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#SBSSWPL 1: Glasgow City v Motherwell

Glasgow City rounded off another Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 season with an emphatic 9-0 victory against Motherwell, on trophy presentation day at Petershill on Sunday.

Scott Booth made two changes to the team that suffered their first league defeat of the season against Celtic, before the International Break. Nicola Reid and Megan Foley were on the bench, and in came captain Leanne Ross and Rachel McLauchlan.

Motherwell also made two changes to the side that lost at home to Rangers in their last outing. Crosbie and Gardner dropping out to be replaced by Kirsten Rolph and Natasha Roberts.

Motherwell may have been ruing their luck, with City’s league clinching victory coming in the previous fixture between the two, and now facing them ahead of the championship celebrations, but the visitors looked composed in the early stages, getting on the ball and keeping possession. City slowly began to slide into control with a couple of early efforts going wide, before Claire Adams had a long range effort to ask a question of the hosts.

The Champions-elect responded by moving up a gear, with Hayley Lauder forcing the defence into a mistake, McLauchlan picked up the ball on the right but her couple of attempts at a cut-back to Lauder, were well prevented.

Moments later, Lauder pulled off a lovely spin in the penalty box, and unselfishly tried to play it back across goal, but nobody could apply the finish.

An early blow hit Motherwell after 15 minutes, as Chelsea McEachran had to be taken off with Vhairi Munro entering the game.

The away side were next to threaten, winning a free kick in City’s half. Up stepped Adams again and she wasn’t far away with the attempt dropping just over Erin Clachers crossbar.

18 minutes in though, City made the breakthrough. Great work from Lauder won a corner on the far side, her delivery was beautiful and Leanne Crichton made the run to the back-post and was able to help the ball into the net unchallenged to open the scoring.

Glasgow City started to look for more, and called Motherwell goalkeeper Morgan Hunter into action when McLauchlan struck inside the box, but the keeper did brilliantly to get down low and stop the shot. Kirsty Howat then hit an effort that swerved wide away from goal.

Carly Girasoli then lifted a lovely ball over the top of the visitors defence for Hayley Sinclair to collect. She did brilliantly to work some space on the edge of the box and fired the ball high towards goal, with Hunter pulling off a fantastic save to prevent a certain second.

Despite Hunter’s effort, the resulting corner, taken from the same side as City’s first goal, was almost an exact copy in every way. Lauder took the corner, the ball again – brilliant, and Crichton creeped in to almost the same spot as she did earlier, but this time, cushioned a header into the net, for her and Glasgow City’s second.

The third happened only seconds later. Sinclair who was denied a wonderful goal moments before, had space and time on the left of the penalty box and lofted a ball towards goal. It seemed to catch the goalkeeper by surprise and dropped into the back of the net to put the Petershill side in the driving seat.

Sinclair, with the taste for goals, had a few further efforts in the first half, and captain Ross had a free-kick saved by Hunter.

Just as Motherwell were starting to have some joy before half-time, City were clinical. Sinclair, also in a similar position to her first strike, lobbed another attempt towards goal, Hunter aware of the danger from earlier was at full stretch to get to this one, but her fingertip could only help into the net as City got a fourth before the break.

The League winners made two changes at the midway point, with Erin Clachers being replaced by Scotland International Lee Alexander and Megan Foley taking over from McLauchlan.

Scott Booth’s girls were now brimming with confidence, as Sinclair searched for her hat-trick but her drive went wide, and later great work between her and Sam Kerr gave Kirsty Howat an opportunity, but again Hunter saved superbly.

Corners had been the route of City’s first two goals, and another was to play a part in the fifth. ‘Well initially cleared the threat but the ball was worked back over to Ross who delivered and Howat connected with a volley high into the net after just 52 minutes – announced as City’s 100th league goal of the season.

With the final quarter of the match approaching, the thought of finally getting their hands on the trophy seemed to maintain the hosts thirst for attack.

Nicola Docherty had the ball on the left. She looked up to deliver the ball into the box, and while the cross seemed to get higher and higher it eventually dipped and deceived Hunter, and dropped into the net for number six. The type of goal that a reporter never usually can tell if the intention is cross or shot, but the look on Docherty’s face gave the answer to this one.

With a view to the upcoming Scottish Cup Final, City made a triple substitution with Crichton, Howat and Girasoli all taken off, and Nicola Reid, Joanne Paton and Jordan McLintock coming on.

Paton picked up some expert positions in her early touches, and tried to divert a Docherty cross towards goal, but her touch took it high over the bar.

A seventh goal came from the City captain, as Ross had taken over in the centre of the away half. Her strike was sweet and was drilled beyond the goalkeeper, who was visibly unhappy with the defensive work in front of her, and it was starting to feel harsh on Hunter who had made some wonderful saves. Unfortunately though, for her and Motherwell, there was more to come.

Only 60 seconds later, Paton picked out Docherty’s run at the back post with a floated diagonal, and it was another goalscoring double as Docherty nodded in an eighth. The scoring then completed by Jordan McLintock with another Ross corner causing danger, Reid helped it on and the subs combined for goal number nine.

Leanne Ross later lifted Glasgow City’s 13th league championship in-a-row in view of the home support to cap and incredible season so far.

For Motherwell, they finish the season in sixth place, only three points behind Spartans.

For Glasgow City, they will look to seal a superb season with an intriguing Scottish Cup Final to come against Hibernian, next weekend at Tynecastle, looking to put a stop to Hibs recent cup success and claim City’s first Scottish Cup since 2015.

Written by
Stuart Mitchell
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