Glasgow City 3
(Ross 36, Kerr 68, Lauder 80)
(McCulloch 57, McGovern 64)
Report / Image: Celtic FC
Celtic produced a sparkling performance against league leaders, Glasgow City, going into a 2-1 lead with less than 30 minutes remaining. City, however, capitalised as the Hoops tired and ran out 3-2 winners.
The home team started confidently, stroking the ball around as they moved dangerously towards the Celtic goal, going close with a header in the third minute.
The Hoops, however, took the initiative, with the midfield of Kelly Clark, Rachel Donaldson and Natalie Ross tigerish in their tackles, and moving the ball with crisp accuracy.
In the fifth minute this nearly paid off with a lightning counter-attack allowing Kathleen McGovern in behind the City defence, but the striker was dismayed to see her powerful shot rebound off the post to safety.
The pattern was set, with City playing short-passing intricate movements and Celtic countering with really pacey forward thrusts. McGovern was always in the thick of the action, with Sarah Ewens easing herself into the game with powerful running on the left.
Further chances were created by the Hoops, with a Donaldson shot saved by goalkeeper, Alexander and an accurate Claire Crosbie header from a Ewens corner tipped over the bar. Then again McGovern dashed beyond the City defence and cleverly lobbed the keeper but saw the ball drift past.
This was all within the first 15 minutes and Celtic were unfortunate not to be in a comfortable position at that stage with City’s only reply from a free kick, comfortably saved by Emily Mutch.
The complexion of the match suddenly changed in the 36th minute when City were awarded a penalty when Chloe Craig was adjudged to have fouled Grant. Leanne Ross scored from the resulting spot kick and City held on to their 1-0 lead until the interval.
In the 57th minute Celtic were awarded a free kick on the left, and Craig’s dead-ball was struck with pace into the heart of the City defence where centre-back Cheryl McCulloch, got the slightest of touches to head the ball into the net.
With the score now better reflecting the run of play, Celtic’s tails were up as they pressed for a second goal.
This duly arrived seven minutes after the equaliser. Again a free kick from Craig was delivered into the penalty box with McCulloch out-jumping the defence to head the ball into the air. McGovern was on to it in a flash and headed home from close in.
City were still finding it difficult to produce telling attacks against Celtic’s solid defence, but in the 68th minute, Kerr gathered a loose ball and rolled it into the Celtic net.
By this stage, Celtic were less effective going forward, as City’s confidence increased and they scored the winner with 10 minutes remaining with a curling Lauder shot creeping in at Mutch’s right-hand post.
This was a highly entertaining game, and Hoops manager Eddie Wolecki Black had seen many positives in his team’s performance.
He said: “The game threw up a variety of debatable topics. I believe we started the game very well and should have been a couple of goals to the good come half-time, but we found ourselves a goal behind due to a penalty, which, if that is the standard then we should have had one when Kathleen McGovern was brought down early on by Alexander.
“Following that, we had what was a perfectly good goal chopped off for a foul. Despite this deficit at the break we came out and got ourselves ahead within 15 minutes.
“Again, though, a defensive error cost us dearly and when we got caught at a throw in it ultimately meant we lost the game.
“I hope the players and staff can see we are a lot closer to the top teams than they previously thought.”
Celtic: Mutch, Keenan, McCulloch, Crosbie, Craig, Clark (O’Neill), Ross, Ewens, Donaldson (Cairney), Giard (Cavanagh), McGovern. Subs not used: Rafferty, Cunningham, Adams, Connor, Knox.