The University of St Andrew’s Women’s 1st team have won in the club’s first ever BUCS Conference Cup, after edging out local rivals Dundee University in the final on penalties despite being two goals down at half-time.
The heavy snow which fell before kick-off seemed to have an adverse effect on the Saints as Dundee University raced into a 2-0 lead, both goals coming from corner kicks within the first 20 minutes. Further opportunities fell to Dundee as the Saints struggled with the heavy surface, and they had goalkeeper Ellie Welton to thank for only being 2-0 down at half-time.
However, the girls came out with a renewed sense of determination not to give up on the trophy so easily. Swedish striker Anahit Mkrtchian pulled one back with 25 minutes to go with a neat finish when one-on one with goalkeeper. Mktrchian then played a big part in the equaliser, allowing Ulrika Nilsson to score from outside the box leaving the goalkeeper stranded. With the Saints level, the team seemed resolved to find a winner, and with one minute left captain Marie Morison danced past two defenders before striking the ball across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner.
Joyous scenes ensued as this extraordinary comeback seemed complete; however, deep into stoppage time, there was heartbreak for the Saints as Dundee managed to pull one back, after a free-kick pumped into the area resulted in a last gasp goal for the side which had appeared beaten. The final whistle blew, and both teams now faced the prospect of a nervy penalty shootout to decide the match.
Up stepped Rachel Hassall, Lizzie Johnson, Ellie Welton, Catriona Caprice, and Marie Morrison for the Saints. With goalkeeper Ellie Welton, who won man of the match for her performance, saving two penalty kicks, the trophy seemed to be in the Saints’ grasp. However, two misses for the team led to the unbearable tension of sudden death. Both teams scored their next kick, with Anahit
Mkrtchian converting for the Saints, and when Dundee University missed the target it was left to Matilda Af Hallstrom to hold her nerve and slot home the winning spot kick for the jubilant Saints.
An unbelievable fight back from everyone involved ensured the trophy was going to St Andrews. The manner of the victory made it all the sweeter for the girls, who showed incredibly resolve, not just to overcome a two goal deficit, but to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout after the frustration of just missing out on a win in normal time. The girls now turn their attention to the Scottish Student Sport Cup Final taking place in the next two weeks in Edinburgh, where they will come up against either Strathclyde University or Edinburgh College.
You can follow the club’s progress on Facebook (www.facebook.com/USAWFC) or Twitter (@StsFootballW).