Rangers all but secured fourth spot in Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 after a hard fought 2-1 win over Spartans at the Hummel Training Centre. Hannah Robertson and Clare Gemmell scored for the Gers with an Elena Santoyo-Brown goal sandwiched in between for the visitors.
The home side took the lead inside the opening four minutes after a horrendous mistake by Spartans keeper Rachel Harrison. She took too long to clear the ball, allowing Robertson to nip in and slot the ball into the empty net.
Spartans weren’t fazed by the setback and did get forward well, Santoyo-Brown fizzing a great ball across the face of goal before Beth McKay clipped it back over, again with no takers. They were lucky not to fall two behind on 22 minutes though when Robertson worked space for the shot which Harrison pushed out as far as Gemmell who could only fire the rebound over the bar.
Sarah Clelland drilled a low shot wide of target for the visitors after good work to find herself some space before Santoyo-Brown shot wide on the angle as the game flowed from end to end.
It really should have been 1-1 just past the half hour mark when a Spartans corner fell to Robyn McCafferty, but her strike was deflected to Tegan Reynolds who couldn’t flick it home as Rangers survived a scare.
The visitors from the capital did level the scores just nine minutes into the second half however, when good pressing saw Shelley Campbell give the ball away to Michaela McAlonie who found Santoyo-Brown in space on the right and she drilled the ball low under Khym Ramsay, much to the delight of the vocal travelling support.
Harrison in the Spartans goal was forced into a decent save midway through the half, diving to her right to claw away Holly Napier’s fierce strike from the edge of the box. Napier then had another chance when the ball fell her way 20 yards from goal, but her effort flew just wide.
At the other end, Ramsay in the Gers goal also had to react sharply when Beth McKay cut inside and took aim with a powerful left footed effort that had to be tipped around the post. Moments later, the Edinburgh side spurned a glorious chance when McAlonie raced into the box before jinking on to her right foot and sending a shot off the outside of the post.
That miss came back to haunt the away team as Rangers retook the lead from the penalty spot. Tara McGonigle used her hand to stop Napier getting past and Gemmell slammed the penalty under Harrison.
Rangers came close to adding a third when Chelsie Watson saw her header from a corner come back off the post.
Katie Frew made her way off the bench for Spartans late on but was forced back off just four minutes later, having been left writhing in agony following a challenge with Jade Gallon. She did return to the pitch but wasn’t able to continue.
The Rangers number 10, Gallon, was then denied a third by a smart Harrison save late on but it’s Rangers who move seven points clear in fourth.
Both sides return to action on Sunday as Rangers travel to Motherwell while Spartans face Forfar Farmington at Station Park.
Rangers: Ramsay; MacDonald, Watson, L. Gallon, Bourma (Dalgliesh, 64); Brownlie (McQuillan, 46), O’Hara (Campbell, 46), Gemmell; Hay (J. Gallon, 59), Napier; Robertson (Boyce, 59)
Spartans: Harrison; McGonigle (Frew, 86)(Todd, 90), Beveridge, McCafferty, Clelland; Douglas (Gibb, 86), Reynolds ; Santoyo-Brown, McAlonie, McKay; McDonald-Nguah
Rangers WFC Head Coach, Gregory Vignal: