Match Report | Kilmarnock Women v University of Stirling

It was a frustrating afternoon for Kilmarnock Women, but a dominant second-half performance saw the home side come from behind to earn a point against Stirling Uni at a rainy Rugby Park.

Kilmarnock had the pick of the chances in the opening 10 minutes as an intricate passing move ended with Georgia Crooks’ powerful effort being turned over the bar by Victoria Scarratt in the opposition’s goal. However, it was Stirling Uni who broke the deadlock when a set-piece delivery was nodded in by Shana MacPhail who was stood on the edge of the six-yard box.

The away side continued to be a threat in the air, forcing Killie’s No.1 Lauren McGregor into action a few minutes later after another dangerous ball was swung into the box and met by a Stirling Uni header.

The Rugby Park team posed their own threat on the counter-attack, working the Stirling Uni ‘keeper on a couple of occasions, but lacking a lethal finishing touch. Jim Chapman’s side came closest to an equaliser when a neat through-ball was picked up by Mhairi Crooks who slid a shot narrowly passed the far left post. Killie pressed to find a leveller, with Reese McCulloch also going close via a header, but the away side took a one-goal lead into the break.

Killie came flying out of the changing rooms in the second half, almost equalising within a few minutes of the referee’s whistle when Abby Robinson’s pinpoint cross was met by substitute Mary Jackson whose half-volley skidded past the post.

Another vital save from Lauren McGregor kept her team in the game and sparked an entertaining final quarter as Killie camped inside the Stirling Uni half. Relentless pressure eventually paid off with 10 minutes remaining as Mary Jackson struck the ball perfectly from the edge of the box and found the top left corner of the goal.

Despite persistence to push forward, the away side managed to fend off numerous Killie advances in search of a winner.

Commenting on the impact made by two academy graduates, Kilmarnock Manager Jim Chapman said: “We’ve got young kids coming through and they’ll be looking for opportunities as well. I’m very much someone that will promote development as I think it’s crucial. We want to build a good academy here and show girls that there is this opportunity to come and play in the first team.

“I’m delighted for young Mary to come in and get the equaliser which was thoroughly deserved. It was a typical game of two halves. It took us a while to get going but we addressed a few issues at half-time. The second half was more like ourselves.”

Kilmarnock starting XI: McGregor, Middleton, McCulloch, McLaughlin, Gray, Harty, Crooks, Robinson, Healy, Crooks, Fyfe