Glasgow City remain at the summit of the SWPL table on goal difference after a commanding 3-0 victory over Rangers at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie today.
Rangers made a bright start with both Katey Turner and Chelsie Watson having opportunities for the light blues, but once Abbi Grant had fired home the opener for the Scottish champions, the result was never in question.
Further goals from Clare Shine and a penalty from Leanne Ross have ensured that City lead the pack heading into the summer break.
In a scrappy opening, Rangers had a chance to strike the first blow after five minutes when Turner was presented with a glorious chance inside the City box, but she fluffed her kick and the ball drifted harmlessly off target.
Watson was next to try her luck for the Gers. The defender’s well-struck free-kick from 20 yards stung the palms of City goalkeeper, Lee Alexander, who did well to push the ball to safety.
City struggled to find their passing game in the opening exchanges but gradually they began to make headway. Jo Love had an effort drift over the bar before the visitors were made to pay for not converting their earlier chances.
A swift City counter-attack was eventually finished by Grant whose right-foot shot across goal from the edge of the box nestled in the far corner and beyond the despairing dive of Rangers’ goalkeeper, Rachael Halbert.
City almost grabbed a fantastic second goal after 34 minutes. Denise O’Sullivan, who was excellent throughout, won possession in midfield before Grant embarked on a mazy run, skipping past challenge after challenge and setting up Susan Fairlie who appeared certain to score, however her attempt was blocked by a last ditch tackle.
Erin Cuthbert then rattled the crossbar with a rasping effort before City managed to double their advantage. A low-drilled corner by Ross was nonchalantly volleyed into the back of the net by recent recruit, Shine. It was a class finish from the Irish forward.
City had to wait ten minutes in the second period for the decisive third goal to arrive. O’Sullivan poked the ball through to Shine who was upended in the box by the Rangers goalkeeper and the referee rightly pointed to the spot. Ross duly converted the resulting spot-kick with aplomb: 3-0.
Immediately after the third goal, 15 year-old Brogan Hay was introduced from the bench for her top team debut. The talented youngster, who has been with City since the age of eleven, almost grabbed a dream goal within seconds. She met a pinpoint cross from Emma Black however her looping header back across goal grazed the top of the crossbar and drifted over.
City continued to dominate and Fairlie had two efforts which were comfortably saved. Another substitute, Kerry Montgomery, nearly added a fourth with seven minutes remaining however her powerful header smacked against the crossbar as the Glasgow side settled for a comfortable and deserved 3-0 win.
Commenting on the win, City Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black said, “As a group of players they have achieved what we asked of them at the break – to ensure we remained at the top of the table and to have retained the League Cup. They have done that and a massive congratulations to the staff and the players. We can now look forward to the short mid-season break before coming back ready for the second half of the season.”
Glasgow City: Alexander, Love (McMurchie 67), O’Sullivan, Shine (Hay 55), Docherty, McCulloch (Jones, 74), Black (Rafferty 76), Ross (c), Grant (Montgomery 79), Fairlie, Cuthbert
Subs Not Used: Cunningham, Lauder
Rangers: Halbert, Mullen, Sloey, Foley, Swanson (Baird 78), O’Neill, Gemmell, Clelland, Traynor (Fyfe 60), Watson, Turner
Subs Not Used: Elliot, Hughes, Docherty, Nicholson
Report by Graham Semple