SWPL Weekend Round-up
Monday, 24 September 2012
SWPL Results, Sunday 23 September 2012:
Forfar Farmington 0 v 5 Glasgow City
(Crichton, Littlejohn, Dalziel, Mitchell, Docherty)
Hibernian 8 v 0 Aberdeen FCL
(Smith (2), Fairlie (2), Robertson, Murray, Zoltie, Weir)
Inverness City 2 v 6 Hutchison Vale
(Vale: Gavin (2), Smart (2), Malone, Donnachie)
Rangers 0 v 3 Hamilton Academical
(McCulloch, King, Gemmell)
Spartans FC 0 v 3 Celtic
(Harrison, Grant, Richards)
Glasgow City are now within touching distance of a fifth consecutive SWPL title following their 5-0 away victory over Forfar Farmington at Station Park yesterday.
City’s Littlejohn was first to threaten in the fifth minute but the efforts of Fay McDonald in the Forfar goal were enough to cause the visiting striker to fire wide.
The game meandered along with no real clear cut chances until the 21st minute when Danica Dalziel tried her luck with a long range shot but could only watch as the ball landed on top of the net.
Abbi Grant, making her return to the Farmington starting line-up, fed the ball to Lucy Graham in the 27th minute. The Farmington midfielder worked her way into the box and was in the process of pulling the trigger before Dalziel and Rachel Corsie looked sharp to snuff the danger out. Three minutes later City keeper Claire Johnstone did well outside her box to clear the ball away from the pursuing Julia Scott, but only as far as Nicky Grant who returned the ball from distance with interest – only to see it drift just wide of the post.
City looked to reassert themselves on the game and Emma Mitchell was first to step up the plate, hitting a sharp low drive on the turn that was well saved by Catherine Fitzsimmons.
City made the breakthrough a minute later when Leanne Crichton nodded home from a corner, but Fitzsimmons denied Corsie two minutes later with a brave block at the City skipper’s feet.
With two minutes to the half Farmington failed to clear their lines and saw Littlejohn clip the ball high into the net to give the visitors a 2-0 half time lead.
City came out of the blocks quickly in the second period, with Mitchell driving in to make a shot with only a minute on the clock. Five minutes later the same player pulled the best out of Fitzsimmons with a strong curled effort.
A minute later the Farmington keeper was beaten as Danica Dalziel stabbed the ball home to extend City’s lead.
Forfar looked to claw back the difference and a great ball from Alana Bruce was knocked down by Graham to Nicky Grant, who subsequently pulled her shot wide.
Fitzsimmons pulled off a point blank save to deny Docherty but was powerless to stop Mitchell powering City’s fourth into the net soon after. Docherty eventually got her goal in the 65th minute when an Emma Fernon cross was well converted by the City full back.
Substitutes Gemma Collier and Katey Turner were introduced by Farmington, with the latter creating some chances from the left flank. One chance saw the ball squared to McDonald but her shot drifted wide of the mark.
City would enjoy the bulk of the remaining play but Farmington continued to stick to their task despite the scoreline and will go into next weekend’s Scottish Cup tie against Rangers with a continued sense of purpose.
Commenting on his side’s win, City head coach Eddie Wolecki Black said, “Today was a good, strong performance by the team. There is no doubt many thoughts were already racing ahead to our Champions League match on Wednesday, which is the biggest match of our season so far, so I am delighted with how well the team performed. To score 5 goals and keep another clean sheet against a very strong Forfar side is very pleasing.”
City now take on Fortuna Hjjørring of Denmark in the last 32 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League on Wednesday at Petershill Park, Springburn, with a 7pm kick-off. Tickets can be purchased before the match from any Greaves Sports retail outlet, direct from Petershill Park, or you can also pay cash at the gate on the night. Entry is £5 for adults and £2 for children.
Elsewhere, Hibernian maintained second place in the table with a convincing 8-0 victory over visitors Aberdeen FCL, while Celtic kept up their pursuit of the Edinburgh team with a 3-0 victory over the capital’s other SWPL representatives, Spartans.
In the bottom half of the SWPL table, Hutchison Vale and Hamilton Academical moved onto 23 points with victories over Inverness City and Rangers respectively.
Accies victory over the Light Blues at Petershill Park yesterday saw them maintain their fantastic post-split form. Second half strikes from Cheryl McCulloch, Jennifer King and Clare Gemmell, who scored her first goal since joining the club in July, were enough for Accies to overcome their Glasgow hosts.
Accies lined up resplendent in their new alternative kit courtesy of Plumbase Scotland and the match began with both sides putting each other under some real pressure.
The first chance for Accies came after Jen King played a great diagonal ball for Cheryl McCulloch to latch onto, only for a fine Jill Paterson tackle to keep the score stayed level.
Khym Ramsay in the Rangers goal would prove to be the busier of the two keepers in the game and when Ramsay punched clear the ball fell to Sarah Crilly who crossed for Cheryl McCulloch, who then laid it back for Templeton who shot over.
Ramsay was called into action again for Rangers when Ainsley Douglas calmly strolled out from the Accies back line with the ball, slipped evaded three tackles and played a slide-rule pass for Sarah Crilly. The Accies number nine rounded the oncoming Ramsay but her angles were correct and she forced Crilly well wide with her shot was blocked by Jill Paterson once again.
Pressure was building from Accies but Rangers were always dangerous. Cheryl Gallagher collected the ball wide on the right and moved past Kirstin McGuire. Her cross was intercepted by Terri Donnelly, whose clearing header initiated a counter-attack through Karen McInally. However Stephanie Knox of Rangers put pressure on McInally and got the ball to Jennifer Condie who shot powerfully at the Accies goal from 20 yards. Elaine Fleming got a touch on it for the corner and this in turn was skelped clear by Toni Mason.
Accies captain Jennifer King was combining well with Sarah Crilly and she released Crilly who danced round the Rangers full-back and delivered a dangerous cutback that fell to the feet of Templeton, whose shot was blocked. Cheryl McCulloch then latched onto the ball from just two yards and looked destined to score however Gers keeper Ramsay again made a fantastic stop to keep the score level.
McCulloch thought she had opened the scoring for Accies minutes later when a well- worked move saw Clare Gemmell release her one-on-one with Ramsay and her fine finish ended in the roof of the net. However the referee took an age to notice the early linesman’s flag and the goal was chalked off. McCulloch would continue her personal duel with Khym Ramsay in another one on one situation in the 43rd minute but Ramsay darted off her line extremely quickly to block then gather.
At the other end of the pitch, Elaine Fleming was plucking crosses out of the air for fun as the majority of Rangers direct shots were from a distance. Jennifer Condie hit a few set pieces directly on goal, with a couple forcing Fleming to dart across her goal but in the end none were on target.
Rangers started the second half by piling on the pressure however Accies didn’t look like buckling with King, Donnelly, Douglas and McGuire ensuring Fleming wasn’t busy. When the shots did come in from Gallagher and Hughes, Fleming’s handling was very assured and she collected everything first time, inspiring confidence in those around her.
The second half saw Accies step up their own performance a few notches and Clare Gemmell combined consistently with Toni Mason to direct the ball all over the pitch, drawing Crilly and Templeton into one-on-ones with their respective opponents.
Gemmell, Mason and McInally were all involved in the build-up for Accies impressive first goal in which Jen King slid the ball through for Cheryl McCulloch, who came out top in latest duel with Ramsay as she finished beautifully in the far corner.
Rangers responded by sending a free-kick deep into the Accies box where after some last ditch tackling Toni Mason launched it clear. Mason then went up the pitch and got a shot on target from Clare Gemmell’s pass which was dummied by Crilly. As Ramsey distributed the ball, her full-back took her eye off the ball and allowed Crilly to steal in and rattle another shot on target but again Ramsey dived to her left and conceded the corner, but it could have been worse.
By now, Carolina Richardson and Amy Bulloch were on the pitch for Accies with Richardson’s high intensity play causing some problems for Rangers right back. Bulloch, her first touch ever deft and dangerous was a fantastic outlet for Accies forward passing, constantly flicking the ball round the side of the fullbacks and allowing Crilly especially to bear down on goal.
Accies were beginning to dominate possession for the first time in the game and from Fleming’s throw out each of the back four touched the ball before Jen King picked it up and drove a powerful pass to Crilly who stepped in then out with the ball and went for the by-line. King kept up her momentum and drove into the box where her just reward was a fabulous first time finish after Crilly’s cross was palmed out by Ramsay, making it 2-0 to Accies.
Accies manager Kevin Murphy rung the changes again with Gillian Inglis and Cara McBrearty brought on for King and McGuire respectively. Rangers upped their intensity to test the new-look back four but both full-backs slotted in with ease and Donnelly dealt well with everything thrown her way, allowing Ainsley Douglas to demonstrate her fabulous range of passing whenever Terri competed and won the ball.
Douglas had the entire crowd on their feet when she stepped up to take a free kick won by Toni Mason. Fully 35 yards out she rattled the ball with venom and it struck Ramsay's crossbar before going over; a great piece of technique denied by the width of the bar.
Desperate to protect their clean sheet, Accies midfielders Mason, Gemmell and Bulloch put Rangers under severe pressure and as the match approached injury time Clare Gemmell latched onto a forward pass and was forced a little wide on the left. This didn’t faze her, as she re-adjusted her body and rattled in her first goal for Accies on the volley.
Shortly after, the final whistle blew and Accies maintained their 100% record in the second half of the season.
Manager Kevin Murphy was delighted with the performance in the second half especially.
Kevin said, “I was really pleased with the girls reaction to what was, by our recent standards anyway, a sub-standard first half. In the second, we had periods where we controlled parts of the game really well and we hit the bar twice and had 2 chalked off so that itself shows we were always a threat. We had three different scorers which is obviously pleasing and the 3 points set us in a good stead when we play in the cup next week where we will plan for a great performance but in the cup it’s the result that counts and we want to progress to the semi-finals.”
For the latest SWPL table, see our SWPL results and fixtures page here
[Match reports courtesy of Kev Candy, Laura Montgomery and Vincent Bryson]