Sutherland Women create history to be crowned League Cup winners after beating Clachnacuddin in the final
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SUTHERLAND Women created history as they won the Highlands and Islands League Cup in their debut season with a 3–2 victory over Clachnacuddin in the final.
After storming into a 3–0 lead, Sutherland had to withstand a comeback from Clachnacuddin in a five-goal thriller at Station Park, home of Nairn County.
But Sutherland held on to their lead at full time and lifted the trophy in euphoric scenes.
Sutherland manager John Smith said the club represents players from across the county and praised his squad’s commitment which resulted in their success on Sunday.
Speaking on the Scottish Women’s Football Youtube channel, he said, “I am so proud of them.
“The commitment they have shown throughout the year, the dedication to training and players travelling a lot of miles to come and represent the club is absolutely phenomenal.
“It is our first season in the league and it couldn’t have went any better.
“It was really more than we ever expected. I am so proud of the girls.”
Paige Lee Miller scored twice to give Sutherland a 2–0 lead at half time before Tracey–Anne Montgomery made it 3–0 in the second half.
Betty Ross pulled one back for Clachnacuddin from the penalty spot before Shannon Fulton made it 3–2 to set up a tense finish.
Smith says despite taking a commanding lead, he never ruled Clachnacuddin out of the game.
“Clach are a very good team, they are well organised and I knew that it was going to be very hard.
“We had to make sure we matched them from the start.
“We took our chances with two good goals in the first half and that made all the difference.
“We had to hold on for a wee bit, but thankfully we could all enjoy it in the end.
“I felt very nervous, I was clock watching but they saw it out in the end.
“We showed strength and character towards the end to see out the result.”
Sutherland play their final league match of the season against champions Inverness Caledonian Thistle Development at Couper Park as they aim to finish second.
Smith says they will look to challenge for the league title next season and winning the League Cup last weekend gives them confidence they can do that.
“This will build on their confidence, from where we started, we brought in one or two players in the middle of the season, and it has been great,” he said.
“The girls are fighting for one another and all play their hearts out.
“I can’t ask for any more as a coach when I turn up, they listen what you say to them and listen what you ask them to do.
“We’ll set our goals for next season, consolidate what we’ve done, one or two things we will improve on and challenge for the title.”
Goal hero Miller says it was a great feeling to score two goals which sent Sutherland on their way to final success.
Also speaking on Scottish Women Football’s Youtube channel, she said: “It just feels so good to be able to reward your team with that.”
She added: “The last 16 minutes was the longest 16 minutes, but everyone just wanted to buckle down and make sure that nothing went through.
“It shows how strong we are, everyone wanted this so bad and we stood our ground.”