Bailey at the Four Front as Dons defeat Glasgow City
There’s no place like home. Aberdeen were back in SHAAP NPL action in the northeast for the first time since the summer break, with the visit of Glasgow City to a scorching Kaimhill on Sunday.
Four goals for star forward Bailey Collins and a double for Nadia Sopel meant the young Dons finished sunny side up, but it was not a game they had all their own way.
It was indeed City who made the brighter of the openings, and Sophie McGoldrick might have had them in front moments before they did score. She brought a big save out of Kirstin Pratt, only for Shantel Paterson to carve a cross through the area from the right, as the ball was recycled. Rachel Osborne ghosted in unmarked for the guiding touch and a 1-0 lead.
Osborne was at it again only a minute later, firing an effort wide of the target as the Springburn side’s jump start continued. Game on for sure, as they went toe-to-toe with the league leaders.
The Reds though, playing this one in a cooling blue, didn’t sweat it. Scott Duncan’s team were back level with a quarter hour elapsed, Sopel turning provider for Collins to begin her memorable day’s work. Faced with Rachel Connell near the corner, Sopel dug out the delivery for Collins to trap, turn and tuck in. The Aberdeen duo received BGC Scotland U17 recognition at the beginning of the month, alongside teammates Hannah Innes, Erin Henderson and Eleanor Cooper. They were back in the old routine, and we were all square.
Collins had a further sight of goal, rounding keeper Rachael Campbell, but was unable to convert with the angle narrowing. At the other end, McGoldrick and Pratt met again, with the stopper on top once more.
Sophie McGoldrick was involved in much of what Glasgow City did well in the half as a target player for the team to build attacks from, but she was not their only architect. Several times she helped to link play laterally across the field, exchanging with Osborne and Lauren Anderson on the right, but also deserving of credit was Demi Potts.
Playing deeper off the strikers, the midfielder was excellent, drifting into little pockets of space all over the field. On the occasions when she was elusive, she was effective. Supported in the middle by the defensive coverage of Captain Chloe Colquhoun, she would receive, turn and run at any opportunity, helping to push the tempo of Glasgow City’s play. When it didn’t quite come off for her, she’d go looking for the ball again next time, and that takes not only persistence, but great courage. It is only appropriate to commend any young player who can manage the physical demands on the game in somewhat crushing heat. Every player out there on Sunday deserves at least that acknowledgement to their name, and Demi was only one example.
Back to the match, and let’s round out our report of the half with a stunning goal, shall we? Arriving in a flash of a little contention, the referee gave an Aberdeen free kick for offside when it appeared, at least on live viewing, like McGoldrick might have been afforded chance to go clear, and legally, through on goal. Very difficult for anyone watching to adjourn accurately, but the strike that followed did not lack for precision.
Mairi Whittingham hoisting the set piece in the opposite direction, and on the knockdown, from twenty yards, Bailey Collins pounced, blasting a thunderous shot into the top corner. A key goal near the break, a beautiful goal, but perhaps the most notable thing amid the sparked celebrations was a quiet, knowing look. A split-second glance at her jubilant team-mates, telling of a confident talent. This is what she can do. Write, read and rave, but please enjoy.
Jodie Bell was closed out by Pratt, and a McGoldrick free kick went over the bar in the best of the remaining forays, but at the half it was all to play for.
Half Time: Aberdeen FC Ladies 2-1 Glasgow City
Last weekend, Aberdeen were 6-0 winners over Jeanfield Swifts, while John Lawrence’s City recorded an impressive 4-3 reverse of Rangers. This is purely contextual information, but what it does reflect is that none of the two teams are adverse to goals. So, queue three goals in three minutes…
Forty seconds from the restart, a long ball from Cooper down the right was flicked on by Erin Henderson, into Collins’ stride. Rachael Campbell did superbly to get a palm on the lashed attempt, but couldn’t keep it out. 3-1 now. Watch closely, this moves fast.
Kick off, and the ball in the box at the other end. This one moving left to right, Jodie Bell was involved in the combination, setting for McGoldrick to hit from the angle. Tipped. Corner.
The first of two cleared off the line by Cooper. The second, swung in by Connell expertly again, found McGoldrick stooping amongst the bodies to notch a City second. They were not resting anytime soon, and the number nine had a fully merited reward for her previous battles with Pratt.
Aberdeen made it 4-2 as play resumed, the threat coming from the wide area again. Sopel took the ball for a run on the right, fashioning space for a fierce drive. The trajectory here possibly deceiving the keeper against the backdrop of the beating sun, as it squirmed away from her grasp and in.
Keep in mind that all of this drama was happening in such a close time frame. Readers of these reports will have seen long before now that this division is rarely ever short on entertainment value because the players, staff and supporters always give everything to the game. This match simply doesn’t need that level of enthusing, it was speaking for itself.
By the time McGoldrick found space on the penalty spot on 51, after connecting Bell, the sides were working at full tilt and trading shots like basketball. Terrific set up, Paterson at the inception, and Pratt was down to hold on and prevent the danger of a rebound.
A fifth on 53 for Aberdeen. Sopel first to react on a mishit goal kick, to rasp the ball back into the goal. No matter how they fall, the goals still need a measure of composure, but this was perhaps the harshest on Glasgow City. 5-2.
Unfortunately, the brilliant Rachael Campbell would have to leave the game shortly before the hour, the keeper inadvertently colliding with Sopel. No fault on either player. The stopper leaving a wonderful imprint on the game with a high quality display. All the best for a speedy recovery. An outfielder was asked to step in.
Both teams rang the changes before Demi Potts had a sight of goal on her left. Arriving substitute Georgia Park went close.
Another sub, City’s Lauren Docherty lifted a header over from a corner. Docherty would also take a number of free kicks towards the end of thr game too, and her delivery was great, whilst not yielding any clear chances.
Amongst the sub notes, a quick line for the Dons Kayleigh Traynor too, her interchange with Collins almost producing an own goal, diverted off the post and away. Traynor was making what is understood to be her first home appearance, and it will be nice to see how she develops with the group.
The final goal, the final say though, was aptly with Bailey Collins in stoppage time. Emily Neish robbing the ball from the visitors defence and rolling it in for her. Artistic by design, the move featured a rhythmic pirouette, as she saw fit to paint another picture on the canvas of this game.
6-2 then at the final whistle, Aberdeen stretching clear in the end from a game, and an opponent, who undoubtedly posed them questions on the day. Both coaches should come away largely pleased as the teams push ahead with their respective campaigns.
Full Time: Aberdeen FC Ladies 6-2 Glasgow City
Aberdeen FC Ladies: Pratt, Rogers, Collins, Proctor, Whittingham, Sopel, Henderson, Innes, Cooper, Shand, Jones
Substitutes: Reid, Traynor, Neish, Hewitt, Park
Glasgow City: Campbell, Paterson, Moran, Forrest, Connell, Anderson, Potts, Colquhoun, Osborne, McGoldrick, Bell
Substitutes: Hickey, Docherty, Hart, Miller