KSC Playing Fields, Kilwinning
5th August, 2012
One year on from the sad death on Troon’s Laura Cooper and the fact that this was a local Ayrshire derby, meant that this match was always going to be a cracker!
A large crowd had gathered adding to the excitement and atmosphere of a match that many had billed as “match of the day” and that is exactly the billing it deserved.
After the minutes silence for Laura, which was an emotional one for many, it was Troon who lead the way with a multitude of attacks but without really troubling former Troon keeper Lauren McGregor.
Sam McManus looked to shoot at every opportunity but McGregor dealt with comfortably or her efforts were off target. At the other end Mhairi Gilmour skimmed the bar with a cross come shot, that had stand in keeper Claire Masterton’s eyes closely monitoring the ball as it passed over her.
McManus was dominating midfield as the former Kilwinning play maker created chance after chance. Her accurate passing setting up Lauren Anderson whose 20 yard effort from the right was marginally past the opposite stanchion.
McManus headed home soon after but she was deemed to have been offside when she headed home from close range.
However the breakthrough came against the run of play when Naomi Clark’s shot from the left was pushed onto the bar by Masterston allowing Jenny Caldwell to head home from the rebound.
Caldwell doubled the Kilwinning side’s lead on 33 minutes when Anderson, set her up and her 22 yard drive was well placed into the bottom left corner away from Masterton, who was covering for the injured Gill Mason, out with a broken finger.
Troon were still playing the better football but were showing signs of desperation when Ali Duncan tried an effort from inside the centre circle.
There was no doubt that Andrew Reith’s side were rocking from the shock of finding themselves two goals behind, despite enjoying the majority of possession.
Anderson came close, when a long diagonal free-kick was whipped into the box and she got between the keeper and defender to head the ball beyond McGregor. Her effort agonisingly close.
Clare Docherty began to come into the game more as Troon continued to dominate. She had a couple of shots off target before hitting a 30 yard drive that had McGregor diving at full stretch to reach but failed to hold – the ball bobbling over her and into the net, despite claims that it never crossed the line. Nevertheless, it was 2 – 1 on the stroke of half-time.
Half-Time: KSC 2 Troon 1
The late first half equalised was no more than Troon deserved for they were by far the best team on the park but let us not forget the gutsy performance of the home side, which against the run of play and lower possession, took their chances and lead going into the second period. They were by no means not in this match, and involved in some wonderful battles in midfield and defence but at times looked lost and desperate for guidance from the touch line.
Troon continued to push for a second right from the second period commencing. McManus long range free-kick was on target but McGregor saved well.
Jillian Campbell evened things up with a sublime shot, curling it up and over the keeper. Game on!
Troon began to shoot from all over the park. McManus had McGregor scrambling across her goal line with a fine 30 yard effort that whizzed past the post. Had manager Andrew Reith told them to shoot on sight?
The Seasider’s game was a joy to watch as people like McManus, Anderson, Docherty and Rachel Webb all playing some excellent football and with the inclusion of Danni Connolly at the back, this was a side that is bound for the Premier League, possibly not this season but the next.
KSC had two or three glorious chances to take the lead for the third time in the match. Leeanne Campbell went through one on one with Masterton but the tall keeper better known for her defensive capabilities used those skills to take the ball of Campbell’s toe.
Next was a wonderful pass across the box from Caldwell for Campbell to shoot from 15 yards but again the long legs of Masterton saved the day, as an outstretched leg, sent the ball away from goal.
Then a kick out from Masterton found its way to Docherty who fired home beyond the dive of McGregor to give the Troon side the lead for the first time. They had shown some great spirit and determination to come back from two goals down to lead this match and if the truth be told, I couldn’t see Kilwinning getting back into this match. The Troon creative players were on fire and creating chances galore.
Sam McManus showed just how big an asset she is for her side with delightful skills to beat her marker and release Anderson. The striker left her marker for dead and with only the keeper to beat, she shot over the bar – much to her annoyance.
Jenny Caldwell however had other ideas as to how this match was going to finish and hit her hat-trick with a 25 yard strike, low into the bottom left corner. Three goals apiece and probably a fair result had the referee blown the whistle now.
Kilwinning stole the points with a close range header from Leeanne Campbell, giving the keeper no chance as they too, showed they had guts and the tenacity to come from behind.
There were late chances for Troon, the best coming from a Clare Docherty, shot which McGregor did well to save with Louise Redmond clearing up the loose ball.
However, it was to be Kilwinning’s day as the man in the middle blew for full time and brought this classic derby to its conclusion. Many will argue that the better team lost but at the end of the day, it’s about scoring goals and that’s what the host side did – one more time than the visitors in a seven goal thriller.
KSC Manager Craig Hamilton commented after the match when asked if he thought the result was a fair reflection of the game.
“No – If I am being brutally honest, I thought we were very poor. I couldn’t believe we found ourselves two goals up because Troon started very well indeed. Yes we took our chances well but we were outplayed for much of the match.
“We spoke to the girls at half-time about being sharper and first to the ball but unfortunately it didn’t happen and we paid the price losing three goals early in the second half.
“We did show some grit coming back from behind and the winning goal coming from Leeanne Campbell who is a trialist was pleasing, not to mention Jenny Caldwell’s hat-trick but overall Troon were the better team for most of the game.”
Troon Boss Andrew Reith added “Craig has given us great credit with his comments, which is good to hear. For me we started the game very well but went down 2 – 0, against the run of play.
“We lost our composure and resorted to long ball tactics. You can see the quality we have on the park but for some reason we didn’t take advantage of the dominance we had. What Craig has said is correct but this is a tough one to take.
“I think we had the players on the park to win this match but that’s football. I would like to give a special mention to Chelsea Keane, who played left-back today and was exceptional. She thought she would be a wee bit lost but all credit to her as she was excellent today.”
Stewart First Aid Training Player of the Match: There were many contenders on the day, the majority coming from the visitors. My first look at Danni Connolly, who was composed and solid at the back. Rachel Webb and Sam McManus stood out against their former club, Lauren Anderson had a superb second half and Clare Docherty – well what can you say, she oozes class and of course Chelsea Keane who Andrew Reith spoke highly off in his post-match comments. This side will go far once they learn to punish the opposition and take advantage of their possession.
Good performances by Leeanne Campbell and Mhairi Hawksworth for Kilwinning but head and shoulders above the others was Jenny Caldwell who not only scored three of the goals but set up Campbell’s too.
Many thanks to Debbie Rossiter for selecting the Stewart First Aid Training Player of the Match.
We will have an interview with Jenny soon.
Kilwinning: McGregor, N. Campbell, Redmond, Collins, McLeod, L. Campbell, Caldwell, Clark, Gilmour, McPike, Hawksworth Subs: Scollay, Anderson
Troon: Masterton, McNab, Connolly, Webb, Keane, McQuarrie, Duncan, Campbell, Docherty, Anderson, McManus Subs: Barr, Carrigan, Sharpe, Wallace, Dorrans, Wardrope, Clanahan