The League Cup dream is over for Renfrew Ladies as the side lost to a young and skilful Dundee United team in front of a healthy crowd of 65 supporters at New Western Park.
The visitors showed their intentions within the first couple of minutes, bursting forward before wasting a great chance with just keeper Sam McQuillian to beat. Renfrew, with Eilidh McDonald missing from the heart of defence, failed to learn and, with 10 minutes on the clock, had another lucky escape when a Utd player broke forward narrowly missing with a lob.
Utd were looking the better of the two sides and deservedly went ahead shortly afterwards. Renfrew rallied and with 21 minutes gone won a corner. They took it quickly and Sammy Jo Smith crossed for Karen Baillie to volley home from 12 yards. Remarkably, despite having more of the play, it was Utd who went behind when, a couple of minutes after the equaliser, Sammy chipped a pass forward beyond the last defender into the path of Claire Rae. She took a touch and from the edge of the box fired across the keeper to make it 2-1.
On the half hour the visitors had a couple of efforts the first of which went wide, and the second a bit closer, but just the wrong side of the post.
From a pass back Sam was slow to clear and it almost brought an equaliser as her clearance ricocheted off a Dundee Utd forward, but luckily for Renfrew the ball flew wide. Sam redeemed herself moments later to smother another chance as the visitors continued to press.
HT Renfrew 2 Dundee Utd WFC 1
At the break Renfrew replaced Natalie O'Neill with Lindsay Fitzpatrick, but the first chance of the second period almost brought the sides level. A Utd corner was met by their player but luckily for the hosts, the header was just past the post.
The pressure was beginning to tell and they got their reward just moments later when a defence splitting pass saw their player run in with Sam just to beat and she made no mistake to make it 2-2. Five minutes later they should have taken the lead when Renfrew failed to deal with a throw in. Yet again the defence were slow to clear and were robbed in the box by an opponent who fired a cross into her team mate whose volley from 6 yards out missed the target when it looked easier to score.
The game then had a period where both sides saw plenty of the ball but failed to do anything with it. Frew had a half chance on 68 minutes but Lindsay's long range effort fizzed past.
Within 10 minutes the visitors went ahead. Another ball inside the last defender saw a Utd forward with a free run in on goal. Sam was down well to save but couldn't hold the shot and it sat up nicely for a visiting player to shoot home from close range and make it 3-2.
With 7 minutes left Renfrew changed things around with Debbie McGarrell replacing Karen, but a 60 seconds later Renfrew went further behind. A shot from the edge of the box was struck powerfully across Sam and found the bottom corner. Renfrew's last hope was gone when the referee waved away a decent shout for a penalty, but as the final whistle sounded, it was a deserved win for the visiting team.
After last weeks victory against higher league opposition, Renfrew Ladies were confident of continuing their unbeaten run today. However Dundee United WFC are also unbeaten in all competitions, and were better all around the pitch today. They played some lovely football at times, combining pace and strength and were more clinical in front of goal. Renfrew will regroup and try to get back to winning ways in the league, but we wish Dundee United WFC all the best in the Semi Final, and for the rest of the season.
FT Renfrew 2 Dundee Utd WFC 4
Renfrew Sam, Jane, Sophie, Kat, Janice, Lee, Sammy, Erin, Karen, Claire, Natalie
Subs used Lindsay, Debbie
Unused Gail, Sian
Reported by Alan Liddell
Renfrew Ladies FC