Podcast, reports and reaction from Sunday's SWPL action
This week we have tried something a little different with how we have reported on Sunday’s SWPL games. Give the podcast a listen to hear reports and reactions from all five games we had covered. Includes interviews with no less than 10 SWPL managers.
Chelsea Cornet (centre) scored the only goal of the game as Rangers beat Hibernian. Image by Lorraine Hill
Head coach Malky Thomson praised Rangers’ patience as a Chelsea Cornet goal gave them a 1-0 win over Hibernian, then admitted they had been “surprised” by the hosts’ game plan.
Cornet scored with 15 minutes to go against her old side to make it three wins from three for Rangers.
“It’s a great win, a fantastic win,” said Thomson.
“We understood it was going to take a bit of time to get the goal. Once we got the goal the girls relaxed and we started passing the ball about and made Hibs come out a bit, as we hadn’t planned for them to sit in as much as they did and hit us on the counter, so that was a bit of a surprise.”
Elsewhere, Glasgow City remain top of the table after a 3-0 win over Motherwell. Celtic beat Spartans 1-0, while Forfar Farmington were 3-0 winners over Hearts.
In SWPL 2, Aberdeen went two points clear at the top of the table after a 1-0 win over Glasgow Women.
Queen’s Park moved up to third due to a 3-1 win over Dundee United, while a late winner gave Partick Thistle a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock.
Hamilton cling on to second place despite being held to a 2-2 draw by St Johnstone, while Boroughmuir Thistle earned their first points of the season with a 2-0 win away to Stirling University.
Hibernian 0-1 Rangers
By Andrew Southwick at Ainslie Park
After wins over Hearts and Spartans, this was Rangers’ first real test of their title credentials.
The game came alive after 20 minutes when Daina Bourma hit the deck inside the box after Leah Eddie’s challenge, but the referee waved away the penalty claims and booked the French defender for diving.
BBC ALBA @bbcalbaPeanas?! Penalty or dive?! HIB 0-0 RAN https://t.co/cHiOUyu3pJ
After that it was Hibs who had the best chance of the half when Charlotte Potts headed off the crossbar, and only a fine goal-saving tackle by Kirsten Reilly denied Siobhan Hunter on the rebound.
It was becoming apparent that one goal was going to win it. Zoe Ness fired over for Rangers while, at the other end, Eilidh Adams shot straight at the goalkeeper when perhaps a through ball to Shannon Leishman was the better option.
The game needed a moment of quality, and it arrived when Rangers’ Brogan Hay scampered down the right and sent a teasing ball in for Lizzie Arnot. Her effort was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Sophie Allison, but Cornet reacted quickest to nudge the ball over the line.
Hibs could have hit back instantly when Rachael Boyle’s low shot was saved, and in the last moments of the game the ball fell to Adams in the box but the ball bounced off her thigh and Rangers got it to safety.
Celtic 1-0 Spartans
By Gordon McColm at K Park
Celtic saw off a spirited Spartans side 1-0 in East Kilbride to move above Hibernian into third in the SWPL.
The home side created plenty of opportunities, but few of real quality as they were frustrated by organised and resolute defending, and a series of important saves by Rachel Harrison in the Spartans goal.
Celtic took the lead at the start of the second half, forcing an error in the Spartans defence; Sarah Ewens pressuring Bobbie Beveridge and deflecting her clearance back into the net. The home side couldn’t add to their lead though and withstood late pressure to claim all three points.
The first half had been dominated by Celtic. Summer Green driving her team forward as she tried to open up Spartans’ low block. Shots from range failed to thoroughly test Harrison and it was in the wide areas that the home side found the most success.
Tegan Bowie flashed a shot wide from the left before Harrison got her fingertips to a cross and diverted it away from Lisa Robertson, denying her the simplest of tap-ins.
Spartans also suffered a blow just after the half-hour mark when captain Alana Marshall was forced off with an injury.
The goal was a cruel one for the away side, who had weathered the storm in the first half and showed they could threaten on the counter. However, they almost went two behind in as many minutes when Ewens found space in the box, but her shot clipped the bar on its way over.
Celtic maintained control over the game but the danger of the counter-attack nearly worked for Spartans. Becky Galbraith broke the offside trap and outpaced her marker but couldn’t slide her shot under goalkeeper Chloe Logan.
Spartans pushed hard in the final 10 minutes trying to get an equaliser but couldn’t do enough to claim a point.
It’s another narrow defeat for the Edinburgh side but that will have been scant consolation for Spartans boss Debbi McCulloch.
Celtic manager Fran Alonso: “I’m happy with the three points and the clean sheet against a team that is very tough to beat.
“I think after the 90 minutes we are the deserved winners although, they are a very tough team and made things very difficult for us”
Spartans manager Debbi McCulloch: “I’m not sick of it [losing three games narrowly], I’m proud of my players. That’s two teams we’ve played that are classified as professional and training a lot more than us and we went toe to toe with them.
“Over the last three games things have remarkably improved, probably not as quick as I would like, but certainly I’m seeing the improvements. I think we gave Celtic a right good game today.”
Glasgow Women 0-1 Aberdeen
By Andrew Southwick at New Tinto Park
Aberdeen’s young side had to get over big-game nerves to beat Glasgow Women 1-0 and make it four wins from four, says co-manager Emma Hunter.
Bayley Hutchison’s second-half goal was all that separated the sides at New Tinto Park, though Glasgow Women missed a late penalty that would have secured a share of the spoils.
Aberdeen are now two points clear at the top of SWPL 2 with a game in hand over second-place Hamilton.
“It maybe would have been different had we taken our early chances a wee bit better, maybe that would have taken a bit of the pressure off of us,” said Hunter. “They’re a young squad, and as time goes on in the game and you haven’t scored I think they started to feel a bit of pressure.
“When we scored I thought maybe we were going to get a bit more of the ball, keep it and more chances would come, but credit to Glasgow Women they just kept coming at us.”
Aberdeen had scored 18 goals in their opening three games and were on the front foot early against Craig Joyce’s side. Jenna Penman and Hutchison both went close in the first half, while Eva Thomson was denied when one-on-one with goalkeeper Chloe Gibney.
The breakthrough came though when Hutchison took a cross first time and looped a beautiful finish into the net.
After that it was the home side who took control of the game; bombarding the Aberdeen box with a series of dangerous crosses.
Summer signing Taylor Hamill twice went close with dipping shots, but their best opportunity arrived from the penalty spot in the 85th minute.
However, Cara Henderson put her effort over the bar as the Dons held on for all three points.
Queen’s Park 3-1 Dundee United
By Kenny Boag at Lesser Hampden
Matt Kirk’s Queens Park moved up to third in SWPL 2 after they blew away Dundee Utd in a stunning second half display at Lesser Hampden.
Robyn Smith’s goal saw Gavin Beith’s side lead 1-0 at the interval.
But in a superb second half from the Spiders, Louisa Boyes fired home an equalizer before Chloe Docherty added a second with a 25-yard piledriver right into the top corner.
The points were sealed when Samantha McManus took advantage of some tired defending to add the third with five minutes to go.
The visitors had the best of the opening exchanges in an evenly matched first half. United’s Smith blasted over and a fine double save from Tangerine goalkeeper Caroline Nachman kept out the home side.
Queens should have taken the lead when Mhari Fyfe rounded the ‘keeper only to be denied by a fine last-ditch tackle from Rebecca Foote to keep the sides at 0-0.
Smith atoned for her earlier miss by smashing home the game's opening goal when a free-kick from Tammy Harkin was parried by Katie Andrews. It fell to Neve Guthrie who calmly rolled the ball to her strike partner to make it 1-0.
The second half started with the Spiders on the front foot and they got their reward when United’s Jade McLaren was short with a headed back pass. The ball fell to Boyd who made no mistake.
A quite masterful midfield display saw the versatile Docherty give the home side the lead when she sent a 25-yard stunner right into the top corner.
Five minutes later a mix up in United defence in what should have been a routine free kick booted up the park ended up in calamity with the ball falling to McManus who smashed home to leave Queens Park with three wins from five.
Kilmarnock 1-2 Partick Thistle
By Robbie Hanratty at Rugby Park
A deflected Jade Gallon goal just minutes from the end was enough to seal Brian Graham’s Partick Thistle a 2-1 win against an injury ridden Kilmarnock side at Rugby Park.
The audacious deflected strike no more than what Partick deserved as they moved up to 5th in SWPL 2.
Partick assistant Richard Foster was sent to the stand by the referee while manager Graham was also booked.
Kilmarnock fell to seventh in the table after previously winning their last two games.
Thistle forced over 10 corners in a dominant first half, with Clare Docherty impressive, but both sides were level at the break.
The opening goal of the game came against the run of play. A Killie corner was delivered sweetly by Abby Robinson and after a slight scramble in the box, the ball landed to Amy Burrows whose initial shot was blocked, but she was quick to react with the rebound to put the Ayrshire outfit into the lead.
However, their lead only lasted 10 minutes. Thistle’s Sophie Gallacher’s effort on goal was saved by McGregor, but the ball fell to a trialist to bring the game level.
There was to be late drama though when Gallon shot from outside the box which hit a Killie defender and beat the ‘keeper at her near post.
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