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Rangers bounced back from last week’s humbling at the hands of league leaders Glasgow City to see off bottom of the table Stirling University and move up to fourth in the Scottish Building Society SWPL1 standings as goals from Carla Boyce, Chantelle Brown, Jade Gallon and youngster Siobhan Honeyman saw the home side mirror the 4-1 scoreline that had saw them claim three points against the same opposition earlier this season.
It looked like Amy McDonald’s side were set fair for a straightforward afternoon when they took the lead with barely a minute on the clock. A long ball from centre back Chelsie Watson made its way through to Carla Boyce who took a couple of touches before finishing clinically past Rebecca Sjogerud. Despite dominating the ball Rangers though couldn’t build on their advantage and on the 13 minute mark Uni found themselves level. After good work on the right hand side from Gemma Mason her ball into the area found Scotland u19 international Naomi Welch, who superbly chested the ball down before striking a sumptuous half volley past a diving Jade Baillie. Despite the equaliser Rangers dominance of the ball and territory continued but Welch was continuing to provide some much needed menace to the Stirling attack, as was evidenced just a couple of minutes after the equaliser. A slip from Rangers defender Lauren Gallon allowed the youngster through but this time she was only able to push her effort just wide. Rangers, despite their dominance, continued to struggle to create chances with Sarah Robertson fashioning their best before the half was over, cutting in from the right only to see her near post effort well saved by Sjogerud.
Keen to push home her side’s advantage McDonald introduced Chantelle Brown for Robertson whilst youngster Chloe Nicolson replaced Baillie in goal and both would play a key role as Rangers went in search of a second. Efforts from Brown, Jade Gallon and the impressive Amy Muir all were repelled as the Light Blue attacks continued to come wave after wave but it would be Stirling University that would nearly take a shock lead. Firstly Welch again found herself through on goal although this time her angled effort hit the far post before a ball through the middle played in Eva Rule who with just teenager Nicolson to beat was unable to get her shot past the youngster who stood up well to save. The Greens would rue those missed chances as just a minute later Rangers would finally have the lead their pressure merited. A deep cross from Muir on the Rangers left was scrambled out of the area only for it to fall to substitute Brown with her shot from just inside the box finding the corner.
Amy McDonald introduced two more youngsters into the fray with the Rangers pressure continuing and both Rosie McQuillan and Siobhan Honeyman would play parts in the third and fourth goals that would seal the three points for the side from Govan. In the 85th minute Jade Gallon won the ball in midfield and proceeded to drive towards the Stirling goal, with McQuillan in support she played the ball to the young forward who quickly then returned it to Gallon who lifted it over Sjogerud to seal the three points for the home side. An exquisite long range finish from Honeyman a minute later rounded off the scoring after neat lay off play from Gallon as the victory sees Rangers move up the table again after what had been a dominant, if sometimes frustrating performance, with the precautionary withdrawals of Lauren Gallon and Amy Muir the only point of concern. For the visitors their search for a first win of the season continues although head coach Craig Beveridge will be pleased with how well his team hung in under the seige like pressure from their hosts.
Rangers midfielder and goal scorer, Jade Gallon: “We made it difficult for ourselves, first half we had plenty of possession but felt like we weren’t clinical enough in the final third but I thought second half was much better, we controlled the game again and then took our chances, eventually.”
“I’m always looking for three points, happy to score and get an assist but for me it’s always about the three points.”
Rangers Head Coach Amy McDonald: “To go one nil up in the first half so early you think we can push and go and get another goal but obviously then they score from what I think was their only shot in the first half.”
“Real praise has to go to Chloe Nicolson, Siobhan Honeyman and Rosie McQuillan who have come in today from our youth squads, Chloe made an excellent save, Siobhan scored a goal and Rosie made a good contribution so we’ll take it.”
On the potential injuries to Amy Muir and Lauren Gallon: “Lauren felt something in her knee and we are always kind of cautious with knees. Amy is feeling a bit tight and we’re fortunate now we’re moving into a period with a break with an opportunity for the players to rest and recover. It’s an education piece for us as well as before the players might have played on and we would have lost them for even longer.”
Rangers: Baillie, Muir, L.Gallon, Watson, Dalgliesh, Gemmell, Napier, J, Gallon, Robertson, McCartney, Boyce
Subs: Coakley, Honeyman, McQuillan, Brown, Nicolson
Goals: Boyce (‘1), Brown (’71), J. Gallon (’87), Honeyman (’86)
Stirling University: Sjogerud, Simpson, Murphy, Falconer, Connor, Coppel, Kim, Fulton, Mason, Welch
Subs: Kerr, Lyons, Grey
Goal: Welch (’13)