Kirsty McLaughlin’s four goals on her return to Ainslie Park helped Spartans secure a 9-2 victory against newly promoted Kilwinning in their second friendly of the 2013 season.
Goals came thick and fast in the blustery conditions in the North of Edinburgh with Diana Barry (2), Sarah Ewens (2), Louise Mason and Kirsty McLaughlin (4) all getting their names on the scoresheet with Steph Thompson and Mhairi Gilmour getting consolation strikes for the visiting team.
Spartans started brightly and within two minutes the home side had twice smashed the woodwork through strikes by Trisha McLaughlin and Diana Barry. Spartans, through Louise Mason, charged down the right-wing and, as she reached the bye-line, hit a cross to the far post for Trisha McLaughlin who flicked the ball with her right foot only to see it come back off the bar. Inside a minute the woodwork came to the rescue again for Kilwinning as Barry, who had pulled off the front line, collected possession midway through the visitors half on the right hand side and, after chesting the ball down, smashed a half volley that cracked off the base of the left hand post.
These two opportunities were warnings of what was to come and within eight minutes Spartans were ahead as Barry curled the ball home from the right side of the box. Katie Reilly collected the ball midway through the Kilwinning half and, after some intricate passing, the ball fell to the feet of Barry who took a step infield before curling a left foot shot into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later Spartans doubled their lead with Kirsty McLaughlin, who was making her second debut for the side, sending a fierce right foot shot into the roof of the net. Mason charged down the right-wing and squared the ball to Barry who as she shot the ball defected into the path of McLaughlin who fired home with a first time shot.
The onslaught on the visitor’s goal continued and it was 3-0 after only quarter of an hour with Kirsty McLaughlin getting her second goal of the game. Reilly and played the ball over the top to Barry who drove at the defence before flicking the ball into the path of McLaughlin to curl the ball home with the inside of her left foot.
Spartans continued to create chances and with only 30 minutes gone McLaughlin scored her hat trick as she slid the ball into the bottom corner after a succession of passing by the home side’s midfield. Louise Young picked the ball up on the half way line and played the ball out wide to Becky Galbraith, who, cut infield and fed Barry on the edge of the box. Barry controlled the ball and, as she darted past her marker, played the ball back to McLaughlin who placed the ball home.
With only seven minutes to go before half time Spartans got their fifth goal of the game as Mason fired a delightful lob over the stranded keeper. Reilly collected the ball inside the opposition’s half and played the ball through the defence into the path of Mason who, after looking up, chipped the ball over the advancing keeper and into the bottom of the net.
One minute later and Kilwinning did ease the pressure on their goal by grabbing a consolation strike as Steph Thompson fired the ball home after a mistake by Rachel Harrison. Claire Crosbie played the ball back to her keeper who, see the Kilwinning striker coming towards her, stepped inside however Thompson read the move and tackled the keeper before tapping the ball home into an empty net.
Ten minutes after half-time and Spartans continued to terrorise the visiting team’s goal with Barry getting her brace after some clever work by McLaughlin in midfield. Rebecca Zoltie, who had come on for the injured Reilly, picked the ball up inside her own half and fed fellow midfielder McLaughlin who, seeing the run of Barry, chipped the ball through to the Spartans Number 9 to slot the ball home from eight yards out.
With 70 minutes gone Spartans increased the score-line with substitute Sarah Ewens getting in on the act with a thunderous shot into the top corner. Elliss Jenkins, who had also come off the bench, flew down the left-wing before sending over a deep cross to Mason on the opposite wing. Mason, who looked to go on the outside, cut infield and fed Ewens who crashed a fierce right foot shot into the top corner.
Within five minutes McLaughlin got her fourth goal of the game to make the score 8-1 as she linked up with fellow former Hibs midfielder Zoltie before burying the ball into the back of the net. Zoltie picked the ball up and charged towards the area before flicking the ball through to the run of McLaughlin to slid the ball home past the diving keeper.
Spartans final goal of the game came with ten minutes to go as Ewens got her brace after again sending in a vicious unstoppable right foot shot into the top corner. Ewens latched onto the ball and, after out-pacing the defence, fired in a shot that just about took the net off as it smashed into the top corner.
Kilwinning did get a second goal of the game moments before the final whistle as Mhairi Gilmour picked the ball up on the left-wing and, after cutting in and taking on three players, sent a curling right foot shot into the back of the net.
Spartans Head Coach Mike Ross felt his team are having a good preseason so far: He said: “Our passing is getting better and better as the weeks go by. It was a solid performance and I felt our preseason is coming along well.”
Spartans: Rachel Harrison, Becky Galbraith, Steph Briggs, Claire Crosbie, Sarah Archibald, Louise Young, Katie Reilly, Kirsty McLaughlin, Trisha McLaughlin, Louise Mason, Diana Barry.
Substitutes: Ashley Nicolson, Louise Moultray, Elliss Jenkins, Sarah Ewens, Nichola Sturrock, Ann Taylor, Rebecca Zoltie, Lynsey Cowan
Kilwinning: Lauren McGregor, Kirsty McNicol, Caitlin Barr, Catherine Davidson, Louise Redmond, Chelsea Keane, Jenny Scollay, Shannon Morgan, Mhairi Gilmour, Clare Docherty, Steph Thompson.
Substitutes: Sarah McPike, Mhairi Hawksworth, Dionne Mair, Fiona Woods, Michelle Collins
Referee: Andrea Tumiotto
Written by Edmund Brown