Boroughmuir Thistle 4 Queen’s Park 3

Queen’s Park's journey in the Sky Sports Cup came to a dramatic end as they narrowly fell 4-3 to Boroughmuir Thistle in Edinburgh.

The Spiders ventured to the capital to take on Boroughmuir Thistle in the second round of the Sky Sports Cup. Eager to rebound from a defeat against Kilmarnock, the Spiders aimed to reignite their winning form.

Craig Joyce made four changes to the starting line-up which faced Kilmarnock two weeks prior. Ami Robertson and Rachael McConnachie earned their first starts for the club, while Hannah Fulton and Taylor Davis also returned to the starting XI. Monica Harty found a place on the bench, and Sophie McGoldrick appeared in the matchday squad for the first time.

The game kicked off with both teams in pursuit of that breakthrough moment. Queen’s Park seemed to seize the initiative with some excellent passages of play, and it was in the 7th minute that they fashioned the first genuine opportunity. Taylor Davis initiated the move by throwing the ball to Robertson inside the 18-yard box. Robertson, with quick thinking, laid it off to Megan Quigley who then displayed exquisite footwork, deftly navigating through the challenges posed by three Boroughmuir defenders before finding Rachael McConnachie positioned at the edge of the 6-yard box. McConnachie, with a crafty turn, managed to elude her marker and unleashed a shot towards the goal. However, the Thistle defender was able to block the shot.

The Spiders maintained their firm grip on the game for the following 20 minutes, steadily advancing up the field and fashioning a number of opportunities in the attacking third. However, in the 19th minute, the home side managed to threaten the goal. It all began with a tame clearance from a Boroughmuir defender, which was intercepted by Maria Torrente in the centre circle. Torrente swiftly threaded a ball forward, setting Cara Borthwick free in a one-on-one with Queen’s Park’s goalkeeper. Borthwick attempted to square the ball to her teammate for a straightforward finish, but Eleanor Smith was there to clear the danger.

Subsequently, the game descended into a somewhat scrappy phase, with neither side effectively retaining possession nor creating any real chances. On the 29th minute, the Spiders came close to taking the lead. McConnachie capitalised on a loose ball in midfield and laid it back to Smith. Smith played a precise through-ball into the path of Abby Callaghan. Callaghan controlled the ball and took a touch wide before unleashing a shot towards the goal. Unfortunately, her effort narrowly missed the target.

Just a minute later, Boroughmuir found the breakthrough courtesy of Maria Torrentre. Torrente initiated the play by winning possession in the heart of the midfield and embarked on a forceful run down the left flank. She cleverly cut inside, dribbled into the middle of the 18-yard box, and calmly fired the ball into the net.

Half-Time: Boroughmuir Thistle 1-0 Queen’s Park

The Spiders emerged for the second half with an unwavering determination to claw their way back into the contest, and that’s precisely what they achieved when Abby Callaghan restored parity in the 47th minute. It all unfolded as Taylor Davis received the ball on the left-hand side and swung in a precision cross into the box, picking out Robertson. Robertson controlled the ball and executed an a clever backheel into the path of Callaghan, who slotted the ball home.

However, the joy was short-lived, as the home side found the lead a mere 3 minutes later. Abigail Varghese re-gained possession in the attacking third and threaded a pass to set Samantha Duncan free on the right flank. Duncan delivered an inviting ball across the box to Beth MacLeod on the opposite side. MacLeod drove toward the goal as the ball rebounded fortuitously to the feet of Fiona Gibson, who tapped it home from two yards out.

Thistle came close to adding another goal to their tally a minute later when Torrente capitalised on a loose ball in the middle of the park and played it to Borthwick. Borthwick turned on the ball and unleashed a shot destined for the top corner. However, her effort was met with a stellar response from McGregor in the Queen’s Park goal, who pulled off a save.

The home side persisted in their offensive onslaught, incessantly pressuring the Queen’s Park backline. A goal kick from Beth Rennie was flicked on by Torrente into the path of Deborah McLeod. McLeod executed a swift turn and lofted the ball over the defence, sending Beth MacLeod through on goal. MacLeod made no mistake and guided the ball into the back of the net.

Queen’s Park, undaunted, cranked up the intensity, subjecting Boroughmuir to relentless pressure as the Spiders looked to get back on level terms. In the 76th minute, Leah Daly seized the ball on the right-hand side and delivered a cross into the congested 18-yard box. The ball ricocheted around amidst the chaos before falling to the feet of substitute Caitlin McKee. McKee displayed a deft touch and expertly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to give the Spiders a lifeline.

In a stunning turn of events, not even two minutes later, the Spiders roared back into the game, courtesy of another goal from Abby Callaghan. Queen’s Park exhibited patience in their build-up, methodically shifting the ball from left to right, waiting for the opportune moment to seize. That moment finally arrived when Callaghan picked up the ball in the heart of the park. From there, Callaghan unleashed a thunderous strike from approximately 40 yards out. Her audacious effort sailed majestically over the outstretched arms of Rennie in goal, levelling the scoreboard once again.

Queen’s Park, fuelled by their determination, relentlessly pursued the winning goal in the last 10 minutes. Their efforts came tantalisingly close as the Spiders orchestrated a well-executed build-up from the goalkeeper. Leah Daly commenced the attack by delivering a precise pass forward to find Nicole Cairney positioned inside the 18-yard box. Cairney controlled the ball brilliantly before rolling the ball past Rennie in goal, only to witness her strike blocked by a vigilant Thistle centre-half who cleared the ball off the line.

The decisive winning goal came from Boroughmuir in the 89th minute. A long clearance from the Thistle defence was redirected by Fiona Gibson, sending it into the path of Mhairi Smith. Smith remained composed as she curved the ball into the back of the net, securing Boroughmuir Thistle’s advancement into the next round of the Sky Sports Cup.

Full-Time: Boroughmuir Thistle 4-3 Queen’s Park

Boroughmuir Thistle: Beth Rennie, Kimber Goodchild, Iris Ramage, Caitlin Lynch, Beth MacLeod, Abigail Varghese, Deborah McLeod (Mhairi Smith, 77’), Maria Novou Torrente, Fiona Gibson, Cara Borthwick (Samantha Duncan, 72’), Sydney Hinchcliffe (Katie McCabe, 72’). Subs not used: Natalie Angelini, Olivia Murphy, Annalies Verbist, Erin Sheehan, Seren McCulloch, Jayden Simmons.

Queen’s Park: Lauren McGregor, Taylor Davis, Ciara Bonner, Rachel Ross (Caitlin McKee, 66’), Eleanor Smith (Leah Daly, 46’), Hannah Fulton (Nicole Cairney, 66’), Rachael McConnachie (Robin Gallagher, 46’), Megan Quigley, Ellie Kane, Abby Callaghan, Ami Robertson. Subs not used: Chloe Gibney, Lucy Inman, Monica Harty, Sophie McGoldrick.

Starting Eleven

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