(Cavanagh 32, Ewens 46, Adams 76)
(Reynolds 6, Santoyo-Brown 30)
Image: Celtic FC
Celtic produced an astounding comeback to win 3-2 in their final home game of the season after finding themselves two goals down against Spartans after 30 minutes. However, the Hoops took control and Colette Cavanagh, Sarah Ewens and Claire Adams all scored as the Hoops claimed all three points in an exciting match.
The Celts started well, winning a succession of corners in the opening minutes, but they found the Spartans defence resolute and compact. And the home side were stunned in the sixth minute when Spartans took the lead from their first meaningful attack when Reynolds fired a 25-yard shot high into the net.
Celtic quickly regained the initiative and pressed forward seeking an equaliser, with wide players Ewens and Cavanagh prominent and looking dangerous in attack.
It was during this spell of superiority that Chloe Craig tested goalkeeper Harrison with a fine long-range shot, and Claire Crosbie struck the bar with a header following yet another corner.
There were also several scrambles in the Spartans penalty area, but Celtic were unable to penetrate the solid defensive wall as a Kelly Clark header and a Kathleen McGovern shot were the nearest they came to levelling the score.
Then, wholly against the flow of the game, Spartans increased their lead when a dangerous ball across the face of goal was knocked into the net by Santoyo-Brown from point-blank range.
This was a real set-back after all the energy the Hoops had put into the match, but they continued to surge forward seeking that elusive goal.
Following near misses by Cavanagh and Cheryl McCulloch, it was Cavanagh who scored after a dashing run into the penalty area and a driven left-foot shot found the net. Cavanagh was once again to the fore minutes later when she saw a fierce drive tipped over the bar by Harrison.
The teams left the field at half-time with the visitors leading 2-1 and Celtic wondering where the goals were going to come from.
Immediately after the restart, Ewens answered that question when she coolly lobbed the ball into the net from a clever diagonal ball by Cavanagh. Although Celtic appeared in control of the match, Spartans constantly aimed to get forward, resulting in an open, attractive match.
The Hoops were now passing the ball quickly and accurately and Natalie Ross was orchestrating the team from central-midfield, widening the game and bringing her team-mates into play.
As the game entered the last 15 minutes and it was beginning to look like Spartans would share the points, Celtic deservedly snatched the winner.
Keeper Harrison misjudged a cross on the edge of her area when under severe pressure from McGovern, and the ball fell to Adams who had the simplest of tasks to float it into the unguarded net.
Speaking after the game, Celtic manager, Eddie Wolecki Black said: “I’m delighted with the team’s performance, especially given we looked down and out at 2-0.
“However, we showed great resilience to bounce back and turn the result around. The result also confirmed our slot in the league, meaning we finished best of the rest behind Glasgow City and Hibs, and it sets us up nicely to make a further push next season.
“The belief between myself and the players is growing stronger with each passing week.”
CELTIC: Mutch, Rafferty, Crosbie, McCulloch, Craig, Cavanagh, Clark, Ross, Adams, Ewens, McGovern.
Subs not used: O’Neill, Giard, Cairney.