Spartans returned to winning ways in the Scottish Women’s
Premier League with a 5-0 victory away to Aberdeen.
With all goals coming in the second half with Diana Barry
(2), Sarah Ewens and Lana Clelland (2) all getting on the scoresheet, Spartans
securing the three points against sixth placed Aberdeen.
It was the home side who started the brighter and inside two
minutes Cheryl Anderson fired in a fierce left-foot shot from the edge of the
area which, as it dipped towards the roof of the net required a strong tip-over
by Spartans Keeper Rachel Harrison.
This was the scare the away side needed and after ten minutes
created their first real opportunity with Trisha McLaughlin sending a header
wide of the mark. Diana Barry picked the ball up on the halfway line and sprayed
the ball out to the left for Alana Marshall. After flicking the ball past the
right-back, the Spartans winger sent over a vicious cross to the far post to
McLaughlin but her header flew wide of the right hand post.
Minutes later Spartans again tested the Aberdeen defence with
Louise Mason breaking clear however Lauren Sangster rushed from her goal to
block the striker’s shot as she entered the box.
Spartans were pressing the Aberdeen defence and 22 minutes in
Mason won a free-kick 35 yards out which was taken by Claire Crosbie whose
fierce shot was tipped around the post by Sangster. Marshall swung the resultant
corner to the far post where Crosbie, unmarked, sent in a header which was
collected by the Aberdeen Number 1.
With both teams all square at the break Spartans made a
substitution bringing Sarah Ewens on for Mason and it was the substitute who
pounced on the ball within the first two minutes to win her side a corner.
Marshall swung the ball in from the right towards the far post for Katie Reilly
whose bulleted header flew inches over the bar.
Three minutes later and Spartans finally broke the deadlock
with Barry sending an unstoppable left foot drive from 24 yards out into the
bottom left hand corner of the net. After collecting the ball just inside the
Aberdeen half the striker played two quick one-two’s with Reilly and as the ball
was laid back to her, she sent a fierce drive into the corner of the net past
the stranded Sangster.
Straight from kick-off Spartans
doubled their lead with Ewens getting her 50th
goal for the away side, drilling the ball home from the edge of the area. Reilly
picked the ball up in midfield and fed the striker who had drifted into a wide
right position. Ewens, after speeding past the Aberdeen defence, crashed in a
right foot shot that flashed into the bottom corner of the net.
Minutes later Ewens came close to increasing the advantage
after Lana Clelland played the ball over the Aberdeen defence to the feet of
Ewens who, after seeing Sangster off her line, tried to chip the keeper only for
the outstretched hands of the Aberdeen Number 1 grab with the net lurking.
Ewens was causing the defence problems and with just over an
hour played came close once again as she flicked the ball past the post from
three yards out. Clelland fired a cross field pass to Marshall on the right wing
who fed the overlapping fullback Bobbie Beveridge. After racing clear of the
defence, the Spartans fullback fired in a low cross to the near post to Ewens
but the strikers flick curled around the post.
With 70 minutes played Spartans finally got their rewards for
their pressure with Barry heading the ball home from 4 yards out. Spartans won a
corner on the left wing which was sent in by Clelland to the back post. The ball
was cleared straight back to Clelland who fired the ball back in for Barry to
head the ball into the back of the net.
Clelland was finding more and more space with the Aberdeen
defence struggling to pick the winger up and with 78 minutes played the winger
had two chances in the space of three minutes, first hitting the post after
driving into the box before latching onto a poor Sangster clearance only to see
her chip from near the halfway line bounce wide of the post.
Spartans did increase their lead on
the 82nd minute with
Clelland converting a penalty after Sarah Archibald was fouled inside the box.
Archibald drove towards goal and as she aimed to shoot Loren Campbell took her
feet away from her leaving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Up
stepped Clelland to smash the ball home past the outstretched hand of Sangster.
With injury time looming Clelland wrapped the game up firing
a curling left-foot drive into the top corner. After picking the ball up on the
right wing, Clelland cut infield and, after drifting past two challenges, fired
a curling left-foot shot into the top corner.
Spartans Head Coach Debbi McCulloch was not only pleased to
get five goals but also to see her team pass the ball like she knows they can.
She said: “This was the best performance in a while and over the 90 minutes we
controlled the game. When we got the ball we moved it very quickly with the
fullbacks advancing extremely well. We were unlucky not to go into the break a
couple of goals up with the chances we created. The first goal settled us and
then getting the second so closely afterwards gave us even more confidence. We
kept a clean sheet and scored five really good goals so I am really pleased
heading into the last three games of the season.”