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Spartans open second half of season unbeaten

Match Report by Edmund Brown




Spartans continued their successful unbeaten form in the second half of the season with a 3-0 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Women’s Premier League at Ainslie Park.

The home side took a 1-0 lead into half time through a Diana Barry free kick before doubling their advantage on the hour mark with a Sarah Ewens strike. And it was the striker who sealed the victory in injury time by rounding the keeper to take all three points for the home side.

Spartans started the brighter and within three minutes Alana Marshall, who was drifting all across the midfield, drilled a 30 yard shot that flew wide of the right hand post. Diana Barry picked the ball up just short of the Aberdeen box and after jinking one way then the other, laid the ball back to Marshall who’s first time shot went wide of the mark.

Moments later and again Spartans came close to opening the scoring with Marshall again seeing her shot fly over the bar. Trisha McLaughlin charged down the right wing and cut the ball across the box to Louise Mason who, with three opponents surrounding her path to goal, laid the ball back to the dominant Marshall who side-footed a shot over the bar from 20 yards out.

Spartans were creating the better of the chances and with 15 minutes gone Sarah Ewens escaped the grasps of the Aberdeen defence and as she entered the box she sent a placed shot towards goal only to see Lauren Sangster collect at her near post. Mason, playing on the left of the front three, collected the ball just outside the Aberdeen area and, after seeing the run of Ewens, played a low through ball to the Spartans top goalscorer but her shot was easily saved by the Aberdeen Number 1.

Ten minutes before half-time Spartans finally got their rewards for their constant pressure with Barry curling in a free-kick from just outside the 18 yard box to open the scoring. Mason, who was through on goal, flicked the ball over the outstretched foot of Susan Murray only to be caught by the Aberdeen defender. Up stepped Barry to curl the ball round the wall and into the top corner past the helpless Sangster.

Just before the break and Spartans again came close to increasing their lead with Mason latching onto a Barry pass only to see her shot fly inches wide of the goal. Barry played the ball through to McLaughlin who was causing the Aberdeen defence problems with her pace. The Spartans winger, after getting past her marker, played the ball back to Barry who, with her first touch, played in Mason but her right foot shot sailed wide of the goal.

Aberdeen came out fighting in the second half and created their first real opportunity minutes after the restart with Cheryl Anderson firing wide after a goalmouth scramble. Aberdeen’s Claire Martin picked the ball up just outside the area and fired in two vicious shots which centre-half Victoria Farquhar managed to block with her legs. After the second block the ball fell to Anderson but her shot flew inches wide of the post without troubling the Spartans goal.

Moments later and Spartans again came close to doubling their lead with Ewens shooting over the bar from the edge of the area. Olivia Lukasewich brought the ball out of defence and played a delicate ball up the right wing to McLaughlin who, after getting past her marker, fired a ball over the top of the defence into the path of Ewens. The Spartans striker tussled with the defence before smashing in a shot from distance only to see it sail over the bar.

With almost an hour on the clock Spartans finally got their just rewards with Ewens making it 2-0 with a fantastic shot from the angle of the box. Ewens picked the ball up and charged towards goal before cutting in onto her right foot and smashing and unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Minutes later Spartans had to rely on goalkeeper Rachel Harrison to prevent the away side from reducing the deficit with a fantastic save at her near post from a Aimee Ross shot. Ross skipped clear of the Spartans defence down the left wing and, as she entered the box, powered in a fierce drive to the near post only to see Harrison get her body in the way to deflect the ball for a corner.

Spartans were creating more and more opportunities with Ewens causing the Aberdeen defence several problems with her strength and speed. After getting her first goal of the game the striker was looking to add to her tally and as she collected the ball midway through the Aberdeen half she turned and fired a thunderous drive that smashed off the underside of the bar before bouncing clear of danger.

With ten minutes of play to go Ewens was thwarted by Sangster as the striker tried to round the Aberdeen keeper. Barry collected the ball midway through the Aberdeen half and clipped the ball over the defence into the path of Ewens who, after taking a touch, tried to round the Aberdeen Number 1. However the goalkeeper read the striker’s movement and pounced on the ball to prevent the score from increasing.

However as injury time approached Ewens did finally get her second, and her team’s third, as she tried, and succeeded, the same move by rounding the keeper and tap the ball home. Barry again picked the ball up just in front of the Aberdeen defence and fed the ball through to her strike partner. Ewens sped round the keeper and passed the ball home into an empty net sealing the three points for her side.

Spartans Head Coach Debbi McCulloch was extremely pleased to take the three points and continue their impressive run in the second half of the season. She said: “Today we passed the ball really well and am really pleased to score three goals and keep a clean sheet. We created lots of chances and on another day could have scored a lot more. To score three goals and to create several clear-cut chances was fantastic and hopefully we can continue this form as we play Celtic in the cup.






Spartans: Rachel Harrison, Alana Marshall, Claire Crosbie, Louise Mason, Louise Magilton, Diana Barry, Trisha McLaughlin, Olivia Lukasewich, Louise Young, Sarah Ewens, Victoria Farquhar

Subs: Ashley Nicolson, Sarah Archibald, Nichola Sturrock, Louise Moultray, Katie Reilly, Becky Galbraith

Aberdeen: Lauren Sangster, Loren Campbell, Melissa Aitkenhead, Cheryl Anderson, Susan Murray, Victoria McIntosh, Natasha Bruce, Claire Martin, Aimee Ross, Nikki Wright Rebecca Dempster

Subs: Cara Simpson


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