The Nicolson Institute’s senior girls booked their place in the Schools Scottish Shield quarter-final with a hard fought win over visiting Bathgate this week.
Although the Stornoway schoolgirls were in control for much of the match and thoroughly deserved to progress, they did make things difficult for themselves due to their wastefulness in front of goal.
Time and time again the Nicolson attackers did the more difficult tasks of creating space, timing a run and beating a defender, only to fail to hit the target.
The West Lothian visitors came in confident mood with a pair of Scotland youth internationals upfront in Kirsty McIntosh (u14) and Monica Anderson (u15). And the duo combined early on to create the game’s first chance with Anderson’s cross knocked out to McIntosh who drilled a low shot against Cirsty Gillies in the home goal.
But the hosts recovered and began to make inroads forward of their own. Leanne Macdonald wriggled into the Bathgate box and stung their keeprs palms with a drive before the opener arrived from the resulting corner.
A well worked set-piece was fed to Nicole Maclean on the edge of the box and she dispatched an unstoppable swerving drive across goal and just inside the far post.
The lead was quickly doubled when the livewire Beth Macleod charged down the left flank before sending a cross come shot which bamboozled the Bathgate goalie and nestled in the net via the gloved fingertips of the keeper.
But any thoughts of a home canter were dismissed within 60-seconds when Anderson thrashed a stray ball into the corner from 18-yards.
The Nicolson restored their two-goal cushion before the break as a teasing Maclean corner was sliced horribly into her own net by an unfortunate Bathgate stopper.
After the break a rare mistake at the back from Eleanor Smith, who had superbly marshalled both the international schoolgirls with her usual style and panache, allowed Bathgate back into the tie.
Smith had attempted to shepherd a ball out for a goalkick but she failed to protect it enough and McIntosh was able to prod the ball across goal for Anderson to tap in at the back post for 3-2.
Jodie Sinclair was proving to be a real handful for the Bathgate backline who couldn’t cope with Jodie’s strength, drive and excellent control.
But while she continued to cause havoc her finishing didn’t match her approach play and she wasted three or four chances.
Miss of the match though fell to Beth Macleod who danced through a forest of despairing challenges to jig clean through on goal. With just the keeper to beat and the ball inside the six-yard box she got her angles all wrong and dragged her shot well wide of the far post.
Leanne Macdonald also had a late chance to seal the tie after racing through to latch onto a freekick which sailed over the defence but she too hesitated instead of pulling the trigger which allowed a defender to get a late block to snuff out the danger.
Schools Scottish Senior Girls Shield
Nicolson Institute 3
Bathgate Academy 2