Wednesday 1st of March, a date for the EUWAFC history books and the day in which our 1st team played in the BUCS Trophy semi-final for the first time ever. In an all-Scottish tie, the 1s found themselves up against a strong, organised Stirling Uni 1st team.
The game kicked off away in Stirling at 3:15pm and the tension and competitiveness of both teams was apparant early on. Four free kicks were given out in the space of 5 minutes, as nerves and emotions ran high for both teams. Stirling saw an early chance cleared fantastically off the line from Edinburgh's Lucy Stanton, right before keeper Charlotte Parker-Smith's reactions were put to the test where she pulled off an amazing save. Edinburgh weren't without their own attacking threat however and soon after, Grete Wilson played a good ball through to Margaux Durand-Watson who just lost out in a race to the ball against the Stirling keeper. Beth Macleod was then up to her usual tricks and managed to beat 3 Stirling players and break into the penalty box before looping a high ball to the back post which, had someone been there to finish, would have made a spectacular assist. Stirling then attempted to catch keeper Charlotte Parker-Smith off her line with a powerful long range shot, however she was alert to this and managed to get up quickly and tip the ball onto the crossbar. With a great deal of misfortune, the ball rebounded straight to the feet of the oncoming Stirling striker who did not hesitate in putting the ball into the net, thus making the score 1-0 to the home team. Edinburgh reacted well to the goal however and straight away applied pressure themselves and winning a corner which found the head of Margaux Durand-Watson well, forcing the Stirling keeper to make a good save. The half-time whistle blew with the score still at 1-0, as Edinburgh regrouped and prepared to give a strong performance in the second half.
There were good signs early on as, not long into the second half, Grete Wilson found herself through on goal in the penalty box, only to see her shot go just over the bar. Edinburgh continued to work hard which was displayed brilliantly throughout the game, and the following 10 minutes displayed some very hard battling on the left wing from Beth Macleod and Lily Chubb. The intensity and competitiveness of the game remained high for the full 90 minutes resulting in many strong challenges and free kicks, with Charlotte Parker-Smith firstly denying a shot from the edge of the box, before Edinburgh were then awarded one at the other end. With 15 minutes to go and only one goal behind, Edinburgh kept the belief that the game was far from over and kept working extremely hard, growing in confidence, determination and seeing more of the ball than Stirling for a good period of play. However, the visitors were unlucky again in the 80th minute when Stirling broke through with a number of bodies in the box and, in an attempt to clear it, saw an own goal from Edinburgh defender Laila Juul-Dam. This made the score 2-0 with only 10 minutes on the clock, for which Edinburgh did not give up and gave their all until the final whistle.
The 2-0 defeat sees Edinburgh out of the cup, a fact that will disappoint such a successful and ambitious group of players and coaches. However, there are many positives to draw from the game and the commitment of some players who, due to injuries, were forced to play out of position is unquestionable. No player on the day gave less than 100% and this was exemplified perfectly by the Players' Man of the Match Charmaine McGuire who put in a resounding performance in the centre of midfield. The players involved all now hold a place in history as the first team from Edinburgh University to reach this stage in the competition. The 1st team will now look forwards to their upcoming Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Napier, who were recently crowned Division 3A champions.