Sublime City Increase Lead At Top
Leaders Glasgow City increased their lead at the top of the SWPL 1 table with a dominant attacking display that saw them finish 8-0 winners at Spartans, who had yet to lose at Ainslie Park this season. Despite having moments of attacking threat, Spartans never looked like threatening City’s defence or being able to deal with City’s relentless attacking play.
City scored twice in two minutes early on, first through a Julie Fleeting goal from close distance and then she turned provider to set up Ruesha Littlejohn. Clare Shine made it 3-0 after being set up from good play by Leanne Ross. Shine had to be replaced after picking up a knock before Ross got City’s fourth with a superb free-kick.
The second half had a similar start to the first, with both Fleeting and Littlejohn getting on the scoresheet again – although, this time, there were five minutes between the goals.
Late on, Erin Cuthbert scored twice – her first a sublime chip – as Glasgow City secured an emphatic 8-0 win.
The result sees Glasgow City remain in first, albeit now with a five-point lead, whilst Spartans drop down to fifth place.
Glasgow City had the ball in the net after just three minutes and a free-kick was eventually worked through to Ruesha Littlejohn, but as she beat the Spartans’ keeper Eartha Cumings, the assistant raised his flag to rule the City forward offside.
Both sides were having quarter-chances: City being denied by Dion McMahon’s superb sliding tackle and Spartans by an equally impressive challenge from Savannah McCarthy.
But it was City who was on top, and it was no surprise when they took the lead, and it was a goal of real simplicity. Clare Shine cut the ball across the six-yard box providing Julie Fleeting with the simplest of finishes.
The Scotland legend then turned provider as City doubled their lead the next minute as her cross from the left-wing found Littlejohn at the far post, and her shot took a deflection off the defender and over the line.
City could have got another soon after when Erin Cuthbert broke down the left, and although her pass was blocked, the ball fell to Fleeting who drew a good save from Cumings.
The visitors kept on pressing and came close with a move started and finished by Cuthbert. Her long pass found Littlejohn who cut into the box and picked out Jo Love whose shot was superbly parried by Cumings when Cuthbert pounced on the loose ball but missed the target.
But then, City did get their third. Leanne Ross was played into the Spartans’ box and rounded the keeper before cutting the ball back across to Shine who made no mistake from a yard out.
Spartans finally created some goal-scoring opportunities. Alana Marshall was played through but was denied by an alert Gemma Fay. The City keeper then chased the ball down to stop a couple of Spartans getting shots away before Katie Reilly missed from 30 yards. And then Trish McLaughlin found herself in loads of space in the City box, but her effort was saved by Fay.
Clare Shine picked up a nasty looking knock after having the ball kicked into her shin venomously from close range, and although she returned to the field, Glasgow City’s Head Coach Scott Booth replaced her with Carla Boyce.
With half-time approaching, City got their fourth after Cuthbert was fouled on the edge of the box. Ross curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner.
And moments later, they could have scored their fifth when Ross whipped in a cross from the left to Fleeting, but she headed just wide.
It took just six minutes of the second half for City to extend their lead further. Savannah McCarthy broke into the Spartans’ half and picked out Fleeting, who was given space to turn and then pick out the bottom-left corner with her strike.
She could have completed her hat-trick minutes later from a City corner, but her header smashed off the crossbar.
But then, City did get their sixth. Littlejohn broke into the Spartans’ box and although her initial effort was saved by Cumings’ legs, she pounced on the rebound and her shot looped into the net.
A quick free-kick nearly led to a seventh, but Carla Boyce’s shot from close range was saved by Cumings. Boyce had another chance soon after, but once again, she was denied by the Spartans’ keeper. McCarthy nearly scored a spectacular strike when from a corner, the ball sat up from her, but her overhead kick rattled the crossbar.
Spartans really should have pulled a goal back in the 66th minute when Alana Marshall picked out the unmarked Laura Gavin, but her header just went wide.
However, City finally made it 7-0. Sam Kerr’s pass played Erin Cuthbert through one-on-one with Cumings and the City midfielder’s deft chip gave the keeper no chance.
Cumings was alert to deny Carla Boyce and Sarah Crilly, but she could do nothing to stop City’s eighth when a lovely passing move gave Cuthbert space, and she drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
Glasgow City kept on looking for a ninth and came close through McCarthy’s header that just went wide and Fleeting’s shot that stung Cumings’ palms.
But they really should have made it 9-0 through Carla Boyce in the 90th minute. Leanne Ross’ early cross picked out Boyce in acres of space in the box, she chested the ball down and then somehow missed the target with her shot.
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