SWPL Weekend Round-up
Monday, 25 June 2012
Celtic 5 - 2 Hibernian
(Celtic: Cunningham (2), Thomson, Jones, Grant; Hibs: Kennedy, Montignani)
Falkirk Ladies 0 - 8 Glasgow City
(L. Ross (2), Mitchell (2), Callaghan (2), McDonald, Melrose)
Hamilton Academical 1 - 2 Forfar Farmington
(Hamilton: Richardson; Forfar: Small, Graham)
Hutchison Vale 2 - 3 Aberdeen
(Vale: Russell, Briggs; Aberdeen: Clues (2), Murray)
Inverness City 3 - 3 Kilmarnock
Spartans 2 - 2 Rangers
(Spartans: Crosbie, Ewens; Rangers: McTaggart (2))
There were goals and exciting matches aplenty as the first half of the SWPL season came to a conclusion this weekend ahead of the summer break.
In a close-run match at the John Cumming Stadium in Carluke, Forfar Farmington secured the three points against Hamilton Academical to finish the first-half of their season in a positive manner.
Farmington’s outfield line up remained unchanged from last Sunday’s match against Hutchison Vale, with the only change coming in the goalkeeper position where Dana Soutar replaced Catherine Fitzsimmons
The opening spell was something of a cautious affair, with neither side carving out any gilt-edged chances. It took to the quarter hour mark or the first real chance of the game to come when in the 16th minute the ball found its way through to Farmington’s Nicola Davidson – however the visiting skipper couldn’t wrap her cultured left foot around the ball sufficiently to force it towards goal.
Three minutes later a searching cross from Rachael Small found Lucy Graham who couldn’t head the ball on target from six yards out.
In the 24th minute Emma McCulley showed the Accies backline a clean set of heels, but was denied by a fine save by Meggan Cunningham who stood tall to claw away McCulley’s attempted lob.
Two minutes later Julia Scott’s half cleared cross was thundered wide of target by Rachael Small who had fairly steamed in from the right flank. The Scotland internationalist was clearly not happy with her shot and duly set about redressing the balance – a task that took all of a minute. Marauding in from the right flank, Small looked up before launching an absolutely thunderous drive over Cunningham to put the visitors ahead in some style.
Hamilton immediately set about pulling the game level and were successful only three minutes later. The impressive Carolina Richardson got the better of Kelly Clark before closing in a goal and dispatching the ball past Soutar who could only watch aghast as the ball squirmed from her hands.
Nicky Grant teed up Lucy Graham in the 32nd minute but the Farmington youngster fired well over the bar.
Farmington upped their game in the second half but found a well-drilled Accies side difficult to break down. Indeed the home side continued to show their own attacking threat, with Richardson and Mason causing constant problems. The woodwork denied Kelly Clark in the 52nd minute; her header from Scott’s corner slapping the face of the upright. Ten minutes later Soutar made amends for her earlier fumble; showing sharp reactions to push an Accies head up and over the bar.
McCulley nodded wide in the 69th minute from Scott’s cross as Farmington continued to swarm the home defence in search of further goals. Three minutes later their endeavours bore fruit when Scott’s cross was headed back across goal by Grant for Lucy Graham to step up and stab the ball past Cunningham. Accies came close to equalising in the closing stages but Lindzi Bayne’s header sailed just over Soutar’s bar.
Meanwhile, league leaders Glasgow City go into the summer break with their 100% record intact following their comfortable 8-0 victory over Falkirk Ladies.
New signings Ashley McDonald and Jennifer Callaghan both started for City and like their teammates took the opening fifteen minutes to get used to the bumpy surface at Dunipace Juniors. Although comfortable in possession, it took the Champions 20 minutes to get their noses in front when Leanne Ross opened the scoring from a free-kick outside the box.
Ross doubled her tally 12 minutes later converting from the penalty spot after Emma Mitchell was brought down in the box. Mitchell’s running was proving to be a handful for the opposition and she would go on to cause them numerous problems as the match progressed.
Julie Melrose put City 3-0 up heading home a Leanne Ross cross, and debutants McDonald and Callaghan combined brilliantly, resulting in Callaghan having a shot well saved by Falkirk keeper Lee Skelton, as Falkirk hung on in the closing moments of the first half.
11 minutes after the restart and McDonald scored her first goal for her new club as she headed a Mitchell cross into the back of the net. Not to be outdone by McDonald scoring on her debut, Callaghan proved that she also very much knows the route to goal, pouncing on a blocked Leanne Ross shot and firing past Skelton to put City 5-0 up after only 63 minutes.
Moments later and Mitchell scored the goal of the game as she cut inside and unleashed a trade mark thunderous left foot shot high into the top corner from outside the box. She then added another only one minute later with an audacious effort with the outside of her foot from inside the box.
With twenty minutes remaining, Callaghan scored her second and City’s eighth, with a fantastic looping shot from 25 yards out, catching Skelton off her line with a sublime finish.
Commenting on the win and the first half of the season, Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black said, “At the start of the season the players set themselves targets and at the half way point it is very pleasing to see them having achieved all of them so far. I feel we have been really enjoyable to watch this campaign and this is really important for the philosophy of our club."
Eddie continued: "It was great to have the new players Ashley and Jennifer starting today and both played very well, and of course got on the score sheet. It will take them time to settle into our system and style of play but they will get there and their teammates will help them on that journey."
"Our target today was 3 points and to get this along with 8 goals and a clean sheet was very pleasing and caps off an excellent first half of the season. It was also fantastic to have Lauren McMurchie back playing today and having her back is like another outstanding signing given her long absence through injury.”
[Match reports courtesy of Laura Montgomery and Kev Candy]