Category: SWPL Team News

Shillitto Keen To Make Her Mark On SWPL2

Beth Shillitto reckons Forfar Farmington can build on Sunday’s win over Jeanfield Swifts with the win keeping them at the top of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Two.

Goals from Laura Parsley and Cheryl Kilcoyne meant the side have won their first two games of the season in their hunt to bounce back at the first attempt to SWPL1.

The 18 year old attacker feels Farmington could have added to their tally had they been more clinical in front of goal.

She said: “I’m very happy with the result although we could have been further ahead with our chances but we failed to finish them. Overall the team played well together and helped one another and we’re now looking ahead to our next game to ensure a win as well.”

Shillitto set up the opener for Parsley and while she was pleased with her performance, she believes she needs to work on little things to ensure she helps the side as much as possible.

“I feel my own performance was good although there were little errors I could have sorted. Personally I believe that’s one of the best games I have played, I just have to now correct the little things and hopefully improve on my composure when through on goal.”

She continued: “After that one assist with Laura finishing it greatly I feel that I can contribute a lot in the coming games. I hope I can bag a few goals this season and hopefully there’s many more assists to follow.”

Philippa McCallum made her debut for the side at just fourteen, coming on as a late sub for Cheryl Kilcoyne, capping off a fantastic month with the youngster playing for Scotland U16. Shillitto was delighted for the teenager and reckons being involved with the squad will do her a world of good.

“With a youngster like Philippa making her debut, it proves that the young ones are capable of stepping up and can make an impact in the performance squad. I think it’s great to see youngsters contributing to the squad, which will also build their confidence when playing with older and more experienced girls.”

“Alongside Philippa, young Erin Ross travelled with us to Perth but unfortunately didn’t make her debut. Even though she didn’t, I feel that the experience of being with us and seeing what match days are like is an experience in itself.”

SWPL2: Jeanfield Swifts 1 Forfar Farmington 2

Forfar Farmington kept up their 100% record on Sunday with a hard fought 2-1 win over Jeanfield Swifts at the McDiarmid Park Astro.

Laura Parsley’s 50th minute opener was cancelled out by Danni McGinley’s corner flying in however Cheryl Kilcoyne scored a stunning winner with four minutes left.

Two changes were made from the previous week’s win over East Fife with Kirsty Deans and Julia Scott making way for Gemma Collier and Cheryl Kilcoyne.

Farmington had the first chance of the game with Alison Debio setting up Laura Parsley; the attacker firing straight at the keeper in the fourth minute.

Just after the quarter hour mark Debio was involved again, playing a ball for Robyn Smith to rebound off Parsley but the former Jeanfield winger could only send her effort wide of the mark.

The hosts had their best chance of the first half twenty minutes in; youngster Leah Fleming hitting the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Beth Shillitto and Leah White tested Bobby Cochran in quick succession before Jeanfield’s Jade McDonald blasted over from six yards out with only Fiona McNicoll to beat.

In the 34th minute Parsley fired across the face of goal however her shot flew past the wrong side of the far post.

Five minutes later Danni McGinley curled wide from just outside the box with the last chance before half time seeing Shillitto and Smith denied by Cochran.

Farmington took the lead five minutes after the break as Shillitto’s cross was flicked up by Parsley before she volleyed past Cochran from just inside the box for her second of the season.

Erin Cattanach and Gemma Collier saw efforts blocked from a Kilcoyne corner while substitute Kayleigh Noble found the sidenetting with a fierce effort just after the hour mark.

Noble came close again minutes later after being put through by Shillitto but she couldn’t beat Cochran.

McGinley equalised for Jeanfield in the 67th minute; her corner going straight in despite McNicoll’s claims she was impeded when trying to catch the set piece.

Kilcoyne blasted straight at Cochran seven minutes later and with ten minutes to go Jeanfield could have went ahead. McGinley made her way towards goal and she knocked the ball past McNicoll while off balance however before she could compose herself Megan McCarthy raced back to clear the ball. Unfortunately McGinley was injured in the attack and was subsequently substituted after treatment.

Farmington grabbed a stunning winner with four minutes to go when Laura Parsley set up Kilcoyne to send an effort in to the top corner from 25 yards.

The win keeps Farmington at the top of the league and they will look to continue their run when they host Motherwell in a fortnight.

Jeanfield Swifts: Bobby Cochran, Emma Flynn-Scott, Rhee Tweedie (Megan Moss 66), Danni McGinley (Donna Shaw 83), Amy Henderson, Rachel Todd (Ellie Cowie 60), Jodie Morris, Rebecca Foote, Jade McDonald, Laura Dunn, Leah Fleming

Subs not used: Niamh Irvine, Emma Maclean, Corrie McIlravey-Davidson, Megan Sidey

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Gemma Collier, Leah White (Kayleigh Noble 46), Erin Cattanach, Laura Parsley, Beth Shillitto, Robyn Smith, Nicola Davidson, Cheryl Kilcoyne (Philippa McCallum 88), Megan McCarthy, Alison Debio (Caitlin Mitchell 58)

Subs not used: Erin Ross, Julia Scott, Alana Bruce, Chantelle McKay

Post-match interview with Mark Nisbet:

Deans Eyes Room For Improvement After Opening Victory

Despite getting herself on the scoresheet, Kirsty Deans reckons there is still room for improvement from herself.

The 25 year old midfielder netted the opener as Forfar Farmington comfortably defeated East Fife 4-1 in the first game of the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 season.

Deans was delighted to take the three points and score four goals after struggling to do either of those last season in SWPL1.

She said: “I’m delighted with the win today, I think overall the team are very happy to get the result and importantly score four goals. We know there are still plenty of areas we could tighten up and build on moving forward, however the important thing today was to get the win and put 3 points on the board so we are very pleased with that.”

The former Inverness City midfielder feels there are still areas for her to improve on to ensure the side do not get punished and vows to work hard to cut out any errors.

“I am pretty disappointed with my own performance today. I’m really chuffed to get myself on the score sheet but there are lots of areas for me to develop and learn from today. It really hit home that we need to be more ruthless against teams as I had a couple of chances before they scored and their goal really put us under pressure.”

“We know we always need to be alert in this league and if you switch off for a moment you will be punished – as I demonstrated today at the corner. It’s always a learning experience though and I will work hard to improve for the season.”

Deans scored just five minutes in to the game and after scoring only two last season, she hopes she can add to her tally.

“I would be delighted to add to my tally this season and I will work hard to support attacks from the midfield. However, as long as the team is scoring I will be delighted for whoever is on the scoresheet at the end of the day.”

Farmington face a trip to Jeanfield Swifts next week and Deans reckons it will be a tough game with both sides beginning the season with a morale boosting win.

“I think this will be a really tough test for the squad next weekend. We know every game in this league will be tough but looking at their result today just shows it’s anyone’s game. Jeanfield have plenty of experience in this league and are a team we know can score goals so we will need to be on it from the start against them.”

“This was a massive confidence boost for us today. Four goals coming from four different scorers is the biggest positive we can take away from the game. We felt we also created a lot more chances and should have been more clinical in the final third, especially in the first half. This is something we will look to carry forward and will allow us to go into next Sunday’s game with a great amount of confidence.”

Deans was impressed with the new signings who played their part in the victory on Sunday and is excited for the season ahead once the squad gels.

“The new faces in the squad have slotted in brilliantly so far and will continue to develop as the squad gels together. We had lots of new faces in the squad today who all played their part, putting in solid challenges, showing great distribution and even getting on the scoresheet.”

“This is very exciting for us moving forward as it shows the depth we have within the squad and this also gives us a great amount of confidence. It’s going to be a very competitive and exciting season ahead.”

SWPL2: Forfar Farmington 4 East Fife 1

Forfar Farmington started life in the second tier of the Scottish Women’s Premier League with a bang on Sunday as they convincingly defeated East Fife 4-1.

Kirsty Deans netted just five minutes in before second half goals from Laura Parsley, Robyn Smith and Cheryl Kilcoyne sealed the win despite Melissa McAllister’s consolation shortly after the hour mark.

Head coach Mark Nisbet handed a first start to Leah White meanwhile Anne Murrie made her first SWPL appearance after impressing for the U23 side.

Farmington got off to a dream start just five minutes in when Robyn Smith’s cross was taken down by Julia Scott for Kirsty Deans to rifle home.

The Fifers had their first chance three minutes later however Johanna Clark could only fire straight at Fiona McNicoll.

Laura Parsley was inches away from connecting with a teasing Beth Shillitto cross minutes before she saw her shot from a Scott cross blocked.

Smith found the roof of the net in the 25th minute with a long range effort before her curled strike on the half hour mark was held by the keeper.

In the 39th minute Farmington should have probably extended their lead; Scott’s cross was met by the head of Smith and her header was diverted towards goal by Parsley however it was tipped wide.

Shillitto set up Scott on the stroke of half time with the winger firing into the keeper’s arms.

It didn’t take long for Farmington to get going again after the break and they doubled their lead just five minutes in; Scott’s corner found McCarthy and after East Fife failed to clear their lines Laura Parsley cheekily backheeled the ball through the legs of Anderson.

Cheryl Kilcoyne had been in fantastic form for the U23 team and was rewarded with a place in the SWPL match day squad. Three minutes after coming on, the striker came close to proving her worth when she latched on to a Nicola Davidson ball but her strike was blocked by Anderson.

Deans and McCarthy sent efforts off target and in the 64th minute East Fife gave themselves a lifeline when Wheatley’s corner was bundled home by Melissa McAllister at the back post.

Kilcoyne tested the keeper again before being involved in Farmington’s third with twelve minutes left. She sent Scott racing down the left wing to send in a perfect cross for Smith to slip under Anderson for her first goal since June last year.

It was 4-1 in the 88th minute after a fantastic piece of play from sub Kilcoyne. The attacker, who had another couple of chances saved prior, raced on to a through ball before weaving her way through the East Fife defence and finding the bottom corner of the net.

Scott could have added another in injury time but the tireless winger could only watch as her shot flew inches past the post.

It was a good win for the side to open their season with after last season’s relegation and they are on the road next week with a short trip to Perth to face Jeanfield Swifts at the McDiarmid Park pitches.

Forfar Farmington: Fiona McNicoll, Leah White (Caitlin Mitchell 50), Erin Cattanach (Anne Murrie 87), Laura Parsley (Kayleigh Noble 57), Beth Shillitto (Cheryl Kilcoyne 50), Robyn Smith, Nicola Davidson, Kirsty Deans, Megan McCarthy, Julia Scott, Alison Debio

Subs not used: Alana Bruce, Hannah Dryden (gk)

East Fife: Liz Anderson, Kirsty Graham, Sam Pattison, Johanna Clark (Natalie Conner 60), Fern Newbigging (Kerry Walker 55), Elissa Nicholson (Caitlin Paul 85), Teri Skivington, Chloe Guppy, Melissa McAllister, Lauren Wheatley, Kerry Dickson (Laura Dawson 60)

Subs not used: Alexis Keir (gk)

Kilcoyne Delighted With Efforts Despite Close Defeat

Forfar Farmington U23 captain Cheryl Kilcoyne was proud of her teammates despite suffering their first defeat of the season on Sunday.

The attacker netted an 87th minute penalty in a five goal thriller against Dundee United with Beth Shillitto scoring Farmington’s first as they missed out on a deserved point.

22 year old Kilcoyne felt the side were unlucky not to take something and reckons every player gave it their all on the pitch.

She said: “Personally I feel like we came out strong and played well as a team and are now seeing the benefits of our formation. We had good possession throughout the game and created chances. Every player put in 100% and we were very unlucky today. “

Kilcoyne now has five goals in three games and despite her fantastic start to the season, the attacker believes there is still room for improvement.

“I felt like I played well today and was happy with my performance but there’s always room for improvement!”

“I’m very pleased with our start this season and we have gelled well together.  We are learning to play to our strengths and mine just happens to be finding the back of the net at the moment.”

The U23 side have one point from their first two games against sides looking to be at the top of the league at the end of the season and Kilcoyne is adamant the youngsters should be aiming for the same position.

“This season I would like to finish at the top end of the table if not the top. I’m enjoying each game and the competition that they bring. I feel like as a squad we are more confident in our ability and are definitely improving each week.”

U23 head coach John Dunn echoed Kilcoyne’s thoughts on the game, expressing his disappointment at not taking anything from Sunday.

He said: “We were very unfortunate not to take anything out the game as we started the game at a high tempt and took United by surprise. I feel we dominated the first half but similar to our first game against Dunfermline we aren’t taking our chances and it’s coming back to bite us. The second half was very even as well but with us not taking advantage of the chances we created it just wasn’t to be.”

“We have started the season very well with a good point at Dunfermline and on another day we could have come back with all three. Today we deserved at least a point but if we continue to work hard I believe we will have a successful season.”

SWFL1 North: Forfar Farmington U23 2 Dundee United 3

Forfar Farmington and Dundee United met in a five goal thriller on Sunday at Station Park with the visitors taking all three points in the SWFL1 North.

United went ahead through Fiona Mearns and despite Beth Shillitto equalising, Derrian Gollan and Mearns restored their lead with Cheryl Kilcoyne netting a late penalty as Farmington came close to taking something from the game.

Farmington captain Cheryl Kilcoyne came close to netting in the 2nd minute when her corner evaded almost everyone with Leia Swan doing well to hook the set piece off the line.

The visitors took the lead after nine minutes; Fiona Mearns forcing her way through the defence before burying home past McKay.

Nicola Davidson, in the squad for some much needed match fitness ahead of the Premier League starting next week, almost netted an instant equaliser but she could only watch her long range strike fly over the bar.

Kilcoyne saw her effort eight minutes later pushed wide by Becky Cameron with the resultant corner being cleared as far as Davidson, her volley missing the target.

Zoe Moreland had a chance saved before Davidson nodded home on the half hour mark, her celebrations cut short for a shove in the build up.

United started to edge their way in to the game more following this; Stacey McFadyen sent a lob wide of the mark before Derrian Gollan rounded McKay and thought she had scored only for Becky McMillan to clear the danger on the line.

Eight minutes in to the second half Kilcoyne did well to set up Beth Shillitto however the attacker couldn’t create enough space and her shot was blocked.

Shillitto did go one better in the 57th minute when she pounced on a loose ball after Kilcoyne’s shot was spilled and gleefully bundled the ball in to the empty goal.

Kilcoyne sent a shot inches over on the hour mark but following the goal kick United were back in front. Gollan was sent clear by McFadyen despite strong offside shouts from Farmington and the former Forfar striker fired low under McKay.

Gollan could have had another two minutes later but for McMillan again with the defender racing back to clear off the line.

Farmington looked to level once more but were dealt a blow in the 68th minute; Mearns nodding her second from a McCafferty cross.

Both sides were attempting to force their way through the respective defences but were denied time and time again until the 87th minute when Forfar earned a corner. From the set piece the ball was headed back out to Kilcoyne and she made her way in to the box before being taken out by Mearns for a penalty; the United player earning a booking for her troubles.

Kilcoyne dusted herself off to fire the spot kick high beyond Cameron to create a nervy final few minutes.

Forfar were throwing everything they had at United and came close through Kilcoyne once again, her shot in injury time flying inches wide.

The final whistle went on an exciting game where it could have went either way with Farmington disappointed not to take a deserved point while United remain unbeaten.

Forfar Farmington U23: Chantelle McKay, Leah White, Anne Murrie, Beth Shillitto, Nicola Davidson, Rebecca McMillan, Sophie Young (Lois Millar 59), Jane Ritchie (Chloe Reilly 77), Zoe Moreland (Hannah Johnston 81), Cheryl Kilcoyne, Ellie Cook (Lynsey Tugman 46)

Sub not used: Beth Warwick

Dundee United: Becky Cameron, Laurie Denney, Kirsty Oliphant, Fiona Mearns, Leia Swan, Emma Sommerville, Chloe Robertson (Megan Robb 54), Eirinn McCafferty, Stacey McFadyen, Megan Burns, Derrian Gollan

Subs not used: Jena Jamieson, Anna Turfus, Emily Morton, Catriona Caine

White Reaping The Benefits of Performance Squad Set-Up

Leah White was disappointed to lose in Forfar Farmington’s final pre-season game on Sunday but believes it will help them prepare for their season opener in a fortnight.

The side travelled to Hamilton Accies’ New Douglas Park and despite Robyn Smith and Kirsty Deans hauling it back from 2-0, a late penalty saw Hamilton edge a game that could have gone either way.

White feels that although they lost, they can take positives from their second half performance into their first league game against East Fife on March 12th.

She said: “It is disappointing to lose today despite a great team performance. The game was close throughout and other than conceding a few unlucky goals we were competing well and the game could have gone either way.”

“The second half had a much higher intensity about it and I think everyone contributed to the game effectively and worked hard for each other to create opportunities. On the whole I think it was a really good team performance in which we can take positives from moving into the upcoming season.”

The 16 year old defender came off the bench midway through the second half and reckons she is gradually improving in a slightly more attacking role.

“Coming on as a sub today, I feel like I performed well and contributed to the team effectively. I’m not naturally an attacking player but I feel like I’m coping well with playing on the wing and helping to create opportunities for the team. All of the girls make me feel welcome and are so encouraging on the pitch which makes playing in the game a whole lot easier.”

White has been involved with the Premier League match day squad over pre-season and the youngster hopes she can build on this and force her way in to the starting XI over the course of the season.

She explained: “I have really enjoyed playing with the SWPL team over preseason and I think it has been a really positive experience for me. Having the opportunity to play with girls of such a high standard is great and I think it will really benefit me as a footballer.”

“I hope if I continue to work hard in training that I will continue to play with the SWPL team and hopefully impress Mark and be given the opportunity of a position in the starting 11.”

The club began a new project over the final months of 2016, using one Performance Squad for their senior and U23 match day squads. White has been a part of this and believes that it has helped the younger players improve weekly.

“I think the creation of the performance squad was great and I feel like it is really beneficial to players like myself, Caitlin Mitchell and the rest of the younger girls. Training with such experienced footballers and coaches has really boosted my confidence and I hope I continue to improve in this positive coaching environment. Training with the senior players is really beneficial as they are always looking for ways to give you advice and help you become a better footballer.”

Middleton Departs For Tannadice Academy Role

The club can announce that performance analyst Bryan Middleton has departed the club to take up a similar role with Scottish Professional Football League side Dundee United’s academy.

Middleton joined the club at the beginning of 2015 and has been a massive help to the Premier League side, providing the players and staff with vital analysis.

The 30 year old Dundonian informed head coach Mark Nisbet of his decision to take up a role with the Championship side late last week and admits that while he is excited at the opportunity, it was difficult to make his decision.

“I am looking forward to getting my teeth into a new challenge. It’s been a really tough decision to leave Farmington, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

“I’m friends with one of the youth scouts at Dundee United and in a recent meeting, he put forward my name to Brian Grant, the senior academy manager at the club, with regards to potentially providing analysis to the youth teams. This is something that is likely being considered by many clubs around the country with the new performance at the SFA, Malky Mackay, outlining his vision to raise the quality of club academies in the country as part of Project Brave.”

Middleton thanked the club for allowing him the opportunity and praised everyone he has dealt with in the two years spent at Station Park.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at the club immensely. I’ve gained a lot more from the role than I could have possibly wished for. I’ve been able to experience a mixture of highs and lows, from the unbeaten run in 2015 that avoided relegation, to unfortunately being unable to pull off the same feat in the 2016 season.”

He continued: “The practical experience gained has been invaluable and working in the women’s game has opened doors to other opportunities, such as working with the SFA, that would not have been possible had the club not taken me on board. I can’t speak highly enough of the players and staff I’ve worked with over the past two years, and I’m forever in the club’s debt for the opportunity they’ve provided me with.”

Middleton was also thankful to Mark Nisbet for being so understanding when he told the head coach of the opportunity he was presented with.

He explained: “Mark was happy for me to have been offered the opportunity to progress on my own career path into professional sport. While the timing is not ideal, with SWPL season just beginning, these opportunities have to be grasped with both hands, and I think Mark understood my reasons for moving on and he wished me the best of luck.”

With Farmington looking to bounce back to SWPL1 at the first attempt this season, Middleton reckons they have a great chance and feels the Performance Squad set up can only work wonders for the players.

“I think they have a great chance of returning to SWPL1 at the first attempt. The core of last year’s squad has been kept together, and with the restructuring of the team to become a larger performance squad, the younger players at the club are only going to improve by being able to train and play alongside experienced players who have been at the top level of the women’s game in Scotland for many years.”

“Despite Farmington being run entirely by volunteers, I think that you’d struggle to find a more professional setup in SWPL1 or SWPL2. Everything is in place for the players to develop and perform to their best level, week-in, week-out.”

Farmington Youngsters Involved In SFA Coaching Course

The club are encouraging their young footballers to expand on their football knowledge by getting involved in coaching courses.

16 year old Performance Squad members Leah White and Caitlin Mitchell along with 18 year old Rachelle Milton from our Ladies squad all took part in the recent SFA East Region 1.1 Early Touches course at Brechin High School.

All three girls have been involved with the club’s youth setup by coaching the U7 and U9 groups. It is an ideal situation to have these young women, who have achieved so much at Farmington, help with the junior girls and offer real female football role models for the youngsters at the club.

Junior Co-ordinator Jane Luckhurst is pleased to see players get involved with coaching younger girls, explaining: “In order to be successful our club relies heavily on volunteer help, as every club does, but the ideal situation would be if we could encourage more players to get involved in the coaching side of the club. This allows them to pass on their knowledge to the junior girls, and the junior girls are delighted to have the older players as coaches.”

Leah, Caitlin and Rachelle will all be taking part in the Level 1.2 course next month.

Debio Satisfied With Debut Performance

Despite the result, Alison Debio was delighted with her debut performance as Forfar Farmington were edged out by Celtic in the first round of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup.

A Natalie Ross goal midway through the first half was enough for the hosts with Farmington putting in a fantastic performance against their SWPL1 opponents.

The 20 year old was making her first competitive appearance since joining Forfar in December and felt the team worked well to combat an attacking Celtic side.

She said: “I’m really happy with Sunday’s performance. Celtic tried to play their way around us with very little success. We set up very well and were very secure and disciplined which meant Celtic had no answers for the problems we caused them and resorted to playing long balls which we dealt with very well. The whole team played really well together and left everything on the pitch, what more can you ask for.”

The hard working defender has been playing in a more advanced role during pre-season in midfield and reckons that she is adjusting well while building match fitness.

“I’m still adjusting to playing in midfield but I feel like the 80 minutes I played today will serve me well for the start of the league, only a few weeks away.”

“Today we had to be disciplined to keep Celtic out and I feel like playing with this team my performances can only get better and I can grow into the role I have been tasked with.”

Debio made her return to competitive football after a spell away while playing university football and the former Cumbernauld Colts player was elated to be back at a competitive level against a team such as Celtic.

“Playing against teams like Celtic is always a great game to be involved in, to have played against them and got a result which was so well fought for by the team was a pleasure and I thoroughly look forward to playing the rest of the season with this great group of girls.”

The side now face a three week wait until their opening SWPL2 fixture at home to East Fife and while they will have friendlies against Hamilton and Rangers, Debio reckons the side can build on Sunday’s performance going in to the season.

“Today we all worked for each other and I don’t think anyone could have given any more, we were looking to create chances under our terms and move forward as a unit as well as defending solidly all over the pitch.”

“Everyone had a great game today and we are all understanding our roles and improving every week which can only leave us in a great position for the start of the league campaign.”