Stoney’s U-16 squad were finally able to play girls their own age and travelled down to Hamilton on a misty Saturday to play a team who named as Croft Park had been regional champions last year.
The early exchanges were tentative with both defences on top and neither side giving much away. Halfway through the first half Rutherglens classy midfielders fashioned a couple of chances with one chance flashed wide and a crashing header tipped onto the crossbar by Imray.
Captain Smith and Brawley were immense repelling attacks in the centre of defence and fullbacks Mainland and Evans crashed into challenges. Suddenly from being under pressure the last few minutes of the first half saw Stoney awaken as an attacking force .Tench dribbled into the box but was edged out by desperate defending.
Then Porter flicked the ball to Townsend whose spin and pass nearly allowed Grundy to score. Then Kennedy raced clear onto for the shot to slide past the post.
If Stoney ended the first half strongest Rutherglen started the second half strongly . Stoney’s powerful central midfield pair of Johnston and Townsend were being forced to defend more and more however the pace of Kennedy still offered a useful outlet for Stoney on the counter.
Rutherglen snatched an opener after a flashing run from the midfield through the centre of Stoney’s defence.Imray then made a couple of wonderful saves including a tip onto a post as the game opened up.
Rutherglen pressed but Stoney were starting to gain chances Grundy on the left wing put in Kennedy who stormed into the box only to force a scrambled save by Rutherglens keeper. Johnston fed Townsend and the charging Porter dashed in on goal before her shot from the right edge of the box flashed wide of goal.
As both teams pressed near the end Stoney survived one or two scares but at the death a left wing cross caused mayhem on the Rutherglen six yard line and it looked certain to drop to Tench before it squirmed and spun behind her as she dashed in and looked set to score.
The game ended in a one nil defeat for the brave Stoney team which was a fair result however Stoney will play worse than this and win this season and Rutherglen knew they’d been in a battle.
Team Danni Imray, Sophie Evans, Amber Mainland, Daisy Smith (cpt) Shannon Brawley, Katy Townsend, Kirsten Johnston, Amy Tench, Lisa Porter, Aria Kennedy, Emily Grundy.
Player of the match - all 11 players offered blood,sweat and tears as they battled a strong set of opponents
Magic Moment - the round of applause the team received at the end from their supporters said it all about the teams efforts.