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SWPL: Spartans victorious in Edinburgh Derby

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[media-credit name=”Carson Ralton” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Having taken a 1-0 lead into half time through a Claire Crosbie header, Spartans increased their advantage through a Sarah Ewens strike minutes after half time before a Diana Barry penalty sealed the victory for the north Edinburgh side. However Hutchie did put the Spartans defence under increasing pressure towards the end of the game and managed to get a consolation goal through a Michelle Russell strike.

Spartans started the brighter and pressed the Hutchie defence straight from kick-off with Diana Barry stealing the ball from the Hutchie midfield and, after getting past the central defence, fired in a shot from the edge of the area straight into the arms of keeper Caitlin MacMillan.

Hutchie failed to heed this warning shot and with 20 minutes on the clock Spartans took the lead as Claire Crosbie sent a header into the roof of the net from a Lana Clelland corner. Sarah Ewens charged down the right wing and won a corner for her side which Clelland took, sending an out-swinging cross to the penalty spot and finding the run of Crosbie who sent an unstoppable header into the roof of the net.

Spartans, who were starting to gain the upper-hand, came close to increasing the lead within minutes of the opener however Barry’s turn and shot flew inches over the bar. Clelland picked the ball up on the halfway line and drove at the Hutchie defence before swinging in a cross which was met by Crosbie who flicked it into the path of Barry. However Barry, on the turn, sent a left foot shot over the bar without troubling the keeper.

Hutchie were trying to push for an equaliser and ten minutes before half time Michelle Russell latched onto a long throw-in and, after escaping the grasps of the defence, sent a powerful drive towards the top corner only to see keeper Rachel Harrison tip it around the post.

Two minutes later Russell again tested the Spartans keeper, who again was equal to the task, as she turned the ball round the post. Russell collected the ball from a Stephanie Briggs through-ball and instantly hit a curling shot bound for the top corner. However Harrison, at full stretch, tipped the shot around the post for a corner.

Spartans did, however, increase their lead seven minutes after half time with the best move of the game resulting in Ewens rounding keeper MacMillan. Fitzpatrick intercepted an Anna Donald pass and, after side-stepping one challenge, played the ball up to Barry who, with her first touch, flicked the ball into the path of Ewens who sped clear of the Hutchie defence before rounding MacMillan to fire into an empty net.

Within ten minutes Spartans were further ahead after being awarded a penalty which Barry dispatched into the bottom right hand corner. Clelland charged down the left wing and as she reached the edge of the box she fed the ball to Barry who evaded one challenge before the ball fell to Crosbie. However as Crosbie aimed to shoot her standing foot was taken from her by defender Jennifer Malone giving the referee no option but to award a penalty. Up stepped Barry to fire the ball into the bottom right hand corner giving her side a 3-0 lead.

With a three goal advantage Spartans took their foot off the pedal and this allowed Hutchie to gain some momentum and with 75 minutes on the clock Russell got her side a consolation goal heading the ball into an empty net from seven yards out. Laura Gavin picked the ball up from a throw-in on the edge of the area and, after getting past full-back Bobbie Beveridge, fired in a cross to the unmarked Russell who sent her header into the roof of the net.

Minutes later Hutchie again tested the Spartans goal with Tracy Donnachie sending a left foot volley just over the bar. Laura Dunn fired a free-kick into the 18 yard box which Victoria Farquhar rose to clear, however her header only reached the edge of the box to the waiting Donnachie who sent a fierce volley over the bar without troubling keeper Harrison.

However Harrison was called into action ten minutes from time pulling off a point blank save from a Gavin shot. Russell picked the ball up on the left hand side and after skipping to the bye line she sent over a cross to Gavin, who crashed in a bulleted right foot shot only to see Harrison pull off a fantastic block, sending the ball clear of the danger zone.

Spartans Head Coach, Debbi McCulloch, was delighted with the win and felt her team put in a battling performance. She said: “I felt we played some good football at times although our game isn’t as consistent as I would like at the moment. However, the team battled through and I was pleased with the chances we created. Rachel Harrison pulled off some fantastic saves towards the end and that really kept us in it. Overall though, I am happy with the win.”

Hutchison Vale’s coach Ian McDonald was himself pleased with the way his team performed but realised he had come up against a stronger side. He said: “Of course I am disappointed to lose the game but I felt we played well. I have felt in the last two games we have played some good stuff and we could have scored a few more today had it not been for Spartans Keeper.”

Hutchison Vale: Caitlin MacMillan, Kate Sheppard, Laura Dunn, Jennifer Malone, Anna Donald, Nicole Clark, Stephanie Briggs, Laura Gavin, Jamie Torrance, Tracy Donnachie, Michelle Russell,
Subs: Katherine Smart, Natasha McMahon, Lynsey Bulger, Nicola Russell.

Spartans: Rachel Harrison, Claire Crosbie, Louise Magilton (Ashley Nicolson, 90 mins), Chloe Fitzpatrick, Diana Barry (Ann Taylor, 85 mins), Bobbie Beveridge (Molly McKean, 70 mins), Lana Clelland, Nichola Sturrock (Louise Young, 37 mins), Louise Moultray, Sarah Ewens (Louise Mason, 90 mins), Victoria Farquhar.

Unused Subs: Heli Hakkinen, Trisha McLaughlin

Written by Edmund Brown

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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