Report by Graeme Semple
Glasgow City’s perfect start to the SWPL season continued with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Spartans at the Excelsior Stadium tonight and they now move to the top of the table on goal difference.
It was a highly productive first-half for City as goals from Jo Love, Fiona Brown, Sarah Ewens (own goal) and Abbi Grant were enough to clinch an important three points for the champions.
In their last two home games City have notched an impressive 23 goals without reply and they were quickly in search of more when they made a fast start against the side from the capital.
With less than sixty seconds on the clock, City came close to grabbing an early advantage. Hayley Lauder combined well with Brown and drilled a low cross into the six yard box, however Denise O’Sullivan could not make sufficient contact and her effort drifted just wide.
City did not have to wait long for their first goal of the game. In the eighth minute, a darting run and low cross from the industrious Grant found the unmarked Lauder who showed great awareness to stroke the ball into the path of Love whose measured side-foot finish from the edge of the box opened the scoring.
Less than sixty seconds later it was 2-0. Brown demonstrated an impressive turn of pace to pip the Spartans number one and latch on to a fine Kerry Montgomery pass, and she ably managed to squeeze the ball into the far corner from a narrow angle.
City continued to exert pressure and both Emma Black and O’Sullivan had half-chances, however Spartans remained strong and maintained a meaningful presence in the match
Against the run of play, Spartans almost found an avenue back into the match just after the half-hour mark. The ball rebounded off Cheryl McCulloch and it looked like a certain goal for the visitors, but the defender recovered and managed to clear the ball off the line.
City were not perturbed by this scare and soon grabbed a decisive third goal. A short City corner eventually found O’Sullivan, who hit the byline and fired a low and teasing cross into the box that was turned into her own net at full stretch by the unfortunate Ewens.
The fourth goal arrived on the stroke of half-time. Lauder sent Grant in on goal with a fantastic through ball and the nineteen year-old got her name on the scoresheet with a smart finish.
City almost added grabbed a fifth goal at the start of the second period. A sweet cross by Brown found O’Sullivan unmarked and in space, but her half-volleyed attempt drifted agonisingly wide when she appeared certain to score. Lauder was next to come close after 63 minutes but her low shot was well stopped by the impressive Harrison.
Spartans did enjoy the odd rare foray up the pitch, but poor decision-making and last-ditch defending stopped the visitors from grabbing a consolation.
It is rare for City go 45 minutes without finding the net, but despite continuing to dominate territorially, the intensity had gone out of their play and the killer final ball was less evident in the second period.
Substitute, Susan Fairlie, who always makes a positive impression, almost added further gloss to the scoreline in the dying moments of the match, but she was denied by another fine stop from the Spartans goalkeeper and the match finished 4-0.
Glasgow City: Alexander, Lauder (Fairlie 75), Jones (Ross 75), Love, O’Sullivan, Montgomery (Cuthbert 77), McCulloch, Black (c) (Whyte 79), Brown Grant (Walker 75), Docherty
Subs Not Used: Cunningham, Rafferty
Spartans: Harrison, Mawson, Barnes, Beveridge, McLaughlin, Marshall, Mason (Douglas 66), Reilly (c), Ewens, Russell, Shepherd
Subs Not Used: Dalziel, Jackson, Cummings, Pagliarulo, Mitchell
Referee: Jennifer Carberry