Women's football round-up

Written by Colette Carr.

ACCIES Reds took to the Ravenscraig on Sunday to take part in the Gartcairn Festival, as their preparations for the season beginning in March stepped up.

Despite mixed results on the day, head coach Emma Griffiths was delighted with the girls’ performance on the day:  “I thought the effort form the girls today was excellent, they worked hard for each other displaying great teamwork.  It is exciting to see the development in their playing ability in such a short space of time.  They all had a fantastic day.”

The tournament saw the girls compete in five fifteen minute matches over the course of the day, their first match being against Gartcairn 2.  The girls kicked the festival off in winning ways, Chloe Flannigan taking the lead for Accies in the opening minutes,  Jacqueline Sweetin grabbed her first of the game two minutes later.  Lucy Hutton was next up on the scoresheet, before Sweetin put another two away to complete her hat trick, wrapping up a convincing 5-0 victory in their first.

Their second game didn’t get off to such a great start however, as Falkirk were a goal to the good after only two minutes.  Eight minutes in however, Hutton pulled one back for Accies, levelling the score.  Accies threatened to go ahead and steal the win on many occasions after this, with Amber Morton delivering the ball into the box well, testing the Falkirk keeper, before the game ended a goal apiece.

The third game for Accies did not appear to run as smoothly as the others however, with Rangers hitting six past the girls, good blocks from keeper Katy Cluckie and great attempts by Sweetin and Isla McNicol to slow down their advances not enough to stop the game ending 6-0 to the Glasgow side. 

Accies most evenly matched game of the tournament was up next, as they ground out a draw with Gartcairn 1. With Flannigan coming close early on as well as Gartcairn threatening, Accies took control of the game nine minutes in, Huttons great header firing the girls ahead.  A moment later however, Gartcairn equalised.  The tightly contested match ending one each.

Despite Karen Lawrie and Rebecca Hoolahan sending many efforts just wide at the start of their final game against Glasgow Girls, they were soon four nil down to Glasgow Girls.  Morton pulled one back for Accies, sliding the ball into the corner of the net, before Glasgow fired one more past the girls,  Accies ending the tournament with a loss.

Despite some disappointing results, the festival was a success for Accies, with all girls getting game time in each match, and good preparations for the season being made.

Hamilton Accies Reds:  Katy Cluckie, Zoe Clark, Shannon Harper, Rebecca Hoolahan, Jacqueline Sweetin, Amber Morton, Isla McNicol, Karen Lawrie, Lucy Hutton, Chloe Flannigan
Glasgow City go down 5-0 to a strong Arsenal 
By Laura Montgomery

Scottish Champions Glasgow City suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of England’s top side Arsenal today at Petershill, in the Battle of Britain challenge match sponsored by ng homes.

City’s injury problems and recent loss of players to professional contracts abroad, was clear to see, as the Scottish Champions struggled to get going against a strong Arsenal side who are preparing for their Champions League Quarter Final tie against Italian side Torres in a few weeks time.

The hosts got off to the worst start possible, when after only 4 minutes Nicky Docherty brought down the impressive Gemma Davison inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Arsenal’s play maker Kim Little and the midfielder made no mistake as she fired past Lee Alexander in the City goal.

City almost got an equaliser within 2 minutes when after a City corner, Suzanne Malone hit a shot which came back off the bar. Strike partner Ruesha Littlejohn tried to bundle home the rebound, but the visitors cleared her effort off the line.

Arsenal and England striker Ellen White latched on to a great pass from Jordon Nobbs with 8 minutes on the clock, but shot wide of the post as she ran towards goal.

However, Arsenal were not to miss their next opening and this time White became the provider for Nobbs, who slotted home from only a few yards out.

White had another effort which went wide of Alexander’s goal, before City were to once more rattle the woodwork when City centre-half Danni Pagliarulo rose highest to meet a Leanne Ross corner, but her header crashed off the post and away to safety.

The home side were to rue their missed chance, when Arsenal broke clear soon after with Ellen White finishing well inside the penalty box.

Just after the half hour mark, some good play from City resulted in Nicky Docherty playing the ball to Leanne Ross at the edge of the box and she in turn laid it off first time to Malone to hit an effort towards goal, but her 20 yard shot was saved by Emma Byrne in the Arsenal nets.

A bad mistake by City’s rear guard gifted the visitors a fourth goal on 36 minutes with Rachel Yankey eventually running through on goal unchallenged to slot past the diving Alexander.

Alexander was to pull off an excellent save to deny Nobbs from hitting the top corner with a well hit shot, before City had a succession of corners as they tried to claw themselves back into the match just before half time, but to no avail.

The second half was once more controlled by the English Champions and it could have been 5-0 was it not for an impressive save from Alexander to turn a free kick from Arsenal substitute Jade Bailey around the post.

On 78 minutes it did become 5-0 after defender Danica Dalziel, who had come on at half time for Cheryl Gallagher, turned an Arsenal cross into her own net.

City Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black commented on the match. He said, “It was a very good work out for us and shows us exactly where we are at this stage of the season. It is not a performance we set our standards to and we need to improve, quickly.”

City’s next match is their opening game for the start of the new SWPL season on 17th March and the Champions take on Rangers at Petershill Park, Springburn, 2pm.
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