A dreich Ainslie Park could not darken the delight of Spartans Reserves Manager Lynsey Cowan who saw her side defeat Hutchinson Vale 7-1 in the last league game before the summer break, writes Kyle Patterson
Making their final appearances for the Reserves were goalkeeper Charlotte Ferguson and striker Anne Smollet due to graduation and job relocation respectively.
With only two minutes on the clock, Spartans took the lead. Captain Nichola Sturrock intercepted a stray pass from the Vale centre back to thread the ball into the path of Ashley Fish who found the net with a low drive past the keeper.
Spartans kept the pressure on throughout the opening spell of the match and were rewarded with a second goal after Sturrock neatly lobbed the keeper after her initial corner kick was cleared in a goalmouth melee.
The visitors capitalised on a defensive lapse to pull a goal back shortly after. Keeper Ferguson’s clearance attempt smashed off defender Ciara Donaldson before ricocheting into the path of a welcoming Vale striker who pounced on the opportunity to score into an empty net.
Fish, Sturrock and Sophie Cunningham all came close with efforts before the interval, but at the break, Spartans went in 2-1 ahead.
HT: Spartans Reserves 2-1 Hutchinson Vale Development
Spartans restored their two goal advantage moments after the restart with Ashley Fish scoring her second of the afternoon. A cross from Sophie Cunningham caused disruption in the box before Laura McRitchie’s shot was deflected up in the air to enable Fish to leap like a salmon to head home.
The early goal settled Spartans down and in the 56th minute, Sturrock got her second of the game with a perfectly executed strike after Fish carved an opening before laying it off to the Captain who fired it into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
A triple-whammy of goals in the final 10 minutes saw Spartans secure a vital three points and finish the first half of the season in second place.
Ashley Fish got her hat-trick, her seventh goal in two games, powering a shot from inside the box beyond the outstretched hand of the Vale keeper.
It was the joy of six for Smollet shortly as the striker signed off in style with a trademark goal, latching on to a pass by Sturrock before finding the net with a low drive.
Substitutes Chelsea Neil and Lucy Brown teamed up to put the icing on the cake after the former fired a cross low into the six yard box and Brown was on hand to tap it into an empty net.
FT: Spartans 7-1 Hutchinson Vale Development