Spartans lose out in five-goal thriller against Celts

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 16.13.12Spartans lost out to Celtic in a gripping five-goal thriller at Ainslie Park in the penultimate game of the 2015 season.

The sides lined up together prior to kick-off showing combined support in Showing Racism The Red Card initiative that gather significant momentum across the grounds on Sunday.

The match got off to a frantic start with Louise Mason and Joanne Paton trading chances, the latter rattling off the face of Eartha Cumings’ crossbar.

Cumings, fresh from her Scotland U17s exploits in Kazakhstan earlier that week, had to look sharp as she raced from her line to dive at the feet of Ruesha Littlejohn. Moments later, an innocuous passage of play in midfield saw the ball land at the feet of Littlejohn who rounded Cumings before slotting the ball home.

Then, in the 25th minute, Celtic doubled their lead. A hoof up the park from the Hoops defence was finally played to Joanne Paton who raced in and found the net from close range.

Chasing the two goal deficit, Spartans rallied and in the 34th minute, pulled one back. Claire Crosbie’s header found Louise Mason who cut back inside from the flank before delivering a perfectly weighted ball to find Michelle Russell who powered her header home.

Within 60 seconds of the restart, the scoreline was all square. Mason once again the architect on the wing and her cross was half blocked before Russell played the ball back to Alana Marshall who thundered the ball through three Celtic players standing in her way to goal.

Mason almost turned poacher from provider moments later when her trickery opened up an opportunity however she could only look on as the ball hit the bar.

With the Referee taking a glance at her watch, Katie Reilly almost sent her side into the break a goal to the good as her cross-come-shot evaded a stranded Fay before it hit the post. The ball rebounded into the path of Crosbie but before she could pull the trigger, she was closed down by some desperate defending.

Half Time: Spartans 2-2 Celtic

A long flighted Marshall free-kick was inches away from Crosbie scoring early in the second half and as Spartans picked up the pace, a Russell header from a Mason cross went narrowly wide.

On the hour mark, a trademark no-nonsense intervention from Ronaigh Douglas denied Alex Middleton from pushing Celtic’s noses back in front.

Spartans looked to have cause for a strong penalty claim when Katie Reilly appeared to have been the victim of a two handed shove in the back inside the box however neither Referee or stand-side Assistant deemed it a worthy transgression for a spot kick.

With just 10 minutes left in a pulsating East v West encounter, it was the visitors who snatched what proved to be the winner.

Despite claims for offside in build up play, Joanne Paton collected the ball on the edge of the box before looking up and sending her looping shot over the outstretched Cumings.

FT: Spartans 2-3 Celtic

Meanwhile, on the Community Pitch, the Reserves – fresh from their promotion winning exploits, maintained their winning ways with a 5-1 win over Blackburn United.

All the Spartans goals were scored in the opening half, with Ash Fish grabbing a double and Nichola Sturrock, Sophie Cunningham and Lucy Brown finding the net.