Report by Paul Elliott
A comprehensive 10-0 victory saw defending champions Glasgow City defeat Glasgow Girls, and march into the semi finals of the SWPL League Cup.
It was derby day as City welcomed their Glasgow rivals to the Excelsior Stadium to battle it out for a place in the semis. City’s last outing in the cup was an exceptional 14-0 victory over Inverness, while Glasgow Girls reached the quarters via a 3-1 win over Hutchison Vale.
Playing in the second tier of Scottish women’s football, the prospect of facing City on their own patch will have been a daunting one for the visitors. Despite that, it was a plucky start from Glasgow Girls as they tried to take the game to City through some physical but positive play. They nearly bagged an early goal through an audacious free kick from all of 35 yards by Sam McManus. The powerful effort dipped late and had to be touched onto the crossbar by Erin Clachers, making her first competitive start for City.
The difficulty of the challenge faced by Glasgow Girls was soon realised as City grasped control of the game, and then took an early lead through Clare Shine. A swinging Leanne Ross corner kick prompted a goalmouth scramble that ended when Shine nodded the ball over the line from close range. 1-0.
Before long, City doubled their lead when Ross profited from the frightening pace of Fiona Brown down the left. The captain stroked a long pass towards the corner flag and Brown tore up the turf to get there. The winger cut back for her captain who slotted home from just inside the box.
There was a clear difference in conditioning, composure, and quality as city took complete control of the game. Ross playing in midfield, her preferred position, was very influential and was the figurehead of City’s constant drive forward. It was another Ross corner kick that should have resulted in a third goal. She whipped the ball in for Savannah McCarthy to win a header unchallenged in the six-yard box. The Irish defender should have celebrated her birthday was a goal but sent her header just wide of the target.
The third goal, however, came soon enough and it was a simply superb finish by Sarah Crilly. Brown once again sent in a cross from the left flank and found Crilly arriving in the box from the right wing. Her left foot half-volley arrowed into the bottom corner to make it 3-0 within 26 minutes.
The productive Crilly was involved again a short time later when she won her side a penalty. The little winger was running at pace before a robust challenge sent her flying in the box. Ross stepped up to hit the penalty and buried it into the bottom corner for her second goal of the game. 4-0.
City’s fifth goal was self-inflicted from a Glasgow Girls perspective. A stray pass in defence was pounced on by Crilly who, with a degree of persistence, teed it up for Erin Cuthbert to pick her spot in the corner of the empty net.
When the referee sounded for half time City took a healthy 5-0 lead back to the dressing room. With the win in the bag, Head Coach Scott Booth made three changes at half time; bringing Brogan Hay, Julie Fleeting, and Hayley Lauder on for the second 45 minutes. All three would go on to make significant contributions to the game.
As the second half got underway, the champions continued to pile on the pressure. Cuthbert nearly bagged her second of the game when she went twisting and turning on the edge of the box, but her right foot shot was touched round the post by the Lauren Grant in goal for Glasgow Girls.
City’s mindset was very impressive. They were relentless through constant pressure and high work rate despite the game already being won. A series of opportunities were fashioned; first a Fleeting header from a Lauder cross looped wide of the upright; then Sam Kerr latched onto a great chance to score, but running through one-on-one with the keeper, she found Grant rush out quickly, stand tall and block well.
Then came the game’s moment of magic as the twinkle-toed Hay showed why people are excited about her development at City. Some tremendous skill tied her marker in knots, and from the edge of the box Hay buried the ball low into the back of the net. It was a magnificent goal from a really exciting prospect to make it 6-0.
Still, City kept coming. Ross had caused problems all day through her delivery and when she swung a cross off the hand of a Glasgow Girls defender in the box, the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Ross again stepped up to strike the penalty and bagged her hat trick in her typically clinical fashion. 7-0.
After a series of injuries last season, it was clear in this game that Fleeting was well and truly back in action. The striker nearly scored a ‘worldy’ when she went on a solo run through the Glasgow Girls defence. Despite the spectacular build-up she couldn’t find the finish to match the run.
Fleeting wouldn’t be denied a goal for long as it was she who scored City‘s eighth. Breaking into the box, Fleeting rounded the keeper, kept her composure, and finished despite valiant efforts from a couple of defenders on the line.
Lauder was next in line to bag a goal. Attacking from the right, Lauder had all he time she needed to take a couple of touches in the box and bullet a left foot strike into the roof of the net to make it 9-0.
The impressive Fleeting finished the scoring a short time later. Substitute Carla Boyce slid a pass for Hay who tore into the box from the right wing. The youngster did well to set up Fleeting, who had her first shot saved, but made no mistake with the rebound to make it 10-0.
Despite the effort put into the game by Glasgow Girls, the sheer class of the City squad was just too much for them. The semi finals await the champions who on this form look like the team to beat.
Glasgow City: Clachers; McMurchie; McCarthy; Shine; Docherty; McCulloch; Clelland; Ross (Capt); Brown; Crilly; Cuthbert
Subs: Fay; Lauder; Love; Kerr; Hay; Boyce; Fleeting
Glasgow Girls: Grant; McTear (Capt); Logan; Coleman; Evans; Hrdie; Ferrol; McManus; Tutton; Malavin; Docherty
Subs: Davies; Cullen; Aitchison; Storrie; McGuire; Cameron