Thursday 4th April 2019

University Wins Cup & College Makes History

History is made as legendary student football matches take to Spartans Community Football Academy on 3rd April 2019 for the Women’s Cup and Queen’s Park Shield Finals.

What better way to start Football Finals Day 2019 than the Women’s Cup final between The University of Edinburgh 1sts and the University of Stirling 1sts. Stirling were looking to retain their winning title against the home city, after winning the trophy two years in a row.

At 1230 the match got underway with Edinburgh, not intending to underestimate the Stirling team, pressing the attack up the park and holding play across the half-way line. In the first 20 minutes, both teams appeared well-matched in both energy levels and skill with Stirling making some excellent passes, eventually able to squeeze through their opposition’s defence.

A corner for Stirling provided our first goal of the match, and the 2019 finals, with No. 3 Ciara Bonner delivering a beautiful sweeping ball right into the net. Edinburgh keeper, Jeni Currie, was simply unable to make a save against the force of Bonner’s strike. Building momentum, an advancing Stirling received another corner for No.10, Bethany Kerr, who passed to No.11, Lauren Doran-Barr, who notably played with gumption the entire match. This great link-play did not come to fruition however and Stirling lost possession.

Hesitant, Edinburgh appeared reluctant to play up the park until No.5, Nkem Iregbulem, received the ball, drives forward through the opposition and without hesitation delivers a great shot towards the top left-hand corner. Goal!

Perhaps too ambitious after equalising, Edinburgh bear a bad challenge offering Stirling No. 10, Bethany Kerr, a free kick. Unshaken, Currie saved the shot confidently allowing time for her team to regroup, and with the crowd behind them, put pressure on the team in green.

Edinburgh, thirsty to get another goal on the score sheet in the second half, attempted a shot at goal. Just off target,  No.2, Rebekah Higgins, narrowly missed but continued to pile the pressure on their opposition.

“We were due a little bit of good fortune against Stirling. Over the years we have had a few last minute defeats and a few other things gone against us. Delighted for the players and a good way to end the season.”

Another attack put goalkeeper No. 19, Chloe Logan, for Stirling in a 1 on 1 face-off with advancing Edinburgh. Logan held off a fighting fit Edinburgh who appeared stronger in the second half making full use of the wings. As the sun came out on this still-tied game the whistle goes and the match moved to penalties.

First up to the line was No. 11, Lauren Doran-Barr, for Edinburgh who was denied by a sharp Logan diving left. No. 18, Demi Falloner, for Stirling was next but was also denied a goal with a fantastic save from Currie. Following the two saves Edinburgh No. 6, Beth Macleod, was first to score into the bottom left corner of the net, setting the pieces in motion for her team who were inching towards victory. With Stirling unable to keep up momentum and denied a final score the match concluded in a 3-2 win on penalties to The University of Edinburgh.

“We are obviously delighted to win today, Stirling are always tough opposition, we knew we were going to have to put out our best. It wasn’t going to be a classic game, the weather conditions and the final, there were a few nerves on show, but we had a game plan and we stuck with it.” Coach for the Edinburgh Women’s Team, Mike Ross, said.

“We were due a little bit of good fortune against Stirling. Over the years we have had a few last minute defeats and a few other things gone against us. Delighted for the players and a good way to end the season.

Katie Macdonald, President of Edinburgh University Women’s Football Club, was delighted as you can imagine:

“So so excited, last year we lost to [Stirling] in some pretty horrendous conditions as well so its really good to come out, and they are in the league above us, so it is a huge thing for us as we are looking to get into that league. So this is a big confidence builder for us.”

Now, on to the Men’s match where we are presented with a phenomenon that had not occurred in the 98-year history of the Queen’s Park Shield! Originally only contested by teams from Scotland’s four ancient universities, the Queen’s Park Shield remains one of the most prestigious trophies in student sport. Now, in a positive and inclusive move, the shield is open to every University and College in Scotland and Edinburgh College made history by being the first College to reach the final!

The match kicked-off fashionably late (15:19) and an early goal attempt by the University promised an exciting match ahead. A loud match evolved as both teams made full use of the park; calling for their chance at put the first goal to bed. Another early attempt came from the University from No. 8 Ewan Ritchie, only to be saved by College keeper, No. 1, Alex McMahon who put on a strong display for the entire match.

Mark Waters, Edinburgh University’s No. 6, broke the deadlock at the 20 minute mark from a low free-kick giving the University the lead. Not phased, the College team set to bring it back with No. 3, Ryan Baptie, delivering a stunning goal. Both teams had found their form as the whistle blew to call half time at 1-1.

“The team have worked incredibly hard over the last few months and to become the first ever college to win the Queen’s Park Shield is a tremendous achievement. I’m absolutely delighted we managed to get the win, but I would also like to congratulate Edinburgh University for their role in what was a fantastic game to watch.”

A stalemate ensued in the second half  with both teams bringing their best efforts to reach the back of the net; notable efforts came from University captain No. 11, Santeri Kuivalainen. The building pressure then proved too much for No. 6, Mark Waters, who missed his chance in a free-kick and a second goal for the Uni.

With 30 minutes remaining in the game, Edinburgh College pressed to take the lead but launch too far forward and are called offside offering the University a chance at a second goal. No. 7, Stuart McNicholas, sees this opportunity and gets the eagerly anticipated third goal in the match setting the University 2-1 up on the College. Not finished yet, No. 4 Jamie Chapman for the College, scores in magnificent fashion putting both teams back on par.

With just minutes to go, both teams appeared frustrated; the match was closer in resemblance to a tennis match than a football final! A stupendous performance by Edinburgh College goalkeeper Alex McMahon lets nothing get by in the remaining seconds and finally, the whistle was blown to call full-time. Penalties.

Uni No. 5 Greg Swan was up first in the box and a strong shot puts one up for the Uni. The College, taking no prisoners, sees No. 7, Finlay Connor, score and both teams repeat their performance ending up with 4-4 shootout.

The match resolved historically with a fantastic goal by No. 8 John Robertson, swiftly placed in the back right of the net, making Edinburgh College the 2019 Queen’s Park Shield winners!

Edinburgh College Principal Audrey Cumberford said: “Congratulate our players and coaches on an outstanding season. The team have worked incredibly hard over the last few months and to become the first ever college to win the Queen’s Park Shield is a tremendous achievement. I’m absolutely delighted we managed to get the win, but I would also like to congratulate Edinburgh University for their role in what was a fantastic game to watch.”

Huge congratulations to all four teams on making it to the finals. It is a fantastic achievement and you should be truly proud of yourself and your teammates.

To our hosts, Spartans Community Football Academy, thank you for being so accommodating and making us feel so welcome. Our commentator, presenter, and MC, Chris Purdie from the University of Stirling thank you for keeping us informed across both games. To Youth Football Scotland for live streaming the matches and our photographer Oscar James thank you for capturing the day in challenging weather. Thank you also to COAST First Aid and Medical for looking after our players.

Our refs Jack Van Der Ster, Rhys Struthers, and Ken Boyd who were fantastic in both the Women’s and Men’s matches – thank you for coming out in less than ideal weather!

Finally, thank you to the teams for travelling, competing, and being fantastic across the academic year. We look forward to seeing you again next season and possibly in the finals!

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