Match report: Stirling University 0-1 St Johnstone WFC
St Johnstone WFC

Match report: Stirling University 0-1 St Johnstone WFC

1st April 2024

Match report: Stirling University 0-1 St Johnstone WFC

A Megan Burns header minutes before half-time secured St Johnstone WFC three SWPL2 points on Sunday afternoon.

It had been two weeks since Saints were last in competitive action – a defeat against Kilmarnock – and manager Kev Candy made two changes to his team.

Midfielders Ellie MacIver and Elvie McLean started in place of the injured Alix Moodie and the unavailable Scarlett Brady. 

It was the home side, who currently sit bottom of SWPL 2, that started the brighter of the two teams at the weekend. There were a few half chances to speak of but nothing that worried goalkeeper Bobby Cochran greatly. 

There was not much which had unduly worried Regan Ott in the opposite goal in the first half hour before Niamh Irvine and then Nicole Carter attempted to break the deadlock. Ellie May Cowie and Steffi Simson then both saw runs into the box smothered by Ott. 

But with three minutes left until the interval, Saints took the lead. Nicole Carter flighted a ball high into the box from out on the right wing.

And just as it looked like Ott was about to clutch the ball in her hands, defender Burns jumped in to head the ball home. The home goalkeeper grasped the ball as it crossed the line - claiming it had not - but the goal was given with no hesitation by the assistant referee.

In the second half, the scrappy nature of the match continued with both sides largely cancelling each other out in the middle of the park.

Olivia Hurrell had two chances to extend the lead within the first 10 minutes of the second half. She first of all fired narrowly wide and then was denied by Ott one-on-one. Hurrell would also see a header saved later in the half. 

Cowie, Mariluz Sanchez and Rebecca Robertson all had half chances for the Perth side as the half wore on.

Robertson, along with her defensive partners Burns and Anna Murray, had a busy second half as Stirling searched for an equaliser.

With 15 minutes remaining, Hannah Clark was introduced, marking her return to competitive action for the first time in five months.

One of her first jobs was closing down Emma Fairgrieve, doing just enough to ensure the striker could not get a clean strike with her left foot. The resulting effort passing comfortably wide of Cochran's goal.

Louise Reid was a constant threat for Stirling and had a number of chances but nothing that came close to bringing the hosts level. 

That last 15 minutes saw continued Stirling pressure and, as Saints were penalised for fouls in the middle of the park, Ott was launching free-kicks into the box which were causing bother.

While the match might not have been one for the purists, it was a hard-earned three points and a fifth clean sheet of the season for Bobby Cochran.

The result saw Saints move into fourth in the league. There are no games next weekend before a return to action in two weeks’ time when they face Gartcairn at Riverside. 

Saints: Cochran, MacIver (Mariluz), Murray (Clark), McLean (Aitchison), Carter, Cowie, Irvine (McCafferty), Simson (Malcolm), Burns, Hurrell, Robertson. Subs not used: Mitchell, Paterson, Haston, Steedman.

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