Scarlet Swifts Vanquish Violets
By Iwan Davies
A hat trick for striker Tara Laughlin and one apiece from Louise McClelland and Kaitlyn Doig lift Swifts' spirits
Playing in their red change strip, Swifts started brightly, and it was Tara Laughlin who forced the first save, running on to a long ball played through from Sheyenne Bayne. Laughlin’s shot just lacked power to evade the keeper, who made a comfortable stop low to her left.
Ten minutes later, however, Tara found herself in a near-identical position, stealing the ball from a Violets defender who failed to deal with a long kick out of the Swifts goal from Megan Sidey. Taking slightly more time over her shot, Laughlin manoeuvred the ball neatly passed the keeper for the game’s opener. Violets stole a goal back six minutes later, before Tara tapped home for her second to take Swifts into the break with a 2-1 lead.
Swifts were clearly on top for the majority of the first half, with combinations in midfield between Rachel Wolecki, Paula Strathie and Eilidh Davies working well. A number of chances went begging and the half-time team talk was all about taking the opportunity when it presented itself and being more clinical in front of goal.
Laughlin completed her hat trick on 50 minutes, when Abbie Ferguson played the ball into the edge of the box and East Fife’s failed clearance broke to Tara who burst between two defenders before netting with a tidy finish. Three minutes later, Laughlin almost had a fourth when Eilidh Davies made a strong run down the right wing, beating two players before putting in a lovely cross, which the East Fife keeper just got fingertips to deflecting the ball out of the path of Swifts onrushing striker. The ball came back out to Ferguson, but her shot was straight at the keeper, who held comfortably.
Half-way through the second 45, Sheyenne Bayne played a long ball out of defence, which rebounded from an East Fife midfielder before falling in front of Abbie Ferguson. She played a beautifully weighted pass forwards on the half volley, into the path of Louise McClelland who timed her run beyond the defence to perfection. McClelland’s shot sailed the flailing East Fife keeper into the net.
East Fife came back into the game more strongly now, and Swifts defence was starting to look more porous. Violets squandered a number of chances in front of goal, but did enough to bring the score back from 4-1 to 4-3. Sensing a come-back they threw everything forward, but Swifts continued to look dangerous on the break, with Kaitlyn Doig introduced on the left wing to bring an extra bit of pace to the game. Tara Laughlin once again forced a good save from the keeper, but it was Doig who had the final say, collecting the ball in the box and taking it wide around the defender before netting with a crisp finish across the keeper.
The two goal advantage restored, Swifts were more comfortable and held out for the remainder of the game.