Match Report | Kilmarnock v Boroughmuir Thistle
The opening match of the World Cup was second billing as Kilmarnock Women took centre stage against Boroughmuir Thistle at the BBSP Stadium, Rugby Park on Saturday, 20 November.
Jim Chapman’s team went into the SWPL 2 fixture with ambitions of climbing above their opponents from the capital, who occupied a place within the top four of the division prior to kick-off.
On a cold but clear afternoon, it was the Edinburgh-based club who carved the first clear-cut opportunity of the match, by way of an early cross which was volleyed narrowly over the bar from a Thistle attacker who was positioned around 12 yards from the Chadwick Stand goal.
Killie quickly gained control of possession and looked to infiltrate down the flanks. Many of their early strides forward came through right winger Kirsty Munro who was continually fed diagonal balls from the likes of McLaughlin, Crooks and Robinson.
It was Munro who created the best chance of the half after a quick glance spotted Jackson running into space in the middle of the penalty area. The ball was squared to Jackson who saw her low strike from the edge of the six-yard box impressively stopped by the feet of the Thistle ‘keeper.
The home side continued to search for the opener and came close to finding the breakthrough five minutes before half-time when Harty picked out Jackson with a cross. A neat first touch set up a shooting opportunity as Jackson swiveled onto her right foot, but she could only find the side netting with a shot.
Killie remained in control of possession for the majority of the half, while the visitors produced a couple of opportunities on the counter, but neither side could break the deadlock before half-time.
Supporters in the Moffat Stand were treated to a close-up view of the first major chance of the second half. An outstanding last-ditch tackle denied what was almost certainly going to be the opening goal for Thistle. Kilmarnock’s covering defender Kayla Healy slid in to clear the ball away from the onrushing opposition striker, before taking a knock and drawing the first yellow card of the game in the process.
It was action at the other end of the park that got the Moffat Stand support on their feet as Killie opened the scoring with 20 minutes left to play. Following neat link up in the Thistle half, the ball was shifted to Monica Harty who – despite competition from a charging defender – showed great composure to strike the ball first time and find the far corner of the goal from the edge of the area.
As the away side responded to going a goal down, Killie ‘keeper Lauren McGregor was called into action in the final 10 minutes when she superbly tipped a powerful strike over the crossbar, before clearing the resulting corner with a strong punch.
Killie came close to making it a comfortable final five minutes, but a well-timed header from a corner was excellently clawed away by the Boroughmuir No.1. The one-goal advantage proved to be enough in the end as the Killie defence calmly managed the remaining minutes, seeing off few late endeavors towards the home team’s box.
Kilmarnock starting XI:
McGregor, McCulloch, McLaughlin, Middleton, Healy, Munro, Harty, Crooks, Robinson, Reside, Jackson
Thoughts of the manager:
— Kilmarnock FC Women (@KilmarnockWFC) November 20, 2022