Falkirk Ladies Reserves travelled north for the sixth time this season to face Monifieth LFC in the first game back after the summer break in 2nd Division East. The match saw top of the league take on the bottom side and Falkirk showed very quickly why they were in first place.
Falkirk’s 1-3-5-2 attacking formation proved too strong for the home side right from the start as they exploited the speed of their wingers Nicole McPhee and Diane Harkins, along with forwards Kerrie Graham and Rachel Donaldson. The Reserves were one up after seven minutes thanks to a perfect through ball from Kelly Fullerton onto the feet of Donaldson who calmly slotted it past the Monifieth goalkeeper.
The second goal came almost immediately after this as the defender tried to clear a ball but instead sliced it back over her goalkeeper and Donaldson reacted quickest to make it 2-0.
With Falkirk pressuring every Monifieth ball, the home side were forced to concede a corner and a pin-point accurate ball from Falkirk captain Shirley Martin was powerfully headed home by winger Harkins to make it 3-0.
The fourth goal followed quickly as again attacking play saw Martin head the ball down in the box to striker Kerrie Graham who then lifted the ball over the home goalies head.
Monifieth managed to compose themselves after the goal rush and began to stop Falkirk’s through ball for a while but it was only a matter of time before the score was 5-0 after Martin’s cross was misjudged by the goalkeeper and it bounced over her head into the goal.
On the back foot Monifieth could not stop another two goals going in before half time thanks to Fullerton putting away a back heel from Graham and Harkins hitting her second of the game with a tap in at the back post.
Falkirk made a change at half-time as left back Aimee Stubberfield came off with a tight calf and was replaced by Rebecca Cheape. Throughout the second-half Falkirk made three more changes as Lauren Mitchell, Jillian Leiper & Rebecca Robertson got game time with Diane Harkins, Aimee Thomson and Kaylleigh McCann making way for them.
Goals came thick and fast in the second-half as Falkirk improved their quality of passing, working excellent one-twos and playing the ball to feet in front of goals. Fullerton quickly got her second of the game and the team’s eighth as she got on the end of a through ball from midfielder Martin. Nicole McPhee then headed home an excellent cross from substitute Mitchell followed by another header, this time from Graham making it 10-0.
Monifieth did not let their heads go down and battled hard with their goalkeeper making many excellent saves. But Falkirk were just too strong for the home team and before the match was over Graham hit home two more taking her day’s tally to four. McPhee also got her hat trick and Mitchell also scored two goals, with Gillian Downie also finding the back of the net in the second-half.
Falkirk ended very comfortable 17-0 winners against a team that showed a great spirit. Monifieth’s goalkeeper Charlotte Parker-Smith pulled off some great saves and the captain Claire Thoms made the Reserves work hard for every goal.
With East Fife also picking up three points yesterday, the 2nd Division East League table is very tight at the top but Falkirk Reserves stay first with 21 points, two ahead of East Fife.
Next Sunday 12 August could well decide the league champions, or at least point towards them, as Falkirk Reserves travel to Leven to play East Fife in a top of the table clash.
Meanwhile, the first round of games after the summer break in 2nd Division North saw the top two sides meet in the shape of Moray and Dee Vale.
The initial few minutes were scrappy with both sides trying to find their feet but it was the away side who struck first with Fielding winning the ball on the wing, neatly turning and crossing in for Clarkson, who laid the ball off for Duncan to score for Dee Vale.
Moray looked to equalise but were restricted to long-range efforts which did not trouble the keeper.
Dee Vale then doubled their advantage after Clarkson laid the ball on this time for Gaffney to get on the score sheet as she slipped the ball past the keeper.
Moray’s Slessor was causing a few problems for Dee Vale but the defence and keeper remained solid, holding a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Dee Vale were under some pressure at the start of the second-half with Moray enjoying possession but unable to create a clear cut chance. Dee Vale got their third goal of the afternoon when Gaffney placed a corner onto Sherriffs head and she glanced the ball in.
Dee Vale continued to dominate the chances despite possession being fairly even. Fielding should have made it four but was thwarted by the bar. She did make up for her glaring miss by joining with Davidson in a neat one two and Davidson beat the keeper to the ball to slide it into the net.
Following this victory Dee Vale now trail Moray by only one point in the hunt for the 2nd Division North league title with Aberdeen Reserves a further point behind and Stonehaven on 19 points.
(Match reports courtesy of Alison Mackie and Dee Vale LFC)