Photo by Stephen Dobson.
Celtic travelled to Aberdeen on the opening day of the SWPL 1 season and came away with an impressive 4-2 win in an enthralling game in front of the BBC ALBA cameras at the Balmoral Stadium.
A healthy attendance of 480 came out to support with this encounter proving to be an entertaining advert for women’s football in Scotland.
Fran Alonso’s side came out with an intent from the word go with Charlie Wellings giving Donna Paterson and Jessica Broadrick a test on every occasion. The summer acquisition from Bristol City had a chance on three minutes with Gail Gilmour denying the striker.
Gilmour had to be called upon again shortly after a through ball cut Aberdeen open finding Tegan Bowie who advanced her way towards goal however Gilmour was alert to the situation, denying Bowie any sniff at an opening saving at the feet of the winger.
Wellings had a strong start to the game and her awareness was influential to guiding Celtic in front on 14 minutes. The striker getting on the end of a long ball down the channel by Cheyenne Shorts and Wellings kept her composure before slotting the ball high into the net beyond the reach of Gilmour.
Aberdeen were looking at ways to get a way back into the game and they pulled level on 22 minutes. Loren Campbell found Francesca Ogilvie from the right before crossing into the box, the ball initially cleared into the path of Jenna Penman on the left who got to the byline before sending a dangerous ball which Kelly Clark knocked into her own net.
Fran Alonso’s side showed a desire to get their noses back in front and had a barrage of attacks before Chloe Craig guided Celtic 2-1 ahead just two minutes later.
Craig had an effort bounce off the post before Loren Campbell cleared to Izzy Atkinson out wide. She then sent a fantastic ball to the back post which found the defender who slid in to score past the stranded Gilmour from an extremely tight angle.
Celtic continued to be a danger from set-pieces and Clark nearly added to the scoring at the right end, getting on the end of a near flick on following an Atkinson delivery from the right which clipped the bar.
The hosts weren’t out of this by any stretch of the imagination and Eva Thomson almost pulled the Granite City outfit level after being released though by a ball from Ogilvie before Thomson hit a sizzling effort from 22 yards clipping the post.
Fran Alonso’s side hit the post themselves with 12 minutes remaining, Atkinson and Wellings linking up well with the latters effort hitting the post after cutting through the Dons backline.
Wellings got that brace she was craving on 81 minutes to make it 3-1. Sub Clarissa Larisey did well to get towards the byline before cutting back, finding Wellings who found the corner with ease past Gilmour.
Aberdeen pulled a goal back on 87 minutes to set up an interesting finale to this encounter. Ogilvie sent in a dangerous ball from the left finding Eilidh Shore in space who guided home a fine header past Johnstone to give the Dons hope.
Chloe Craig sealed all three points for Celtic in the dying stages from 12 yards out with her spot-kick finding the bottom left hand corner to make it 4-2 Celtic.
Celtic return to the BBC ALBA cameras next week at home to Glasgow City with Aberdeen making the trip to Partick Thistle.
Aberdeen: Gilmour, Campbell, Penman, Broadrick, Paterson (Strath 57), Collins, Shore, Thomson, Gordon (Brown 69), Ogilvie, Gover (Sopel 77): Subs not used, Doig, Bruce, Fraser, Innes
Celtic: Johnstone, Shorts (Hayes 82), Craig, Chance, Teegarden (Toland 88), Clark, Atkinson, Olafsdottir Gros (Mengyu 82), Wellings, Bowie (Warrington 82), McGovern (Larisey 75): Sub not used, Logan
Aberdeen FC Co-manager, Emma Hunter
Celtic Women Head Coach, Fran Alonso:
Aberdeen FC Midfielder, Eilidh Shore:
Celtic Defender, Chloe Craig: