United 3-0 Stranraer
Up until last week, the history of UGFC's Women's Team was reminiscent of the Saw Doctors’ 1996 hit, 'To Win Just Once'. Fitting for a team the best of friends, so tight knit that not even an incredibly tough first season could put them off starting the new term with enthusiasm, dedication and passion - all qualities vital to form a winning team.
After a pre-season schedule filled with fitness, tactical drills and friendlies the entire team looked stronger, faster and far more tactically aware however, despite several close and competitive matches, they were still chasing their first ever league victory. A defeat to Pollok United in a bad tempered season opener was followed by a League Cup knock-out to Edinburgh Caledonia, a game they left smarting. The squad headed off for the long journey south to Stranraer to face The Blues in the second league match of the season. From an early stage it was clear there was something different about the United side. They were a team that had come through a lot together and matured as a group but, most importantly, they were a side that was ready for their first win and knew they could achieve it - "to win just once would be enough."
As the side took to the pitch it was a blustery but sunny afternoon, perfect for a game of football. United started strongly and dominated possession for large periods of the first half but just couldn't break down a stubborn and experienced Stranraer defence. There was plenty of industry though and chances fell to Kirsty, Emma, Janika and Nikki D. United defended well and Clare had very little to do in goal. Half-time came and there was a tangible belief they could be within 45minutes of their first ever victory - "...to win just once against the odds."
That extra spark of belief from United players was clear in the second half. Wave after wave of attacks threatened the Stranraer goal with through balls in behind the defence causing all kinds of problems. It wouldn't be long before the pressure would pay off. The latest in a series of corners would provide the breakthrough. Lou’s ball from the set piece was inch perfect as Nikki D drifted into the central area and bulleted a header past the keeper. 1-0 and nothing more than the visitors deserved . Lift off!
Nikki would shortly double her tally and the lead for her side. After receiving Emma's throw-in she skilfully turned her marker, moved into the box and hit a low powerful shot beyond the despairing goalie to make it 2-0 - "...to never have considered losing."
At 2-0 Stranraer found their feet in the game and, for 10 minutes, dominated possession in the middle of the pitch. Perhaps United sides of old would have crumbled under this pressure but on this day there was to be no capitulation. The Glasgow team got their feet back on the ball and took control as the match entered the last 15 minutes.
The final nail was planted firmly in the Seasiders’ coffin when Emma, who had been outstanding for the entire game playing through the middle, weaved her way into the box and lifted her shot over the keeper. 3-0 and at last the finish line, together with that first ever, so elusive win, was now in sight.
A handful of nervy minutes followed but in truth United never looked like losing their lead. A performance well worthy of the victory. Every single player - including the subs - played their part. From the looks of the players' faces it was clear, as the referee’s whistle sounded, just how much it meant to all of them.
It was the first, we hope, of many wins and a day that will live long in the memory of all who played their part and particularly those who have stayed involved since the team's creation!
UNITED: Clare, Jackie (Jazz), Steph (Nikki W), Louise, Erin, Florence (Babz), Hannah D, Emma, Janika (Robyn), Nikki D, Kirsty
Goals - Nikki D (2), Emma
PoTM- Nikki D