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Arran Ladies 3
East Kilbride Ladies 2s 3
West Division 3
Arran Ladies played the East Kilbride Ladies 2s in a tough home game which they led right up until the final stages of the game when visitors scored a fantastic goal to secure a draw in the final minute.
Winning the toss and choosing push back, Captain Elyse Aitken had agreed to start the game a little early to accommodate the visitors who were slightly concerned about getting back in time for their return ferry.
Joining Elyse, as left back, were Faith McKelvie as sweeper, Helen Thomson in right back, Ellie Wood as centre back and goalkeeper Alison ‘Ninja’ Mckie. Mid-field saw Jenny Stark in centre, Hannah McCartney and Megan McNicol covering the mid wing positions and Lorraine Hewie and Anne Watts on the attacking forward line with the versatile Mia Walker when she was not in defence. Bella Reid had game time as right wing and Annie McKelvie covered mid-field substitutions.
The teams seemed evenly matched from the beginning, with a wide range of ages and experience in both as they took to the pitch. Taking first pass back, Anne passed the ball up the field towards the visitor’s goal area. It was repelled by the defence but did not get past Arran’s mid-field who returned it to the forward’s.
Keeping up the pressure on the East Kilbride defence, Jenny had taken the ball to the top of the ‘D’ and fired it past the goalkeeper to put Arran on the score board. With play restarted, Anne quickly trapped the ball from the visitor’s pushback and shot it to Lorraine who kept full control of the ball at the end of her stick as she turned through the opposition players, dodged the defenders and ran into the goal area. She swung her stick on the moving ball, sending it zooming past the keeper to give Arran their second goal.
Not giving up, the opposition pressed hard into Arran goal, but with Elyse, Faith, Bella and Ellie all remaining calm and composed, they quickly blocked all attacks and passed the ball back into play, often via Helen in right defence, whose rocket-shots continued to prove to be both powerful and accurate.
With Megan, Annie and Hannah chasing and jabbing for every ball in mid-field, passing onto Jenny who was keeping a close watch on who had the ball and needed a player to pass to, the girls were able to push the ball back to the forwards who pressed into the East Kilbride goal area for another attempt half way through the first half. With what looked like lots of players trying to protect their goal, play became a scrappy tussle for the ball. However, Lorraine saw her chance, when she picked up the rebound from Mia’s shot on goal, pulled the ball into space and found an open spot in the defence to shoot the ball into the goal once again.
The score stayed at 3-0 until the half time whistle when the players were able to take a well-earned break, have a team talk and plan for the next half.
East Kilbride had certainly gathered themselves during the break and came out with some great passing and positioning, which five minutes after the whistle got them their first goal. In an almost identical repeat from Arran’s quick goals in the first half, the visitors scored again a few minutes later. Calling encouragement to their teammates to settle down and play their own game the Arran ladies responded well to further pressure from their opposition and many shots on goal were blocked by the defence or kicked back into play by Ali the goalkeeper.
However, with one minute to go the visitors had control of the ball and sent it to their agile young right wing who whizzed into the ‘D’ and fired the ball at goal in one smooth manoeuvre. An excellent shot which contributed to her later being selected by the Arran ladies as the visitor’s player of the game for her superb skills and efforts. With the ball still in mid-field from the pushback, the final whistle blew with a 3-3 draw.
Captain Elyse won the nomination for dame of the game from the visiting team for her calm, controlled and positive performance on the pitch. Players expressed their thanks for all of the home supporters who went along to cheer the ladies on and to Pauline Reid for umpiring the game.
The Arran ladies will be playing the University of Strathclyde at Stepps hockey ground today (Saturday) with a 12.30pm push back. Mainland supporters would be very welcome and appreciated.