Rangers continued their good home form with a 3-0 win over Hamilton on a glorious afternoon at New Tinto Park.
Report & Image: Rangers FC
Amy McDonald made one change from the midweek win against Spartans, as Sarah Robertson dropped out of the squad due to injury and was replaced in the starting line-up by Lauren Davidson.
Hayley Sinclair, who was making her last appearance for Rangers before leaving for California for three months, continued in midfield, as both sides traded possession in the opening five minutes without really creating any clear-cut opportunities.
It was Sinclair who had the first shot of the game, firing high and wide past the Hamilton goal from the edge of the 18-yard box after seven minutes.
Hamilton replied with a shot of their own on the quarter hour mark, as Codie Hay, sister of Brogan, controlled a knock down on the edge of the box and hit a lovely drive that was heading for the roof of the net, only to be tipped over by Lauren McGregor in the Rangers goal.
Davidson then squandered a fantastic chance after 23 minutes, as Clare Gemmell floated a corner over to the back post and found Davidson, who dragged her downward header just wide when she really should have hit the target.
Rangers were forced into a substitution just on the half hour, as Hay had to be withdrawn after she tweaked a hamstring and was replaced by Chantelle Brown as they continued to search for the opener.
That opener almost came for Gers after 40 minutes, as substitute Brown controlled an excellent crossfield pass, cut inside and beat her defender but her shot was well blocked, and Hamilton escaped.
Holly Napier found her way into the referee’s book with the first yellow card of the game, as again, Rangers nearly took the lead through another high swinging corner, this time from Leah Eddie. That found Jenna Cark at the back post and her downward header bounced over the bar as both sides headed into the break level.
It was Hamilton that got the second half underway, but it was Rangers who came flying out of the traps and broke the deadlock within 60 seconds of the restart. Sinclair picked up the ball on the right-hand side and cut in and curled a fantastic long-range shot which dipped over goalkeeper Grant into the roof of the net and left her helpless, and left Hamilton trailing 1-0.
The goal was just the encouragement that Rangers needed as they continued to dominate the early period of the second half, but against the run of play, Hamilton nearly equalised after 55 minutes, as Katie Rice made a mazy run through the middle of the Rangers defence and somehow managed to keep hold of the ball and get a shot on target, which was comfortably saved by McGregor.
Jade Gallon came on for Caitlin O’Hara before the hour and slotted into central midfield and had her first input moments later as she was played in by Brown and took a long range shot which she sliced wide of the goal.
Lauren Davidson then made way for Lisa Swanson upfront as she looked to benefit from Sinclair and Brown’s pace and trickery out wide which was continuing to cause the away side problems.
And it was from out wide that the next goal came from for Rangers, but this time from an Amy Muir corner, as after 74 minutes, she played the ball into the front post and Eddie flicked it past the Hamilton goalkeeper to make it 2-0 to the Light Blues.
Gillian Inglis then had a chance to pull one back for Accies with five minutes left, as she got her head onto a short cross and glanced her header straight at McGregor who preserved her clean sheet. At the other end, Rangers replied as Sinclair shot from the edge of the box which goalkeeper Grant held at the second attempt.
Hannah Coakley then came on for the final few minutes for Rangers, replacing goal scorer Sinclair, as Hamilton continued to look to reduce the deficit and again produced a half chance as a low cross made its way to the Rangers back post, but it was cleared away to safety.
Napier’s last act of the game was to hit a speculative effort in the last minute of normal time which floated high over the Hamilton goal before being replaced by Terri Donnelly.
Swanson so nearly added a third for Rangers as her deflected effort dropped just past Grants’ post. From the resulting corner, Jade Gallon did add the third goal as she got on the end of the corner at the back post and guided a diving header into the net, as Rangers navigated injury time for a well-deserved clean sheet and three points to lift them to fourth in the SWPL1 table.
Rangers: McGregor, Muir, Lauren Gallon, Eddie, Clark, Gemmell, O’Hara, Napier, Hay, Sinclair, Davidson.
Subs: Baillie, Brown, Donnelly, Swanson, Watson, Jade Gallon, Coakley
Scorers: Sinclair 46, Eddie 74, Jade Gallon 92.