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SWPL League Cup Round-up: Celtic, Spartans, Glasgow City and Forfar all through

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Hamilton 1-2 Forfar

Hamilton welcomed Forfar to Carluke for this quarter final tie in this season’s League Cup. This was Hamilton’s first home match of the season after their previous match against Kilmarnock was called off.

Manager Kevin Murphy said after the match: “Obviously we are all hugely disappointed by not winning today. I felt today the players put in a terrific performance in the first half and fully deserved our half time lead. Credit to Forfar who came in the second half with a point to prove and when the equalised quickly they were then in the ascendancy. I felt the players gave their all and perhaps on another day we could have won the match.”

Hamilton started this game in a much more positive frame of mind than last week’s match against Hibs and took the game to Forfar.

On 20 minutes the first really good move of the match resulted in Hamilton taking the lead, a great run and cross from Gill Inglis forced the Forfar keeper into a fine save as she finger tipped the ball onto the bar. The visitors struggled to clear the resulting ball and it eventually was worked back into the box to the feet of Ashley McDonald who was brought down with a last ditch tackle, the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

Susan Fairlie took the kick and sent the keeper the wrong way to give Hamilton a well deserved lead that the kept to the end of the first half.

Forfar came out for the second half with a determination to get back into the game, and within 8 minutes they were level. Hamilton conceded a needless free kick on the left side off the penalty box. A well struck shot saw the ball curled into the top corner over Megan Cunningham in the Hamilton goal.

The game became more open as both sides tried to find a winner, Hamilton best chance came when Inglis and Kirstin McGuire played a one two on the edge of the box. Unfortunately McGuire saw her curling shot turned round the post by Forfar’s new American goalie.

With only 10 minutes remaining Forfar snatched the goal that proved to be the winner, a corner was only half cleared and fell to Rachel Small on the right wing her well delivered cross was nodded home by ex Hamilton player Nicky Grant.

Hamilton must now pick themselves up for next week’s visit of Rangers.

Manager Kevin Murphy commented: “We look forward to next week’s game against Rangers and hope the players can repeat the performance we saw today.”

Written by James Crilly

Spartans WFC 2-1 Inverness

Spartans WFC reached the last four of the Scottish Premier League Cup after beating Inverness 2-1 at Ainslie Park.

After last weekend’s game against the same opposition ended all square, this cup-tie was going to go down to the wire. With Inverness taking the lead through a Karen Mason goal, Spartans had to come from behind to book their place in the semi-finals with a brace by Sarah Ewens.

Inverness started the brighter and within four minutes went close to taking the lead through a Zoe Johnston strike however her shot hit the side netting. Natalie Bodiam skipped down the right wing and as she reached the bye-line she fired over a cross to the far post which Johnstone to hit first time but she could only hit the side netting.

Moments later Spartans had their own opportunity to take the lead as Sarah Ewens collected the ball out wide right and proceeded to turn two defenders before charging into the box. However her cut back to strike partner Diana Barry was intercepted just as the Number 9 was about to shoot.

Inverness were constantly dangerous on the break and with 11 minutes gone Megan McCarthy sent a powerful header inches over the bar. Natalie Bodiam won a free-kick on the right hand side of the box which was taken by Johnstone who floated it onto the head of McCarthy, however the centre half’s header went sailing over the bar without troubling keeper Harrison.

Two minutes later Inverness took the lead with Captain Karen Mason firing into the corner of the net. Finella Annand started the move down the right hand side and sent over a cross to the edge of the box which Johnstone flicked into the path of Mason who, unmarked just inside the box, fired a right foot shot past keeper Harrison.

However the Inverness lead was to only last seven minutes as Ewens fired the equaliser into the bottom right hand corner. Lana Clelland flew down the left wing, sending the ball over to the far post into the path of Nichola Sturrock. Sturrock met the ball on the volley laying the ball straight into the path of Ewens who, after controlling and getting past the defender, fired into the corner of the net past keeper Kim Jappy.

Moments later this move was replicated as again Clelland got past her market and sent over a cross to Sturrock who also played the ball into the path of Ewens but her shot this time went straight into the arms of Jappy.

With half time looming Inverness were awarded a penalty as Bodiam charged into the box from a break-away and, as she cut inside, Victoria Farquhar stuck out a leg and brought the forward crashing down giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Like the week before, Mason stepped up to take the kick but this time she saw her powerful drive expertly saved by Harrison who guessed correctly and tipped the ball around the post.

Spartans were fired up for the second half and within two minutes of the restart midfielder Claire Crosbie sent a sizzling right foot half volley over the bar. Clelland, who had been fouled on the right wing took the awarded freekick and swung the ball into the box which Chloe Fitzpatrick flicked into the path of Crosbie who, with a quick look up, sent a half volley towards goal only to see it sail over the bar.

Moments later Spartans again came close with Barry creating space for the shot by flicking the ball over one defender before firing in a powerful left foot shot towards goal. However central defender McCarthy managed to get back in time to put a leg out and deflect it for a corner. Clelland’s out-swinging kick was connected with by Louise Moultray but her powerful downward header was deflected past the post.

Both teams were determined to get that place in the final four of the competition and Inverness came close to getting that all important second goal with Lorraine Cadden sending over a far post cross for striker Bodiam. However Farquhar nipped in ahead of the striker to take the ball off the feet of the Inverness Number 11 just as she was about to pull the trigger.

With only 15 minutes left in the game Inverness again proved dangerous on the attack and could have taken a free shot on goal but for a last-gasp challenge by Spartans fullback Louise Magilton. Johnstone flew down the left wing and fired over a cross towards the run of Bodiam however Magilton seemed to appear from nowhere to flick the ball away from the feet of the striker.

Within five minutes Spartans finally got that decisive goal with Ewens getting her second of the game, rounding the keeper to send her side into the semi-finals of the competition. Barry picked the ball up midway through the Inverness half and played a defence splitting pass into the path of Ewens who, with a turn of the hips, rounded keeper Jappy and fired into an empty net.

Spartans Head Coach Debbi McCulloch was delighted to get through to the semi-finals and felt her team deserved the victory. She said: “I think over the 90 minutes we played out of our skins and I felt we should have scored a few more if I am honest. After going a goal down we could have let our heads drop but we fought back and Rachel Harrison’s fantastic penalty save just before half time was just like a goal. It was also pleasing to see Sarah Ewens get another couple of goals and her improvement in the last season has been amazing. So overall I am really pleased to be through to the semi-finals of the cup.”

Report by Edmund Brown

Glasgow City 7-0 Aberdeen

Glasgow City booked their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup after a comfortable 7-0 win over Aberdeen at Toryglen.

With 39 attempts on goal against the visitors one, this match was a very one-sided affair which saw City dominate for 90 minutes and perhaps should have won by a greater margin.

City took the lead thanks to Jane Ross after the City striker was set up for an easy finish when Leanne Ross squared the ball across the six yard box.

Moving from provider to scorer, Leanne Ross fired home an excellent second for City on 21 minutes, firing low into the bottom corner of the net from outside the box. Soon after, Jane Ross made it 3-0 for the home side getting on to a good ball from Eilish McSorley before placing it past the keeper as she came off her line to thwart the danger.

Ten minutes after the restart, Leanne Ross made it 4-0 from the penalty spot after Jane Ross was pushed as she attempted to head home a Lisa Evans cross.

Leanne Ross then got her hat-trick when a deflected effort evaded Aberdeen keeper Lauren Sangster.

With less than fifteen minutes remaining Jane Ross got her incredible fifth consecutive hat-trick of the new season when she headed home after Sangster was only able to parry a powerful Julie Melrose shot up into the air.

Ciara Barnes completed the scoring with a composed finish in front of goal to the delight of Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black. He said: “I am really happy to be in the semi-finals. I thought we controlled the match today and created a lot of chances. We were intelligent in our play and that was most pleasing.”

Report by Laura Montgomery

Rangers 1-3 Celtic

Celtic are through to the Semi Finals of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup after beating their rivals 3-1. Both teams started brightly, Rangers with pressure which seemed to be lacking from their last Old Firm game.

With both teams matching each other’s ability the game started fairly equal. However, it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken, Five minutes into the game, Condie brought down Suzanne Grant in the penalty area and Celtic’s Chloe Craig stepped up and sent Khym Ramsey the wrong way.

Rangers countered almost immediately with, Callaghan hitting the bar and Swanson’s rebound shot blocked. Callaghan, Clark and Marshall continued pressing the Celtic defence but nothing substantial came from their efforts. The closing 15 minutes of the first half were dominated by Rangers. Rangers Captain Lesley Condie was hindered by a face injury 36 minutes into the game as she came off worse from a challenge for the ball, resulting in a possible broken nose.

Despite the continued pressure from Rangers, it was Celtic who hit the net again with Suzanne Grant doubling their lead just before half time.

As the game restarted, Rangers continued to fight back Callaghan with another shot, from 25 yards out, just over the goal.

Not long after, Celtic’s Emily Thomson slotted home their third and final of the game from 12 yards out.

Rangers proceeded to make a series of changes, taking Alana Marshall, Megan Foley and Lucy Clark off and replacing them with Cheryl Gallagher, Jade Lindsay and Jen Condie. These changes proved to give Rangers a boost and they pulled a goal back soon after.

Jennifer Condie tepped up to take a free kick, and despatched the set piece superbly past Gemma Fay in the Celtic goal.

However, her goal was mere consolation for Rangers as rivals Celtic progressed to the semi finals of the competition.

Report by Mary Anne Orr

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