Photo by Colin Poultney.
Rangers continued their stunning form to regain top spot from Glasgow City in Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 with a convincing win over Spartans in the late kick off on Sunday afternoon.
Kirsty Howat, Zoe Ness, Lizzie Arnot and Clare Gemmell were on the scoresheet in a 5-0 win that sees the Gers top the table on goal difference.
Howat was first to try her luck, with her shot from distance flashing past the Spartans goal in the opening minutes. The hosts were dominating the early stages and almost scored direct from a corner as Emma Brownlie’s in-swinging delivery came off the face of the bar before Spartans managed to clear.
Spartans struggled to get out of their own half as the Gers pinned them back, but they did manage a breakaway after 20 minutes when Michaela McAlonie found Louise Mason in space, with the midfielder trying to slip the ball through to Becky Galbraith. Jenna Fife was alert to the danger and managed to come from her goal to clear.
Just a minute later though, the Edinburgh side should have been behind as Rangers came forward with Lizzie Arnot unmarked at the back post, but she couldn’t divert her diving header on target from close range. The pressure continued however, and they again came close to scoring with another header, Brianna Westrup seeing her effort cleared off the line by Sarah Clelland.
It looked like just a matter of time before the home side would score though, and after 25 minutes they did just that with Howat nodding home from close in, after Brownlie’s effort fell her way.
Former Glasgow City midfielder Sam Kerr was at the double for Rangers last weekend away to Hearts and came close to notching in consecutive games, forcing Harrison to push her powerful shot behind. The ball would be in the net from the resultant corner though, as Ness climbed highest to bullet a header beyond the keeper and send Rangers in two ahead at the break.
Rangers started the second half at a fast pace and almost added a third straight from kick off, Rachel McLauchlan seeing her effort well blocked by Harrison following good link up play with Howat. The striker then almost scored her second of the afternoon, glancing a header just over.
Despite that start, Spartans were well in the match as the second half progressed, limiting Rangers attacking play, but just past the hour mark the game was put beyond the side from the capital as substitute Brogan Hay played in Arnot, who cut inside before firing low into the net.
The third goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Spartans and Rangers should have had a fourth when Howat burst into the box before cutting onto her left foot and shooting over the bar. McLauchlan also came close with a rasping low drive that flew across Harrison but was denied by the base of the post.
Spartans could have grabbed a consolation when Galbraith was played in behind by Alanna Marshall, but her shot lacked conviction and was easily collected by Fife.
Instead it was Rangers who would grab the fourth goal of the game with two substitutes combining, Daina Bourma getting to the byline before cutting back to Clare Gemmell who stroked a beautiful shot into the bottom corner.
Rangers then scored a fifth in stoppage time when Hay picked out Howat in the area to finish off a good move and round off a comfortable afternoon for Malky Thomson’s side.
Rangers: Fife; McLauchlan, Westrup, Swaby (Girasoli, 78), Docherty; Reilly (Bourma, 74), Kerr; Brownlie (O’Neill, 56), Ness (Hay, 56), Arnot (Gemmell, 74); Howat
Spartans: Harrison; Douglas, Beveridge (Reynolds, 61), McMahon, Clelland; McCafferty; Mason (Frew, 69) Smart, McAlonie (Gibb, 69), Marshall; Galbraith
Rangers Head Coach, Malky Thomson:
Spartans Head Coach, Debbi McCulloch:
Rangers Forward, Zoe Ness: