AAM Merlins Gordonians 1sts v Granite City
By Siobhan Cowie
A tough result for the deserving winners in yellow. Match Report by Niamh MacFarlane
A Saturday like no other, an Aberdeen local Derby, to Merlins one of the biggest games of the season. Determined to win, the girls set their mind to the task early, and focused on a win before even stepping on to the pitch. A team talk in the changing room showed just how much everyone wanted this win, and how much every individual player was willing to do to take the three points.
Merlins made their way down to the pitch, heads and body's ready for the game after an impressive warm up. Both teams lined up in front of each other, ready to start the game in what Merlins were ready to take as a win. The girls in yellow, started how they hoped the game would go on, injecting pace and catching Wanders off guard. Within the first 5 minutes, the ball was passed between almost every Merlins player, before being taken down the right hand side of the pitch. The ball was then taken down the base line, avoiding every Granite City player there to defend, and with that, the ball was passed back to the penalty spot and with one swift movement by Zoe Sinclair, the ball was swept into the back of the goal. A great start for the girls, who felt one step closer to taking the three points with 65 minutes still left to play. The young Granite City side started to re form and pull the team together after an early goal against them, leaving time for Merlins to lose concentration and become too comfortable with their early lead. The ball coming at the Merlins defenders by Wanderers for many phases, the ball was then turned over and back in possession of the Merlins girls. However, tired after the phases that just came at them, a mistake made from an outlet at the back went straight into Wanderers possession who was able to move past the unit of defenders and into the D for a first time shot at goal, which resulted in the ball setting itself in the goal for an equaliser in the game.
Merlins frustrated with which what just happened, got their heads back down to the task at hand. Attempting to not let this affect their game, and work even harder for this so much wanted win a break from Amanda Walker resulted in Merlins taking the lead again. The Wanderers girls also pushed harder after their confidence with their first goal. Both teams fought hard and played an equal game until half time. During this time of about 10 minutes, the Merlins girls knew they had a lot more to give and that the game was there for the taking.
Half-time score 2-1
Back to the game with a new positive attitude,, unfortunately, so had Granite City. The game was end to end breaks from both teams working hard to attack and defend to not lose any precious goals. Another lack of concentration from the girls, resulted in conceding a penalty corner to the home rivals. From a well worked corner team the ball again found the back board, putting Merlins on the back foot. This did not stop the girls desire to take a close to home win, for the next 5 minutes, constant pressure was forced on the rivals, and from constant pressure came another Merlins goal, again from a well worked right hand side routine.
The girls quickly found their stride again, and with this came their 3rd goal from Holly Steiger, a reverse hit over the keeper and into the net, to take back the needed lead. With this came the last ten minutes, Merlins attempting to secure their lead, and Wanderers trying to pull back an equaliser. Both teams desperate the game became scrappy and uneasy to watch, with poor tackles and loose balls coming from both teams in their need to get that much needed goal. However, Merlins take the ball playing 1-2s around the pitch taking out the majority of the Granite City players out of the game. Finally it was a 1 on 1 with the keeper, unfortunately, an unsure move gave time for the keeper to take the ball off the Merlins player and allow for Granite City to regain possession. The ball was quickly transferred back down the pitch to the Merlins defensive circle where almost all yellow strip players were there to defend. With no one available and no one taking their eye off the ball, a shot on goal was made. A tactical and strategic save was made by Siobhan Cowie, by playing the ball off the Granite City players foot, with a foul called, it was for a stick tackle. Therefore a short corner was given against Merlins, with only a few minutes to go, every player and spectator knew how important that decision was for the final outcome of the game. All players were lined up in their places, ready to fight for this goal. The ball was pulled out, and a shot from top circle was placed past the left post player into the goal. It was all over, ending 3-3. While the young Granite City team celebrated with cheers, Merlins were disappointed, knowing the outcome of that game should have been theirs for the taking.
Full-time score 3-3
Man of the Match- Louise Selkirk
Dick of the Day- Niamh MacFarlane