Rangers defeated Motherwell yesterday to reach the next round of the League Cup thanks to a late Chantelle Brown goal.
Both teams battled fiercely for possession in the early stages, with a throw-in for the lower league side near the corner flag releasing Lauren Kerr. The Motherwell forward struck an effort at goal which was parried away for a corner kick by Khym Ramsay.
The play then switched from Rangers’ box to their opponent’s in a matter of seconds, as Rangers were awarded a free kick about twenty yards outside the area. Rangers captain, Clare Gemmel, produced a enticing delivery into the box, however, there was no Rangers head to meet it, resulting in a ‘Well goal kick.
The 15 minute mark arrived with neither team having established a comfortable grasp on the match. The tide began to turn slightly when Jade Gallon was fouled just outside the penalty area after a good turn. The free-kick was eyed up by both Gemmel and Watson, but, it was Muir who stepped up, blasting a powerful effort just over the crossbar.
Another free kick for Rangers was then awarded in the 20th minute. This time, the ball was swung to the front-post by Gemmel, however, it wasn’t to the same standard as her last with the goalkeeper gathering it with ease.
Rangers maintained their spell of energy, forcing two throw-ins in 30 seconds down the right hand flank. Good play from Watson and an excellent spin from Gallon invited a foul and resulted in a free kick for Rangers just ahead of the halfway line. The free kick was fired into the mixer, but Rangers couldn’t find a blue head to finish.
Two minutes later a ‘Well free kick taken by Goodwin was fired into the Gers box, but was hastily dealt with by the back-line and fired forward to lone Boyce at the half-way line. The striker ran towards the Motherwell defence but some last-gasp defending prevented the counter attack.
Rangers looked to be gaining a good level of control just before the half hour mark, and good running from midfielder Jade Gallon forced the visitors to concede a throw-right by the corner flag. However, possession was regained by ‘Well, who managed to free Caitlin Russell for a shot on goal which was saved well by Ramsay. This disruption came as Rangers looked to be the more comfortable team in possession and served as a stark reminder that the match was still finely in the balance.
Five minutes before the interval Gallon’s sharp skills allowed her to play a magnificent cross ball to Davidson whose shot was blocked by the Motherwell defence, firing away for a corner kick.
The shot appeared to have been released too late which allowed the defence to recover, an excellent opportunity for Rangers to break the deadlock. Rangers continued the sudden pressure, when Davidson picked up a poor goal kick in the middle of the park and released Jade Gallon who was able to turn and play through Boyce. Boyce drove at the defence and appeared to be fouled in the box. The referee, however, awarded a free kick for Motherwell with Gallon being booked in the process.
The second half began with Motherwell firing out the blocks. The experienced ‘Well side pressured the Rangers defence in the opening stages, but the Light Blues backline appeared able to command the early test.
Leah Eddie had an excellent chance on the 63rd minute to break the deadlock when she appeared to have a free header from a corner whipped in by Gemmel. But, somehow, the chance was not headed goalwards.
Determined play from Amy Muir won Rangers a throw-in by the Motherwell corner flag. The shy fell to Boyce, who whipped a speculative effort from wide which gained some spin and forced a wonder save from the Well keeper. The resulting corner was fired in and met with the head of a ‘Gers attacker, but, somehow, managed to stay out. Two minutes later, great play down left side fell to Boyce, who, again, fired a shot from outside the area but pulled it wide of the target.
The tide seemed to be turning in Rangers direction again, mirroring the same trend as the first half. Gers pushed the Steelwomen hard as the game entered the last 10 minutes. Coakley was through on goal until an excellent tackle from ‘Well centre-half Knox stopped her in her tracks. A vital moment in the game which would would have been a scoring opportunity. A minute later, poor play in the middle of the park freed Gallon.
The forward fired a shot in which was blocked by a solid last min challenge by a ‘Well defender and put out for a corner. The pressure was mounting on both teams, but Rangers appeared to have the slight upper hand.
That suspicion was confirmed in the 83rd minute when Chantelle Brown received a short corner in enough space blast a powerful low shot towards the left corner. The effort smacked against the inside of the post and into the Motherwell net. The jubilant teamed piled on top of each other in celebration of what was likely to be the match winner. An excellent goal after a strong period of play for the Light Blues.
The last five minutes proved nervy as Rangers were forced to face relentless ‘Well pressure. With two minutes left, ‘Well were clean-through on goal, with Chelsie Watson forced to make a professional foul just outside the box. Watson received a red card for the challenge, and given her marching orders. With Rangers down to 10, the game suddenly got even more nerve-wracking.
The subsequent free-kick was rifled in by Sammy Hare, but Ramsay’s strong fists made no mistake of seeing it over the bar. Rangers coped with the final advances of their opponents and managed to secure the full time victory, their second win in a row.
RANGERS: Ramsay, Watson, J.Gallon,Boyce, Gemmell, L.Gallon, Coakley, Sinclair, Eddie, Davidson, Muir.
SUBS: Baillie, Clark, Donnelly, Brown, S.Robertson, Napier, Hay.
Report & Picture: Rangers FC