In the last
game before the mid-season break in the Scottish Women’s Premier League,
Spartans drew 2-2 with Rangers to secure top six football for the second half of
dominated the game from start to finish and after taking a 2-0 lead into half
time through strikes by Claire Crosbie and Sarah Ewens the homeside continued to
press the Rangers defence for more and more goals. However, as the North
Edinburgh side were pressing for more goals, Rangers broke clear and scored two
goals in two minutes with Suzanne MacTaggart grabbing a brace and stealing a
point from Ainslie Park.
minutes of kick-off Spartans created their first opportunity in the game with
Trish McLaughlin racing clear of the defence only to see her chip go wide of the
mark. Danni Pagliarulo picked the ball up midway through the Rangers half and
played a delightful ball over the top for the pacey McLaughlin to latch onto
only to see her chip over the advancing keeper go wide of the mark.
continued in this frame and moments later the home side took the lead with
stand-in Captain Claire Crosbie floating her shot high into the net from just
outside the box. Pagliarulo put in a fierce tackle and the ball broke to new
signing Alana Marshall who was playing against her former team. The winger
proceeded to dance her way past three challenges before laying the ball to
Crosbie on the edge of the area. The Spartans midfielder steadied herself before
firing a chipped shot into the roof of the net.
on the Rangers goal was increasing as time went by and within five minutes Sarah
Ewens got her first sight of goal as she bustled her way through two challenges
before firing a shot wide of the mark. Bobbie Beveridge collected the ball down
the right wing and played the ball infield to Lana Clelland who flicked the ball
over one defender before playing in Ewens. Using her strength the Spartans
forward escaped the grasps of the defence before firing a right foot drive wide
of the post.
again came close to increasing their lead a minute later with McLaughlin again
out-pacing the defence only to see her shot fly past the right hand post.
Pagliarulo, who was running the midfield with Crosbie, floated a ball over the
top of the Rangers central defence for the speedy McLaughlin who shot a fierce
drive wide of the post.
the half hour mark goalscorer Crosbie tried her luck again and tried to lob the
keeper from just inside the Rangers half however the keeper managed to scramble
back and collect on the line. The ball broke to the midfielder and, after seeing
the keeper off her line, tried an audacious lob from around the half-way line
however Kelsey Brown managed to peddle back and collect the ball.
piling the pressure onto the Rangers goal and again were unlucky not to increase
their advantage as Ewens crashed the ball over the bar from eight yards out.
Pagliarulo played the ball out wide to Marshall who, after beating the fullback,
sent over a diagonal ball to the far post for Ewens, who at full stretch, to
volley the ball over the bar.
minutes however Spartans finally doubled their lead with Ewens chipping the ball
home from just inside the box. Victoria Farquhar brought the ball out of defence
and sent a long ball over the top of the defence into the path of Ewens who,
with the defender charging down on her, chipped the ball into the corner of the
net past the on-rushing keeper.
half continued in the same frame as the first period with Spartans continuing to
press for more goals. However five minutes after the break Rangers broke clear
and reduced the deficit with a Suzanne MacTaggart strike from the left hand side
of the box. Megan Faley stole the ball from the feet of McLaughlin and drove at
the Spartans defence before playing the ball to MacTaggart who buried a low left
foot drive into the corner of the net.
minutes and the game was all square as MacTaggart headed the ball from eight
yards out. Faley collected the ball inside the Spartans half and after skipping
past the midfield was apparently fouled by Moultray. Lesley Condie floated in
the free kick to the unmarked MacTaggart who sent a bulleted header into the
corner of the net.
On the hour
mark Spartans were appealing to the referee that the ball had crossed the line
as Crosbie connected with a Marshall corner and head towards goal. Ewens cross
from the right was deflected wide for a corner by Amie McGill. Marshall swung an
in-swinging cross to the far post for Crosbie to leap above everyone and head
towards the corner of the net. However Brown got her body in the way to block on
the line and with the Spartans claiming the ball had crept in, the referee waved
Keeper Brown was again the saviour for her team as she pulled off a point-blank
save from Farquhar after the ball had rebounded off the post. Marshall swung a
corner in from the right again to the far post where Crosbie, similar to the
last opportunity, connected to send a header crashing off the upright with the
ball bouncing into the path of Farquhar who, from eight yards out, sent a
thunderous shot towards goal only to see Brown pull off a wonder save to parry
the ball away.
minutes gone Ewens was unlucky not to give her side the lead as she saw her shot
cleared off the line by Rangers Captain Condie. Pagliarulo took a quick
free-kick that caught out the Rangers defence and played the ball through to
Ewens whose shot flew past Brown in the Rangers goal only to be cleared off the
line by her Captain.
before the final whistle Ewens was again clear through on goal but Brown pulled
off another fantastic save to deny the striker. Ewens latched onto a long ball
through and as she skipped past the defence and with only the keeper to beat she
fired a right foot shot towards the net only to see the diving Brown palm the
ball away and seal the draw for her team.
Coach Debbi McCulloch felt her team played extremely well and were extremely
unlucky not to have won the game. She said: "We created so many chances and it’s
hard to know how we didn’t win. Their keeper pulled off some tremendous saves.
But we are in the top six playing against the best teams in the league so it
will be a challenge but one we are all looking forward to."