SWPL Weekend Round-Up
(Celtic: Suzanne Grant; Glasgow City: Lisa Evans, Leanne Crichton, Jo Love)
(Falkirk: Emma Lyons; Hutchison: Nicola Russell)
(Hibernian: Claire Emslie (4), Kirsty Smith (3), Joelle Murray (3), Rebecca Zoltie (2), Siobhan Hunter (2), Ellen Pia (2), Lisa Robertson (2), Laura Kennedy (1); Kilmarnock: Sam McManus)
(Inverness: Natalie Bodium; Hamilton: Carolina Richardson)
Rangers 1 – 2 Aberdeen
Spartans 0 – 2 Forfar Farmington
(Nicky Grant, Caroline Heron)
Glasgow City opened up a three point gap at the top of the SWPL yesterday with a hard fought 3-1 win over Celtic at Lennoxtown.
The home side had the better start, leading to the first chance of the match as Gemma Fay hit a long ball over the entire City defence to Hayley Cunningham. However as Lee Alexander raced out of the City goal to thwart the danger, Cunningham tried an audacious effort from nearly 50 yards, but her effort went wide.
City recorded their own first effort 13 minutes in as Jane Ross laid the ball off to fellow striker Lisa Evens, but her left foot strike went over the bar. Soon after Emma Mitchell came the closest to opening the scoring when she unleashed a trade mark powerful left foot strike from the edge of the box which cannoned off the Celtic cross bar and away to safety.
City survived a scramble in their box as Alexander smothered the danger from a Celtic corner before City hit back with Lisa Evans having a good run and shot which went just past the post. It was a sign of things to come as less than 60 seconds later, Evans received the ball from full-back Nicky Docherty and drove at the Celtic defence before firing a great effort into the far corner out of Fay’s reach to put the away side 1-0 ahead. Jane Ross headed just over from a Mitchell cross as City ended the first half the stronger of the two teams.
Whatever the City staff said in the changing room at half-time certainly had an immediate effect as less than 10 seconds after the re-start Leanne Crichton fired home her second goal for her new club and the second goal of the day as she hit a fantastic effort from the edge of the box into the back of the net.
A determined Celtic fought back and got a goal through Suzanne Grant to reduce the deficit only four minutes later as she headed home a Hayley Cunningham free-kick.
Glasgow City then had a few more efforts to put the game out of the reach of their rivals with Gemma Fay pulling off a good save from Emma Mitchell in particular. However, Fay could do nothing to prevent former team mate Jo Love making it 3-1 after Rachel Corsie had headed a City corner back across the box and into her path to finish from less than 10 yards out.
With only four minutes to go, the game was stopped for over half an hour as Celtic and Scotland under 19 full back Fiona Brown received treatment after a blow to the chest. The game eventually resumed and City went on to see the match out.
Although delighted with the win, City Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black believes his side need to up their performances. He said, "It is great to get three points, but to be honest, this was one of the poorest performances we have ever had at Lennoxtown. I was disappointed last week with our performance against Hibs and today I feel the same. I cannot fault the team for a good win, but we know we are far better than our performances of late and we now look forward to our semi-final on Thursday and I hope we will turn the corner and start playing the way we can in that match. This group of players have never let me down in the past and they take great pride in their performances and I am sure they will respond in the typical City manner".
After the game Celtic manager Robert Docherty said: "It was a chilling end to the match seeing Fiona Brown stretchered from the pitch after a long delay waiting on the ambulance. Fiona had been having a terrific match, firstly at right-back and then on the wing where she was really testing City’s defence. We’re all delighted to hear that Fiona’s now fine after her scare".
Robert continued, "The players gave their all and should have taken something from the game. We lacked a little bit of luck and composure at times and on another day we could easily have scored four or five goals. We are a new and young team and the progress has been excellent in the short time we have been together".
"The result is obviously a setback as we felt we could win the game. However, the players will learn from this and come back stronger next time. We now look forward to our semi-final against Spartans in the League Cup on Wednesday".
Meanwhile, Forfar Farmington moved level on points with Spartans in the SWPL table with their 2-0 away victory over the Edinburgh side yesterday, notably Forfar’s first ever victory in the fixture.
Farmington started the match brightly and found themselves in the ascendency during the early stages. However Spartans were not totally nullified as a threat by any stretch of the imagination, with Claire Crosbie nodding over in the 11th minute to remind Farmington of her aerial prowess.
Caren Webster and Lucy Graham looked to make the first breakthrough for Forfar but the latter’s final shot was pulled wide of target. Julia Scott was starting to find some space wide, and from there stung the palms of Harrison with a well struck shot in the 26th minute. Scott then teed up Graham but the youngsters shot scampered just past the post.
Spartans responded to Forfar’s early chances through Sarah Ewings, but her low shot was well handled by Catherine Fitzsimmons. Molly McKean was next to try her luck, but her shot from distance sailed past Fitzsimmons near post.
Clear cut goal chances had been a rare commodity during the first period, and Ewings would have the last of these prior the half time break, but her shot from distance failed to prove any great danger to the visiting goal.
The second half got underway with play again flowing from end to end but with no real chances being created. However, this changed in the 52nd minute as Farmington took the lead. Skipper Nicola Davidson’s surging run down the left flank was the precursor for a perfectly flighted Rachael Small cross which was expertly guided past Harrison by the head of Nicky Grant. Farmington’s opener served as something of a wake-up call for the home side who were soon putting the Forfar backline under some serious pressure. Ewings fired a shot down the throat of Fitzsimmons in the 60th minute, but the American stopper was in no mood to surrender a potential shut out.
As the Spartans pressure continued to mount, Emma McCulley and Joanna Collier were introduced ahead of what would turn out to be a pivotal point in the match. With the clock ticking into the 70th minute Spartans substitute Diana Barry sprung the Farmington offside trap and went one on one with Fitzsimmons who produced a magnificent block from Barry’s shot. The loose ball was immediately fired towards goal but Forfar’s Kelly Clark produced a sublime diving header to clear the ball away from what looked a certain equaliser.
As the Spartans storm continued to be weathered, Forfar introduced Caroline Heron and within 30 seconds she found herself on the end of a lofted through ball and duly lobbed Spartans goalkeeper Harrison to secure Farmington's first ever victory over the Edinburgh side.
You can catch up with the latest standings in the SWPL table here.
Match reports courtesy of Laura Montgomery, Gillian Campbell and Kev Candy.