Shootouts, drama and goals aplenty were the order of the day at the Indoor Gala Day at the Dundee International Sports Centre. Watsonians won the Women’s Final; Western Wildcats won the Men’s Final; and Uddingston was promoted in both the women’s and men’s playoff.
Women’s Indoor National League Final
Watsonians 2-2(2-1) Clydesdale Western
In what was the tensest of finals Watsonians claimed the Women’s Indoor Final with a 2-1 win in the shootout after a 2-2 draw.
Both sides showed patience from the first whistle against each other’s resolute defences. It was Clydesdale who came close first when a swift penalty corner routine saw the ball fizz just wide of the left post.
Lucy Williamson came close again for Clydesdale after a surging run, and shot, that slipped just past the left post.
As the first quarter came to an end, a double save denied Millie Steiger as Clydesdale Western finished strongly.
Early in the second quarter the ball ended up on the wrong side of the left post again for Clydesdale as Margery Justice fashioned the chance to shoot just wide.
Then Sarah Jamieson was given the opportunity to burst forward for Watsonians, but her final effort flashed wide of the mark.
Watsonians began to enjoy some pressure and tested the Clydesdale rear guard, but they held firm until the last two minutes of the half. A lovely weaving run by Jessica Garden saw her coolly slip the ball low past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Clydesdale started the second half strong and Margery Justice so very nearly equalised on a counter, but her shot across goal evaded the far post.
Then Clydesdale bagged their equaliser. A sweet ball into the circle found Kayleigh Justice who squeezed the ball through the keeper’s legs for 1-1.
Instantly, Watsonians went back in front as they flew out the traps from the restart. 2-1 through Rebecca Jones.
A penalty corner for Clydesdale Western saw them equalise again through Lucy Williamson, into the bottom left corner, as an extraordinary quarter came to a close. 2-2.
Into the final quarter and it felt like the game could go either way. Laura Paul was denied at one end, then Jamieson at the other. The finale was tense, but there were no takers, and we went to a shootout.
The shootout was even tenser than the finale of the match, but it ended 2-1 with Jamieson clinching the winning goal to win Watsonians the trophy.
Mens Indoor National League Final
Western Wildcats 5-2 Inverleith
Western Wildcats won the men’s indoor final 5-2 in a fantastic final against Inverleith.
It was a blistering start to the contest with both sides coming out all guns blazing. The action raged from end-to-end, on fast forward, as the teams tested each other for weaknesses.
First blood was drawn by Inverleith when Rory Steedman squeezed the ball home for 1-0.
Fraser Moran soon equalised for Western Wildcats when he slipped the ball over the line from a tight angle. 1-1.
Then as the first quarter closed, an Alex Wilson drag flick into the top right corner put Inverleith back in-front 2-1.
After a quick breath, the second quarter blasted into action and very quickly it was 2-2. Andy McConnell’s drag flick nearly burst the net as he levelled the scores.
Keir Robb very nearly put Inverleith back in front when his mazy run opened up space for a shot, but it zipped just wide of the left post.
The third quarter started with an exceptional diving save to deny Western’s Jamie Golden from close range.
Callum Duke was next to be stopped by a solid save as Western Wildcats hunted a third goal.
The third goal for Western came soon enough and it was a low drive by Golden, into the bottom left corner, from a penalty corner routine, that made it 3-2.
Early in the final quarter Moran struck his second, and Western’s fourth, in a carbon copy of his first from a tight angle. 4-2. Seconds later and Moran struck his hat-trick with a powerful finish from the left to make it 5-2, which was how it remained to see them win the title.
Mens National League Indoor Promotion/Relegation Match
Dunfermline Carnegie 2-3 Uddingston
Uddingston men gained promotion to Indoor National League 1 after a tremendous 3-2 win over Dunfermline Carnegie in the men’s play-off.
It was a fast and frantic start to the contest that found both defences well organised, and strong.
That was until Carnegie fashioned the first shot at goal in the contest. Josh Love blasted an excellent shot on the turn, but was denied by a fantastic save under the bar.
Then came the opening goal. After a period of Carnegie pressure it was Uddingston’s Ben Young who pounced on a loose pass to bear down on goal before swinging a low shot against the backboard for 1-0.
Early in the second quarter and Uddingston doubled their lead. Ben Wilson slammed the ball home to make it 2-0 with a low drive.
Carnegie went on the attack and pinned Uddingston back, but there was no way through the blue wall at the back. Meanwhile, the Uddingston counter always looked likely to spawn goals.
Early in the third quarter, Carnegie pulled one back. A lovely sweeping move down the right was finished off by Love, who was a constant threat, to make it 2-1.
The quarter raged from end-to-end with both sides looking capable of adding to their goal tally, but there would be no further strikes.
The final quarter was a tense affair with both sides fully aware that every second was crucial. Then came the Carnegie equaliser. A penalty corner was thundered into the bottom left corner by Andrew Doyle to make it 2-2.
Uddingston retook the lead with a minute to play. Stephen Mackenzie struck with back post tap in from a rebound off the keeper. 3-2, was how it ended and Uddingston claimed a well-earned promotion.
Women’s National League Indoor Promotion/Relegation Match
Inverleith 1-5 Uddingston
Uddingston Women made it two promotions in one day for the club when they beat Inverleith 5-1 at the Indoor GALA Day.
Uddingston took an early lead when they piled in on goal and Lucy Hogarth squeezed the ball over the line for 1-0.
Continued pressure by Uddingston looked like it would produce more goals, and they were denied a second by the post from a fierce penalty corner strike.
A second goal did arrive right at the end of the first quarter when Kirsty Wratten flicked home from the top of the circle for 2-0.
Inverleith began to make good progress in the second quarter with patient build-up play from the back, and they got their reward when they pulled a goal back.
A stroke went Inverleith’s way and Stella Hunger stepped up to slip the ball into the bottom left corner. 2-1.
After half time Uddingston found their stride again and restored their two-goal lead when Olivia Mullen struck a beautiful goal into the far corner from the left of the circle for 3-1.
Then Wratten struck her second of the match from a penalty corner into the bottom left corner for 4-1.
Inverleith dug deep to try and haul themselves back into the contest in the final quarter but the Uddingston defence stood up well to scrutiny.
Victory was all but sealed for Uddingston when Mullen blasted home on a counter to make it 5-1, and Uddingston closed out to victory in a great day for the club.