Report: Scott Lewis
Celtic Women’s Academy 2
Henderson (54), Molley (77)
Boroughmuir Thistle 0
It was a winning return to league action for the Celtic Women’s Academy side, who gained hard fought three points at home to Boroughmuir Thistle with a professional second half performance.
The start of the game saw both sides struggle to break down the opposing defence, with the ball being contested for largely in the middle of the park. Both sides tried their luck from distance early on, with shots from McGonigle and Wilkinson respectively, but neither posed any real threat.
McGonigle was emerging as the main goal threat for Celtic as she had another two efforts from the edge of the area before the 25-minute mark, this time forcing Michie to make saves.
Craig, who got four assists in the cup last week, was once again trying to unlock the opponents defence with some brilliant through balls, and on 29 minutes she produced a ball, that not many would have seen, into the box and into the path of Molley, who beat Michie to the ball but could not keep control of the ball which got away from her after her first touch and rolled out of play for a goal kick.
Celtic were starting to gain control of the half and Megan Wands nearly made the pressure pay off after she superbly dribbled through a crowd of Thistle players on the edge of the area, unleashing a shot that looked troubling, before a brilliant defensive block to take the sting out of it.
Thistle nearly took the lead just before half time as Nagle was caught in possession by Ross, who burst through two on one. Some excellent positional play by O’Neil and a great recovery from Nagle ensured that the attack could not mount to anything and any danger was cleared.
At the start of the second half, Emma Craig had a couple of attempts in the opening minutes that came close to opening the scoring, the second of her efforts being spilled my Michie for a Celtic corner. The resulting corner caused a goal mouth scramble in which the hosts looked certain to score, the visitors cleared the ball but only as far as Fulton, who had a magnificent strike from 25 yards out saved well by Michie.
A couple of minutes later however, after a corner for the home side, O’Neil stayed up and received the ball on the left-hand side, she put in a brilliant cross which went over everyone in the box, finding its way to Henderson at the back post, who fired home the opener on 54 minutes.
The number of chances created by either side in the game died down for a spell in the second half, with the hosts doing well to control the game and defend their lead, but they unable to break down the Thistle defence for a second goal.
With just over ten minutes to go, Darcy Molley all but sealed the points after Craig put in an excellent delivery to the centre of the box, which she latched onto and excellently put past Michie to make it 2-0 on 77 minutes.
In the final ten minutes Celtic will have felt unlucky not to have scored a third as they piled on the pressure once again and came close on a number of occasions with some excellent balls being played into the box from both wingers and fullbacks.
The game finished 2-0 to the hosts and ensured that the Academy side maintained their perfect start to the season.
Manager Michael Tuohy praised his side’s persistence to fight out a victory today, “I’m pleased with the player’s persistence today.
Obviously the first half performance was okay, but the girls recognised the areas we had to improve at half time. These minor tactical changes, plus a tweak to our mindset and intensity for the second half allowed us to show more in our performance and that was shown with the final result.”
He finished by praising the performance of Boroughmuir and wished them well for the remainder of the season, “Credit to Boroughmuir, who made today a very difficult challenge and we wish them the best as we look forward to a positive week’s training.”
Celtic Women’s Academy: Kerr, Brown, O’Neil, Nagle, Warrington, Henderson, Fulton, Molley, Wands, McGonigle, Craig. Subs: McGovern, Simpson, McFarlane.
Boroughmuir Thistle: Michie, McKay, Menzies, Goodchild, McCabe, Wilkinson, Maden, Gallacher, Templeton, Ross, Clark. Subs: Mackay, Macleod, Markley.