|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|Celtic||Howat 36||Mulvey 75||2|
A second-half goal from Suzanne Mulvey saw Celtic come from behind to beat Spartans to reach their first SWPL Cup Final since 2010. Spartans were set up to play on the counter and caused Celtic all sorts of issues, especially the mightily impressive Colette Cavanagh. And it was Cavanagh who put Spartans in front in the eighth minute, capitalising on a defensive error after a superb solo run.
A lapse of concentrate from the impressive Spartans back-line saw Kirsty Howat beat Rachel Harrison, who made a series of superb saves over the game. In the second half, Celtic came out and dominated the game and deservedly took the lead through Suzanne Mulvey, who had semi-retired at the end of last season.
Worryingly for Spartans, there were nasty injuries for Ronaigh Douglas and Alana Marshall.
It was Celtic who started the game the strongest, with Jaclyn Poucel heading wide from a corner, but it was Spartans who took the lead in the seventh minute. Colette Cavanagh broke towards from the half-way line to the Celtic box, and although she was tackled, Cavanagh immediately won the ball back before picking out the bottom-right corner with a clever finish.
Celtic tried to find an immediate equaliser, but they struggled to find the final ball with Kirsty Howat cutting the ball into a dangerous position where no player had made the run to, and then Kerry Montgomery’s weak header failing to trouble Spartans’ keeper Rachel Harrison.
Soon after Poucel nearly scored from another corner, but she had to be alert in her own box with clever positioning allowing her to prevent Sarah Clelland getting a shot off.
Howat had a great chance to equalise as she was played behind the Spartans defence, but she was denied by Harrison’s stunning save, tipping the ball past the post. Howat had another great chance, but this time she was denied by Nicola Mawson’s brave block.
Finally, Celtic found an equaliser after Spartans’ defence fell asleep for the first time in the game. Mariead Fulton’s through-ball played Howat into the box and she placed the ball under Harrison.
Spartans could have equalised in the last action of the first half after winning a free-kick from just outside the Celtic box. Bobby Beveridge’s curled effort was saved by Celtic’s keeper Megan Cunningham who just managed to stop it crossing the line.
Celtic came out strongly in the second half with Howat’s shot being saved by Harrison. Minutes later, Holly Napier’s cross found Fulton in the box, but under pressure, she blasted the ball over the bar.
In the 70th minute, Celtic make a triple sub, bringing on Sarah Crilly, Sarah Ewens and Suzanne Mulvey and two of the substitutes linked up as they had a goal ruled out. A cross was flicked on by Mulvey to Crilly who blasted the ball into the top corner – but she was ruled offside by the assistant.
But then Celtic did go 2-1 up. Montgomery’s through-ball played Mulvey in behind the Spartans’ defence, and her finish trickled over the line after Harrison got a hand to the ball.
Spartans had a couple of good chances to equalise soon after. They broke from a Celtic corner with Sarah Clelland coming close, but Cunningham made the save. And then they won a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Beveridge shot over.
Due to the serious injuries to Spartans’ players Ronaigh Douglas and Alana Marshall, there were eight minutes of added time and during it, Celtic could have extended their lead.
The best chance came when a lovely passing move set up Heather Richards on the edge of the box but she was denied by another wonderful save by Harrison, tipping the ball over the bar.