Rangers left Ochilview Park today with a resounding 4-1 victory over Stirling University in their opening SWPL game of the season.
Report / Image: Rangers FC
After going a goal behind early on, goals from Hannah Coackley, Laura McCartney, Carla Boyce and Holly Naiper saw the Light Blues head back down the road with all three points.
After a well respected minute silence for Glasgow City’s Kat Linder who tragically passed away last week, the game kicked off in blistery conditions.
The Light Blues, wearing their white away kit were on the attack when in the first minute, Clare Gemmell latched on to a loose ball from the Stirling defence only to see her shot from the edge of the penalty box go straight over the cross bar.
Stirling almost made the breakthrough without having a shot after a mix up in the Gers defence saw Coakley attempt a back pass that rolled just wide of the empty net.
The home side eventually did take the lead in the 13th minute when the Rangers players stopped to claim for a head knock to Lauren Gallon.
As the midfielder lay injured, the Stirling players carried on and Stirling’s Jane Callaghan took full advantage by slotting a low shot into the left hand corner. The resulting head knock lead to Gallon being replaced by McCartney.
In the 21st minute Rangers hit back. Some superb midfield play by Amy Muir drew a foul from two Stirling players and from the resulting free kick, Gemmell floated a free kick right over the Stirling defence where Coakley nipped in while colliding with the advancing goalkeeper Logan to slide the Gers level.
The resulting collision lead to a second enforced change for Rangers, with Coakley leaving the field to be replaced by Terri Donnelly.
It took until the 34th minute for the game to spring back into action when Gers striker Boyce fired wide after latching on to a loose ball.
In the final five minutes of the half, the game sprung to life with some end to end action.
Stirling first went close with striker Callaghan again going close.
Then, up the other end, Rangers won a corner and after an intricate training ground move, Gemmell crossed for Boyce to head just wide of the left hand post.
In added time there was more uncertainty in the Light Blues back line resulting in Stirling forward Naomi Welch shot high over the bar to see the teams go into the interval at one apiece.
The second half saw the Gers take full control of the match with wave after wave of attack. In the 55th minute it paid off when substitute McCartney got what her hard work deserved, slotting home a Muir cross.
The Gers strengthed their hold on the match and Boyce struck in the 66th minute thundering the ball into the top right hand corner of the net giving Chloe Logan in the Stirling goal no chance.
Stirling almost struck one back in the 78th minute when winger Welch hit a wonder strike only to see it cannon back off the crossbar.
In the 90th minute Gers midfielder Napier then capped off a fine display by the Gers and wrapped up all three points with a fantastic curling effort into the bottom right hand corner.
RANGERS: Baillie, Dalgleish, L. Gallon, Coakley (Donnelly 21), Inglis (Sinclair 79), Gemmell, O’Hara, Muir, J. Gallon(McCartney 13), Napier, Boyce (Brown 83).
SUBS NOT USED: Watson, Ramsay.
STIRLING UNIVERSITY: Logan, Doran-Barr (Eadon 62), Connor, Bonner, Falconer, Simpson, Mason, Callaghan, Lyons, Welch, Rule.
SUBS NOT USED: King, Kerr, Guthrie, Fulton.
RANGERS: Coakley 21, McCartney 55, Boyce 66, Napier 90.
STIRLING UNIVERSITY: Callaghan 13.