Jack Barnes reports as Spartans cup run comes to an end. After a valiant first half performance in which they kept the score level, Spartans’ cup journey came to an end in Stirling as Glasgow City ran out 3-0 winners.
The warning sides were present inside the first minute, as Colvill couldn’t get a proper contact on a cross and her effort was wide of the post, a let off for Spartans.
In the 8th minute City again came close to opening the scoring as Davidson was unmarked in the box, but denied by a save from Rachel Harrison, who had an excellent game despite letting in three goals. City had been dominant in the opening stages but had been sloppy in the final third and thus far failed to convert their dominance into goals.
Spartans started to grow into the game – it was already a much better start than the league outing earlier this season which saw City take the lead after a matter of minutes. In the 19th minute a chance came Spartans’ way, as the ball fell to Reynolds after Gibb harried Walsh and nicked the ball of her. Reynolds got on the end of the resulting cross but it was a comfortable save for Alexander in the end.
Spartans continued to venture into the Glasgow half, winning a succession of corners and failing to convert, before another chance fell to Reynolds, which was surely the chance of the game for the Edinburgh side. The ball bounced her way from a set-piece but she didn’t get the kind of contact she would have liked and the chance went begging.
The Edinburgh side continued to go toe-to-toe with City as Gibb, Reynolds and McQuillan harried the City backline and looked to get in behind. Gibb almost got past City keeper Alexander who looked to have taken her out before getting the ball, but the referee bizarrely waved the play on.
From then on the chances started to dry up for Spartans. City again missed from point blank range as Colvill scuffed a shot from the six yard box after the ball fell to her from a scramble in the box. Even as the pressure piled on, Spartans crowded the box well – brilliant defending from McMahon denied Chinchilla time and time again.
Glasgow City certainly had the bulk of the chances on half-time, but Spartans will be immensely proud of the energy they showed on the break, containing and matching a team full of internationals. The first-half performance is a blueprint for how to play any of the three professional sides in Scottish women’s football.
In the opening minutes of the second half City again had the lion’s share of the possession, but failed to get a shot off until Colvill’s shot was blocked five minutes in. Spartans have defended in numbers well throughout the game, limiting City’s opportunities to pot-shots from distance.
In the 53rd minute an incredible diving save from Harrison kept the scores level – Farelly’s header from a free-kick looked destined to end up in the back of the net. The atmosphere was getting heated as Spartans struggled to get a foothold in the second half. City’s travelling support were in fine voice, cheering their team on as they nearly took the lead in the 56th minute as Clark hit the post, another chance missed.
A few minutes later Chinchilla, whose dazzling skill lit up the second half, made it 1-0, driving past Mason and slotting the ball into the back of the next. City doubled their lead less than a minute later, as Lauder slid in to convert Molin’s cross.
Chinchilla could have had another as she cut inside on her right-foot, this time her effort was straight into the palms of Harrison. At this point City seemed to have an extra spring in their step, having capitalised on Spartans lapse in concentration. Chinchilla was denied again after the next City attack, Mason’s last ditch tackle preventing what would have been a certain goal.
Chinchilla continued to be a livewire as two Spartans defenders struggled to contain her at times. Glasgow City were not resting on their laurels – they wanted a third goal.
Spartans refused to let their heads drop but couldn’t maintain the energy they showed in the opening stages for 90 minutes. After Mason was sent off for two yellow card challenges, Chinchilla got her second goal – watch this one if you get a chance folks – as she acrobatically converted Dodd’s cross on the right flank.
Spartans players should be chuffed with their excellent first-half performance, but they were deservedly beaten by a ruthless City side in what was a dominant second-half display, as the side from Edinburgh struggled to maintain their first-half energy-levels. Glasgow City will play Celtic Women in the final.