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Spartans Spray Friendly Fire

By Edmund Brown

Kirsty McLaughlin’s four goals on her return to Ainslie Park helped Spartans secure a 9-2 victory against newly promoted Kilwinning in their second friendly of the 2013 season.

Goals came thick and fast in the blustery conditions in the North of Edinburgh with Diana Barry (2), Sarah Ewens (2), Louise Mason and Kirsty McLaughlin (4) all getting their names on the scoresheet with Steph Thompson and Mhairi Gilmour getting consolation strikes for the visiting team.

Spartans started brightly and within two minutes the home side had twice smashed the woodwork through strikes by Trisha McLaughlin and Diana Barry. Spartans, through Louise Mason, charged down the right wing and, as she reached the bye-line, hit a cross to the far post for Trisha McLaughlin who flicked the ball with her right foot only to see it come back off the bar. Inside a minute the woodwork came to the rescue again for Kilwinning as Barry, who had pulled off the front line, collected possession midway through the visitors half on the right hand side and, after chesting the ball down, smashed a half volley that cracked off the base of the left hand post.

These two opportunities were warnings of what was to come and within eight minutes Spartans were ahead as Barry curled the ball home from the right side of the box. Katie Reilly collected the ball midway through the Kilwinning half and, after some intricate passing, the ball fell to the feet of Barry who took a step infield before curling a left foot shot into the bottom corner.
 
 
Photo by Carson Ralton
 
Five minutes later Spartans doubled their lead with Kirsty McLaughlin, who was making her second debut for the side, sending a fierce right foot shot into the roof of the net. Mason charged down the right wing and squared the ball to Barry who as she shot the ball defected into the path of McLaughlin who fired home with a first time shot.

The onslaught on the visitor’s goal continued and it was 3-0 after only quarter of an hour with Kirsty McLaughlin getting her second goal of the game. Reilly and played the ball over the top to Barry who drove at the defence before flicking the ball into the path of McLaughlin to curl the ball home with the inside of her left foot.

Spartans continued to create chances and with only 30 minutes gone McLaughlin scored her hat trick as she slid the ball into the bottom corner after a succession of passing by the home side’s midfield. Louise Young picked the ball up on the half way line and played the ball out wide to Becky Galbraith, who, cut infield and fed Barry on the edge of the box. Barry controlled the ball and, as she darted past her marker, played the ball back to McLaughlin who placed the ball home.

With only seven minutes to go before half time Spartans got their fifth goal of the game as Mason fired a delightful lob over the stranded keeper.   Reilly collected the ball inside the opposition’s half and played the ball through the defence into the path of Mason who, after looking up, chipped the ball over the advancing keeper and into the bottom of the net.

One minute later and Kilwinning did ease the pressure on their goal by grabbing a consolation strike as Steph Thompson fired the ball home after a mistake by Rachel Harrison. Claire Crosbie played the ball back to her keeper who, see the Kilwinning striker coming towards her, stepped inside however Thompson read the move and tackled the keeper before tapping the ball home into an empty net.

Ten minutes after half-time and Spartans continued to terrorise the visiting team’s goal with Barry getting her brace after some clever work by McLaughlin in midfield. Rebecca Zoltie, who had come on for the injured Reilly, picked the ball up inside her own half and fed fellow midfielder McLaughlin who, seeing the run of Barry, chipped the ball through to the Spartans Number 9 to slot the ball home from eight yards out.

With 70 minutes gone Spartans increased the score-line with substitute Sarah Ewens getting in on the act with a thunderous shot into the top corner. Elliss Jenkins, who had also come off the bench, flew down the left wing before sending over a deep cross to Mason on the opposite wing. Mason, who looked to go on the outside, cut infield and fed Ewens who crashed a fierce right foot shot into the top corner.

Within five minutes McLaughlin got her fourth goal of the game to make the score 8-1 as she linked up with fellow former Hibs midfielder Zoltie before burying the ball into the back of the net. Zoltie picked the ball up and charged towards the area before flicking the ball through to the run of McLaughlin to slid the ball home past the diving keeper.

Spartans final goal of the game came with ten minutes to go as Ewens got her brace after again sending in a vicious unstoppable right foot shot into the top corner. Ewens latched onto the ball and, after out-pacing the defence, fired in a shot that just about took the net off as it smashed into the top corner.

Kilwinning did get a second goal of the game moments before the final whistle as Mhairi Gilmour picked the ball up on the left wing and, after cutting in and taking on three players, sent a curling right foot shot into the back of the net.

Spartans Head Coach Mike Ross felt his team are having a good preseason so far: He said: “Our passing is getting better and better as the weeks go by. It was a solid performance and I felt our preseason is coming along well.”

Spartans: Rachel Harrison, Becky Galbraith, Steph Briggs, Claire Crosbie, Sarah Archibald, Louise Young, Katie Reilly, Kirsty McLaughlin, Trisha McLaughlin, Louise Mason, Diana Barry.

Substitutes: Ashley Nicolson, Louise Moultray, Elliss Jenkins, Sarah Ewens, Nichola Sturrock, Ann Taylor, Rebecca Zoltie, Lynsey Cowan

Kilwinning: Lauren McGregor, Kirsty McNicol, Caitlin Barr, Catherine Davidson, Louise Redmond, Chelsea Keane, Jenny Scollay, Shannon Morgan, Mhairi Gilmour, Clare Docherty, Steph Thompson.

Substitutes: Sarah McPike, Mhairi Hawksworth, Dionne Mair, Fiona Woods, Michelle Collins

Referee: Andrea Tumiotto
 
 
Hamilton Accies U17s v Hibs U17s
 
By Vincent Bryson: 
 
A windy day in Carluke usually means the ball stays in the air for a lot of the time but Accies Under 17s and Hibs under 17s served up a fantastic 2-2 preseason draw.  Jodie Brannan and Laura Gallen scored for Accies.

Playing 3x30 minutes Accies went on the offensive from the start, with Kim Black, Alana McBrearty, Jodie Brannan and Kathleen Toolan heavily involved in a fantastic flowing move to set Hannah O’Keane galloping down on goal but her shot was smothered by the impressive Hibs keeper.  It was important for Accies to get off to a strong start, and the young team had shown just that against their impressive opponents from Edinburgh.

Hibs have always had an extremely strong youth setup however, and showed their class with a quick tempo buildup which required, Lamont, McLeod and Black to remain strong in the tackle.  Marisa Storie, partnering Kim Black at the heart of the Accies defence was imperious beyond her young years for the entire game, never losing a header and so strong in the tackle.  On her occasional forays forward, young Storie remained calm under pressure and consistently looked for Whitson on the left and Toolan on the right, allowing Accies to retain possession for long periods.

Accies second break forward was the result of a fine interception and pass from Nadene Traynor who quickly countered by finding Jodie Brannan and the skipper again set O’Keane away but Hibs keeper just beat her to it, showing impressive speed and bravery off her line.  Accies were using Brannan’s guile and the impressive speed of Gemma Whitson to penetrate behind the Hibs defence.  Whitson’s lightning speed was causing the full back real problems and Whitson bore down on goal on a couple of occasions from wide on the right but again Hibs keeper was impressively off her line to deny Gemma a debut Accies goal.  

Accies opened the scoring through Skipper Brannan’s tidy finish after Hannah O’Keanes wonderful through ball, although less than a minute later Hibs were level, showing just how evenly matched the teams would be throughout the game.  Brannans goal aside, the moment of the first period came from Megan Cunninghams magnificent double save on her own line when it looked certain Hibs would score.  The young stopper showed why she has been a youth international for many years with her impressive reaction stops to 2 fine Hibs efforts.

The break after 30 mins would see another Accies debutant in Kayleigh McHugh who along with Laura Gallen and the Cafu-esque Megan Ramsay would only enhance the performance further.  Hibs made their own changes and will look very strong in the East of Scotland U17 youth league this season.

Ramsay took over at fullback from Traynor and was fantastic in her desire to get on the ball and build, constantly looking to link with McLeod, Mchugh, Gallen and Whitson.  Gallen settled in comfortably to the central role as Brannan moved wider. Gallens presence on the ball in the forward areas was fantastic, constantly popping quick one-touch passes off to her team mates in what was a congested area of the field.

Accies forced a corner after 16 minutes of the second period and with the pinpoint accuracy of Nadene Traynor off for the second period, Brannan took it upon herself to deliver a great cross which was well cleared towards Gallen 20 yards out.  With one touch, Laura settled herself and with a pendulum-like swing of her right foot the youngster hit with laser-like accuracy into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.

Hibs were still very strong however, and created a couple of chances of their own with saves needed by Cunningham as well as collection of a few crosses.  Their equaliser came with a cross ball that looked as if the finish was offside but the velocity of the delivery may have deceived the Accies backline.

Megan Ramsay consistently demanded to be used to build, as did Kim Black and the always impressive Deborah McLeod who was the midfield conduit for so much of Accies positivity going forward.  

Into the third period and Traynor had returned to the field but injury to Whitson and McBrearty meant they could not continue so it was a reshuffled back line with McLeod showing her versatility and Black turning into a buccaneering fullback in the style of Accies SWPL fullback Gillian Inglis!

Marisa Storrie continued to stroll through the match and defend tenaciously when required and build when the opportunity rose.  McHugh and Gallen stayed heavily involved in the third period in all the positive things Accies were doing and although there were no more goals Brannan struck a fantastic dipping free kick that needed tipped over the bar whilst Hibs also hit the woodwork at the other end.

Brannan pulled up with a hamstring strain at the end after the ever-impressive O’Keane had released her to rampage down the left and this reduced Accies to ten men, forcing a reshuffle to see the game out.

Accies: Megan Cunningham, Nadene Traynor, Alana McBrearty, Megan Ramsay, Marisa Storrie, Kim Black, Deborah McLeod, Gemma Whitson, Kayleigh McHugh, Angela Lamont, Laura Gallen, Kathleen Toolan, Hayley McColgan, Jodie Brannan (Capt) Hannah O’Keane.
 
 
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