Thursday 2nd May 2019

Edinburgh College & New College Lanarkshire Swipe Gold

Four Colleges take to Scotland’s Sport Performance Centre, Oriam, for the Football Finals as part of the largest college sports event in Scotland. Who would be crowned champions for 2019?

The women’s 7-a-side football final was an all-South East affair as West Lothian College took on Edinburgh College.

With a number of SWPL players on show, Edinburgh College started on the front foot and were rewarded with a couple of early goals from Robin Gallagher and Tia Munro. West Lothian College were forced to rely on counter attacking opportunities, with Katie Barrie working tirelessly up front for little early reward. The match was being controlled in midfield by Edinburgh College’s number Kaela McDonald-Nguah and it was no surprise when she added her name to the scoresheet, having already hit both the crossbar and the post. Having moved into a three goal lead, Edinburgh took their foot off the gas, allowing the game to settle down into a more even struggle.

A couple of substitutions midway through the half were the catalyst to end that balance as Edinburgh completely dominated through to halftime. McDonald-Nguah added her second, and quickly completed her hat trick, a smart finish from a training ground corner move.

In the 23rd minute, it was the turn of Niamh Fellenger, although she did rely on a stroke of luck as her shot took a wicked deflection off West Lothian’s Chloe Mobon before ending up in the back of the net.

There was still time left in the half for West Lothian to have a couple of chances – Barrie hitting the cross bar before Cara McBain headed a good chance just wide.

Half time score – Edinburgh College 6 – West Lothian College 0

The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Edinburgh College struck again, some neat interplay between Katie Frew and Elle Bisset ending with the former slotting past the new West Lothian keeper.

However, the narrative of the match changed a few minutes later as Barrie’s hard work was rewarded. Taking possession on the edge of the box, she found a sliver of space and fired a powerful shot into the roof of the net for West Lothian College’ opening goal.

The goal gave West Lothian confidence and the next 10 minutes saw an even battle, Edinburgh’s possession being balanced by West Lothian’s tireless running and willingness to chase behind the defence.

Edinburgh were the next team to find the back of the net though, 6 scoring with a fine finish into the bottom corner.

Just before being replaced, McDonald-Nguah finished off a fantastic performance with a back heeled 4th goal.

Proving their fight to the end attitude, West Lothian got a 2nd goal – Jemma Gilbertson capitalising on a mistake by Ferrenger to finish from close range.

Edinburgh had the final word though, their 10th goal coming in the final minute. Munro finished off what she had started, a tap in at the far post her second of the game.

That brought a very entertaining game to a close with Edinburgh deserving winners, although West Lothian will feel that their efforts weren’t reflected on the scoreboard.

The officials voted Edinburgh College’s Kaela McDonald-Nguah as deserving MVP of the match.

Final Score: Edinburgh College 10 – 2 West Lothian College The men’s football final pitted New College Lanarkshire (NCL) against Dundee & Angus (D&A) College.

It was a cagey start by both teams with NCL playing possession football and looking to attack the wide spaces while D&A looked to play up to their front man, Craig Nicoll.

The first real chance of the match came in the 11th minute as NCL’s Jack Gray found himself in acres of space on the left edge of the box but fired wide.

That outlet down the left hand side for NCL was a recurring theme throughout the game as Gray, Jonathan Banks, and Craig Miller all found space between defenders. 
D&A playing with a back 3 meant it was tough going for their right centre back, Jordan Smith. With Rhys Nellies staying up as a more orthodox winger, there was a lot of ground for the skipper to cover and this allowed NCL to repeatedly find joy.

At this stage, Dundee & Angus were struggling to retain possession and with the NCL centre backs in towering form, it was proving hard to even hold up the ball.

There was a melee as the clock ran down on the first half, with NCL players accusing D&A’s Roberto Rodriguez of spitting in a player’s face. While the referees did not see the incident, Rodriguez did not come out for the second half, replaced by Antonio Benetiz.

Right at the end of the half, Dundee & Angus had their best chance, a free kick on the right edge of the box. Unfortunately for them, the ball was too close to the keeper, who claimed it easily.

Halftime: NCL 0 – 0 D&A

The second half started with a bit more balance as Dundee & Angus were able to retain some possession and took the game to New College Lanarkshire.

The 56th minute was all action as the game saw a hat trick of golden chances for NCL’s Miller. Firstly, he had a header from a free kick saved before firing straight at the keeper and then over the bar within a minute. Manager Sandy Clark reacted by switching the front three around, Miller moving out to the right hand side.

That may have disrupted the Dundee & Angus defence as within 10 minutes, NCL had broken the deadlock. Winger Andrew Johnstone took the direct approach to goal after picking the ball up midway inside D&A’s half. His crisp finish beat John Sinclair and gave NCL what was on balance of play a fair lead.

The goal spurred Dundee & Angus into action as they had their best 10 minutes of the match. A free kick from just inside his own half from Lawrie Mitchell pushed the NCL defensive line back into their own box, the ball breaking to Travis Hawes, who could only fire at the keeper.

Moments later, Mitchell popped up again, this time his effort from 40 yards came crashing back off the bar.

Not converting either of those chances was to prove costly though as NCL were able to hold firm and then took advantage of some good fortune to double their lead. From a free kick, Sinclair did brilliantly to save a goal bound shot, unfortunately the ball rebounded to Banks whose loopy header evaded Sinclair’s despairing dive and ended up in the back of the net.

Sinclair continued to keep Dundee & Angus just about in the match, a great save from Banks following a free kick the latest of his important interventions.

As time expired there was one final flare up on the edge of the Dundee & Angus box. With frustrations boiling over, the officials were restrained in only booking two of the many protagonists.

The result of the coming together was a free kick to NCL which Daniel Bonnar, fresh on the pitch, stepped up and guided into the top left hand corner, giving Sinclair no chance.

There was barely time for Dundee & Angus to restart the match before the full time whistler was blown, New College Lanarkshire deserved winners, 3-0. The officials came together and awarded the MVP Award to New College Lanarkshire’s Andrew Johnstone.

Final Score: New College Lanarkshire 3 – 0 Dundee & Angus College