Spartans crashed out of the Henson Projects Scottish Cup
losing 5-2 in extra time away to Celtic at Barrowfield.
After taking the lead through a Sarah Ewens strike,
Celtic’s Rhonda Jones equalised minutes before the half time break and, with
neither team able to add to their tally in the second 45 minutes, the game went
into extra-time. Within a minute of the game recommencing Celtic took the lead
with Megan Sneddon firing home from the edge of the area. Minutes later Celtic
were 3-1 up with Suzanne Grant scoring from 15 yards out. Spartans did however
come out fighting after the interval and Trisha McLaughlin flicked the ball home
from inside the six yard box however straight from kick-off Celtic regained
their two goal advantage with Hayley Sinclair crashing the ball home from just
inside the area. With time almost up Sinclair got her second and Celtic’s fifth,
lobbing the ball over Rachel Harrison to seal the victory and passage into the
In the early stages of this cup-tie both teams had chances
to take the lead, first with Suzann Grant flashing a shot wide of the left hand
post before Alana Marshall fired a thunderous shot that flew past the post.
And it was the away side that took the lead with 15 minutes
on the clock with Sarah Ewens placing the ball home after being put through
one-on-one with Celtic’s Keeper Gemma Fay. Trish McLaughlin picked the ball up
from Diana Barry and, after looking up, played a defence splitting pass through
to Ewens who, with only the keeper to beat, placed the ball into the far corner
of the net.
Straight from kick-off Celtic charged forward and Lauren
MacMillan had a powerful drive from 25 yards tipped over the ball by Rachel
Harrison. Megan Sneddon collected the ball midway through the Spartans half and
fed the ball wide to the right-back who sent a first-time drive towards goal
only to see the outstretch hand of Harrison prevent Celtic from equalising.
Spartans were starting to create more clear-cut chances and
could have extended their lead just before the half hour mark with Captain
Louise Young failing to connect with a header right in front of goal. Spartans
won a corner from a poor Rhonda Jones clearance which was taken by Alana
Marshall. The Spartans midfielder drove the ball across the face of the Celtic
goal had Young made any connection Fay would unlikley have been able to prevent
a second Spartans goal.
Minutes later and it was McLaughlin’s turn to come close to
increasing the lead but for a last-gasp challenge by Chloe Craig. Louise Mason
collected the ball on the right of midfield and played a quick one-two with
Ewens before firing in a fierce low cross from the bye-line to the on-rushing
McLaughlin however Craig managed to poke her toe at the ball to divert it away
from the striker.
With 35 minutes gone Celtic created their best opportunity
in the game with Abigail Harrison winning a tussle with Olivia Lukasewich to
charge into the box however her shot hit the side netting from an acute angle.
With five minutes to go before half time Celtic got their
equaliser with Jones firing the ball home at the back post. Grant picked the
ball up and managed to get past the Spartans defence only to see her shot saved
by the head of Harrison and go out for a corner. The ball was swung in and,
after bouncing a couple of times, reached Jones at the far post who, after
chesting the ball down, fired into the roof of the net.
Spartans continued to again press for that second goal with
Mason’s shot from a goalmouth scramble finally collected by Fay in the Celtic
goal. McLaughlin won her side a corner which was swung in by Marshall to the
head of Claire Crosbie. The Spartans Centre-half could only flick it back to
Barry who sent over a cross to Young who slipped it to Mason but her shot was
charged down by the Celtic defence before Fay managed to collect.
With minutes to go in the second half Spartans had their
best chance to win the game however McLaughlin fired over from five yards out.
Lukasewich drove forward down the right wing and cut inside before playing a
delicate pass through to Ewens whose fierce shot was parried by Fay to the feet
of McLaughlin. However, with the goal gaping, the ball bounced high and the
striker ended up chipping the ball over the bar.
With the game all square and heading for extra-time
Spartans had to rely on goalkeeper Harrison to keep them in the game with a
double save. Grant drove into the box from the right and fired in a shot that
Harrison parried away. The ball fell to the feet of Sneddon who side-footed the
ball towards the empty net only to see Harrison scramble across her goal to tip
the ball over the bar for a corner.
Two minutes into extra-time Celtic took the lead with
Sneddon firing the ball home from the edge of the area. Hayley Cunningham flew
down the left wing and fed the ball to Sneddon who, with her first touch,
crashed the ball into the bottom corner.
Moments later Celtic grabbed their third with Grant sending
a thunderous shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Abigail
Harrison fed the ball through to the Celtic forward who, after getting away from
the Spartans defence, fired the ball home past the diving Spartans keeper.
Just prior to the break Spartans Keeper Harrison pulled off
another great save to prevent her namesake from increasing the score. Abigail
Harrison latched onto a Grant pass and after taking a touch, fired the ball in
only to see the Spartans Number 1 prevent her with a fine save.
With the score 3-1 going into the extra-time interval,
Spartans came out fighting and within minutes of the restart reduced the deficit
with McLaughlin firing into an empty net. Jones played the ball back to Fay who
was caught unaware which allowed McLaughlin to nip in and poke the ball home
into an unguarded net.
However, straight from the restart Celtic regained their
two goal advantage with substitute Hayley Sinclair firing the ball into the
bottom corner. Celtic won a free-kick on the edge of the area which was swung in
and cleared by Crosbie. However the ball fell to the loitering Sinclair who,
with her second touch, fired the ball through a ruckus of players into the
With seconds to go in this Scottish Cup tie Celtic got
their fifth goal with Sinclair lobbing Harrison from 25 yards out. Sinclair
collected the ball from Jones and as she turned saw the keeper off her line and
chipped the ball over Harrison and into the back of the net and into the next
round of the cup.
Spartans Head Coach Debbi McCulloch was obviously
disappointed to not progress into the next round but proud of her team’s
performance. She said: “The result is very disappointing and the final score
doesn’t reflect the overall performance from the girls. I am really delighted
with the application of the team and every single player competed for the ball
throughout the 120 minutes. Our passing was fantastic and we scored two