth in the higher women’s 1A BUCS league and will hopefully continue to produce similar score lines leading up to the Christmas break. Those both come against Edinburgh, with a trip to face their 2nds – beaten by Saints 3-1 in St Andrews – followed by the crunch match at home to the 1sts a week later.

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