Louise Mason’s 69th-minute goal proved to be the difference between Spartans and Rangers at Ainslie Park. It was a game that only really sparked into life with the goal when Mason’s speculative shot beat the Rangers’ keeper Claire Johnstone.
The win sees Spartans make it three SWPL 1 wins in a row, scoring seven without conceding a single goal. They will go into the mid-season break in fourth place, six points clear of Rangers in fifth.
Spartans had a good chance after just three minutes. A break down the left from Alana Marshall saw the ball played into the box where Michelle Russell picked out the unmarked Katie Reilly, but she directed her weak shot straight at Johnstone.
Rangers then had their own good chance minutes later when Megan Foley forced the Spartans’ keeper Eartha Cumings into a fine save to parry over.
The game’s first great chance came in the 12th minute when Marshall’s 20-yard shot forced Johnstone into a great diving save to tip the ball round the post.
Both sides then started to struggle to test the keepers and it would take until the 35th minute for the next chance when Hayley Sinclair made room for herself on the edge of the Spartans’ box, but her shot was too close to Cumings to test her.
And then Katey Turner broke into the Spartans’ box but Cumings managed to narrow the angle and made a good save.
However, on the stroke of half-time, Spartans should have taken the lead. Russell’s stunning ball picked out Laura Gavin, completely unmarked in the box. She had time to control the ball but then curled her shot just wide of the far post.
Spartans were the first side to have a shot on target in the second half when Russell turned her marker on the edge of the box, but Johnstone made the save comfortably.
Turner looked like she was about to score when she broke into the Spartans’ box, but as she was about to pull the trigger, she was denied by Dion McMahon’s stunning sliding tackle.
Rangers came close once again when Claire Adams’ brilliant cross-field ball picked out Megan Foley in the box, but as Cumings closed her down, she shot wide.
And then, Spartans took the lead. On the right wing, Louise Mason tried a speculative effort which flew over Johnstone and into the back of the net.
Minutes later, it could have been 2-0 when Mason’s through-ball send Russell through on goal. Her touch took it past the keeper, but her shot was cleared off the line by Rhonda Jones,
But then, Rangers nearly equalised when Jones played Chantelle Brown into the box and she was only denied by Cumings’ wonder-save at the near post. And then, the resulting corner saw Cumings fail to claim the cross, providing Claire Gemmell with an empty net, but the Rangers’ captain stabbed wide.
Later on, Spartans’ sub, Christie Kerr nearly made an impact when Simone McMahon’s cross picked her out, but she could only head over.
Player of the Match
Eartha Cumings – Spartans.