Report: Scott Lewis
The Academy side continued their winning streak by putting six past Blackburn United in an impressive performance….
Blackburn United 1
McGonigle OG (63)
Celtic Women’s Academy 6
Henderson (3), Molley (22), McGonigle (28), Blackburn United OG (33), Stewart (45, 54).
The visitors wasted no time in taking the lead as McGonigle made her way through the midfield, producing some ball rolls to take it past a number of opposing players, then played it to Wands who passed it back to Henderson in space around 25 yards out. The midfielder took one touch and then found the top right corner with her second to make it 1-0 in only the third minute.
Blackburn almost equalised instantly as they sent a throw in into the box, which was not dealt with properly by the Academy centre backs and fell kindly to Blackburn’s number 10 but she could not put her shot on target, instead sending it over the bar.
Cairney was looking lively on her return to Academy team action and came close to getting her name on the score sheet when Wands’ header from a Blackburn goal kick found Stewart, who brilliantly picked out Cairney’s run, who forced a brilliant save from United’s goalkeeper. Cairney continued to cause the home side danger and on 22 minutes her efforts helped her team double their lead. She weaved her way into the box and looked like she may score herself before being tackled at the last minute on the penalty spot, the ball then fell to Molley 20 yards out, who produced the second fantastic strike of the day, with her shot cannoning the underside of the bar and then bouncing back into the roof of the net.
It was 3-0 to the hoops before the half-hour mark, as a Henderson corner was met by McAllister at the back post and her header seemed as if it was finding the back of the net but McGonigle got her heel to it to ensure it went in.
Only minutes later it was four as Kathleen Toolan whipped in an inviting ball into the box intended for Stewart but United’s number 11 turned it into her own net with a header when trying to prevent it finding the incoming striker.
Warrington played an equally brilliant ball in from the other side, again aimed for Stewart, which fizzed across the face of goal but even though she flung herself at it, Stewart could not quite make contact to turn it in. Henderson then had a brilliant opportunity to get her second of the game as she dispossessed Blackburn’s number 24 from behind, allowing her to burst clean through on goal. The keeper came out fast to the feet of Henderson who attempted to chip her but seen her effort go narrowly over the bar.
Celtic did however manage to make it five right on the verge of half time as Toolan done brilliantly with the ball under pressure on the half way line to pick out McGonigle who played it through to Stewart who went clean through and successfully chipped the keeper to get her name on the score sheet and give her side a very comfortable lead going into the break.
Within ten minutes of the restart it was six and Stewart had her second of the game. She burst through clean on goal but seen her shot excellently saved. The rebound fell to Wands who tried find the net from distance, but her effort was headed away by United’s number 4, only to Stewart who then drove at goal and finished excellently in the bottom left hand corner.
Cairney continued to look threatening in the second period as Stewart picked her run out and she twisted in the box well to create space for herself and only another fantastic save from the Blackburn goalkeeper could prevent her adding to the score line.
Blackburn did however cause Celtic problems and on the hour mark managed to pull one back from a corner, which took an unfortunate deflection off the head of McGonigle at the front post and ended up in the back of her own net. Half an hour left to play with the score 6-1.
Stewart came close to her hattrick on 65 minutes, as McGonigle’s pass through the middle of the two Blackburn centre backs was latched onto by the striker’s run, she took a touch round the advancing Blackburn goalkeeper but couldn’t control the ball and it ended up going out for a goal kick.
Jodie Bell came on for the academy side to replace Stewart and very nearly got herself a goal as Megan Wands beat a number of players in midfield before picking out the striker in the box brilliantly who turned the defender but shot wide of the target.
Tegayn Hamilton came on to replace Lisa Kerr in goal for the hoops with 15 left to play. On the 80th minute Blackburn’s number 7 produced an excellent run to get clean on goal but Hamilton was equal to the effort of the United player, producing a brilliant stop and ensuring that the five-goal cushion was maintained.
Full Time in Blackburn with the score 6-1 to the Academy side who record their third goal of the season. Manager Michael Tuohy praised his side’s intensity and made a special mention for the players who had joined the side from the under 19 squad, “We were really pleased with the tempo and intensity of our play today, particularly in the first half. We challenged the team to keep focussed in order to produce a more complete performance and we feel we made a positive step towards that. I’d also like to congratulate the u19’s players who were up with us today on their impressive performances. Blackburn presented us with a different challenge today and we stood up to it. We appreciate their welcome and wish them the best moving forward.”
Celtic Women’s Academy XI: Kerr, Toolan, Watson,P McAllister, Warrington, Henderson, McGonigle, Molley, Wands, Cairney, Stewart.
Subs: McFarlane, Bell, R McAllister, Cleminson, Hamilton