Match report by Campbell Finlayson and photo courtesy of Colin Poultney.
Spartans made it two wins from two to remain top of SWPL Cup Group A with a hard-fought but entertaining win in a five goal thriller against Glasgow Women at Petershill Park.
These two sides met in pre-season when a last minute goal saw Spartans defeat their SWPL 2 visitors and they came out on top again in the wind and rain of North Glasgow. Rebecca Galbraith’s hat-trick sealed a 3-2 win for the Edinburgh side after Cara Henderson had scored a double for the hosts.
With the wind playing havoc early doors, both sides struggled to get into any sort of rhythm but it was the home side who had the first effort on target, former Spartan Tara McGonigle finding the grateful arms of Rachel Harrison.
Almost immediately though, the visitors did take the lead, Galbraith breaking the offside trap before firing the ball beyond Natalie Docherty.
The SWPL 1 side moved two in front on 13 minutes as the wind this time worked in their favour. Dion McMahon’s clearance holding up for Galbraith to get onto the ball and she lobbed Docherty to find the net with ease.
Spartans came close to a third when Alana Marshall had a shot on the turn which Docherty just about managed to hold on to.
It wasn’t long though before the Glasgow side pulled a goal back. Joanne Addie’s glancing header falling kindly in the box with Harrison’s initial save not enough as Henderson slammed the loose ball high into the net.
That goal looked certain to be cancelled out as Tegan Reynolds found Galbraith who, despite suspicions of offside, managed to get a shot away which Docherty did well to force round the post.
From the resultant corner the keeper couldn’t gather the ball cleanly, with Michaela McAlonie seeing her effort cleared off the line.
Glasgow Women really should have equalised just beyond the half hour mark when a hopeful cross found its way to Abbi McDonald at the back post, but her touch was heavy and she was unable to poke the ball past Harrison.
Almost straight away though there was a chance at the other end when McAlonie managed to rob Lucy Ronald of possession, but her chip flew just wide of the post.
With three minutes to go until half time, the home side drew level when Harrison’s clearance went straight to Henderson who drove towards goal before drilling a low shot home for her second of the afternoon.
After a quiet start to the second half, Spartans were given the chance to move back in front on 58 minutes when a clumsy challenge from Joanne Addie sent Beth McKay sprawling and gave the referee no option but to point to the spot. However, Marshall’s effort from 12 yards was blazed high over the bar and it remained all square.
The wind was still continuing to cause bother for both sides, with the ball failing to stay put for Harrison to take a goal kick. Once she eventually got the ball out, the Edinburgh side came close to grabbing a third with Marshall just unable to convert Galbraith’s cross from the left.
Glasgow had claims for a penalty waved away when substitute Suzie MacTaggart went down under pressure from Ronaigh Douglas before Spartans broke away and came close to scoring as Caley Gibb forced an effort just wide.
McKay then went even closer when her curling effort was spilled by the keeper, the ball just dropping wide. From the corner though, Spartans did retake the lead. McKay with the ball to the back post where Galbraith was on hand to head into the corner to complete her hat-trick.
It should have been four with nine minutes remaining. Another corner found the back post and Bobbie Beveridge could only send the ball back across goal and out. McAlonie then also went close as her free-kick landed on the roof of the net.
Spartans had further chances through Tegan Reynolds and McAlonie but the one goal lead stood in the end to set up a matchday three encounter with Celtic where Spartans know a point will be enough for them to top the group.
There was further drama after the full time whistle when Glasgow defender Leah Robinson was shown a red card for something she said to the referee.
Both sides begin their respective league campaigns next weekend with a local derby, Spartans facing Hibs at Ainslie Park while Glasgow Women take on Partick Thistle.
Glasgow Women: Docherty; Hoole (Wilson, 89), Addie, Robinson, Paton (Frew, 84); Ronald, Henderson; McDonald (McEwan, 78), Dickov (McGlinchey,64), McGonigle; Fisher (MacTaggart, 72)
Spartans: Harrison; Douglas, Beveridge, D. McMahon; Clelland, Reynolds, Aitchison (S.Mcmahon,64), McAlonie, McKay; Galbraith, Marshall (Gibb, 70)
Post-match interviews with Glasgow Women Head Coach, Craig Joyce, and goalscorer, Cara Henderson.