SWPL | Spartans suffer narrow defeat at Ainslie Park

 Spartans welcomed Rangers to Ainslie Park hoping for a boost to their top six bid, knowing a tough afternoon in store against the defending champions. However, Debbi McCulloch’s side entered the game with plenty belief, two wins from two and picking up two clean sheets in the process.


Chances were few and far between in the opening in the first 15 minutes. Both sides battling for possession without creating anything clear-cut in front of goal. Ria McCafferty swung a deep free kick into the box but Rangers were able to clear at the second attempt.


The first real chance would fall to McCoy after she was played through on goal by Jenny Danielsson. The striker making her way past Harrison but tracked all the way by McMahon who produced an excellent block on the line. Rangers would produce another half chance at the half hour mark. Rangers whippersnapper, Kirsty McLean floated in a corner but Harrison gathered with ease.


Gibb showed her pace on the right hand wing, beating the Rangers defence and fired across the face of goal but no takers in a Spartans shirt. No more chances would see a fairly uneventful half come to an end.


The second half continued in the same fashion as the first. A battling performance from both sides creating a lively game and atmosphere, without much in the way of chances.


It would be the visitors however who would open the scoring in Pilton. Arnot crossing in from the left hand side, the ball fell to Hay at the back post who fired past Harrison in the Spartans goal.


Spartans had the better of the chances and possession after the goal. Almost an instant response from the hosts as Ria McCafferty broke past Sam Kerr, the latter fouling the Spartans midfielder. Marshall fired the resulting free kick towards goal, the effort took a deflection off the wall which allowed Fife to collect.


The Spartans midfielder involved again as she hit a volley towards the Rangers goal. The effort looked to have caught the backtracking Fife off guard but the Scotland international recovered well to collect. Reynolds hit a great first time cross into the box but Birse couldn’t direct her header towards goal. Spartans continued to pile on the pressure as Marshall’s corner found Robyn McCafferty at the back post. The defender done well to keep her header down but Fife once again collected.


The Rangers goalkeeper again called into action as Mason’s first time cross looks to cause trouble in the Rangers box, the ‘keeper again smothering the ball. No more in the way of chances and the visitors would take the three points back to Glasgow.