Chris Marshall focuses on the five games that beat the wind, rain and general grimness that was Storm Dennis this weekend as Aberdeen upset Hearts at Cormack Park, Becky Galbraith makes it four goals in two games for Spartans as they squeeze past Glasgow Women whilst it’s losing starts in the SWPL Cup for newcomers Boroughmuir Thistle and Queen’s Park.
The Dandiest of Dons
With former co-manager Harley Hamdani having taken up a new opportunity in Australia Emma Hunter now sees herself in sole charge of the SWFL1 – North Champions and if Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Hearts is anything to go by then the Dons will be full value for the dark horse mantle that some have attributed to them as they shocked their SWPL1 visitors at Cormack Park.
It was a victory they had help with though as a poor pass across her own area by Hearts centre back Cailin Whyte was pounced upon by Lauren Gordon who had time to put the ball past Scotland U19 international Emily Mutch. The Jambos stopper would then see red for halting a Dons attack before a wonderful striker from Aisha Maughan looked to have rescued a point for the Jambos. It wasn’t to be though as five minutes later 2019 SWFL Division One Player of the Year Eilidh Shore would leap highest to nod home a winner.
Shore is one of number of Scotland youth internationals in the Aberdeen squad and there is a quiet confidence amongst the Grampian side that their return to SWPL2 is just the start of bigger things to come.
Galbraith’s on Fire
Two wins from two games will be viewed as job done by Spartans Head Coach Debbi McCulloch with her side following up a 1-0 victory over St. Johnstone with a 3-2 victory over Glasgow Women in a ding dong battle at Petershill Park. The Glasgow side had already taken a point from Celtic in game week one and again showed that despite their relative youth there is a doggedness being instilled in them by head coach Craig Joyce as they came back from two goals down to the leave the scores level at the break.
However, in a game that also saw a missed penalty and a red card, it would be hat-trick hero Galbraith who would deserve the headlines as she made it four goals in two SWPL Cup games. Her first a tidy finish after being released on the Spartans left before a beautifully judged lob with the outside of her boot made it two. The game was sealed for the visitors in the 75th minute as Galbraith leapt highest to head home a Beth McKay corner.
For Glasgow Women it was another good showing against SWPL1 opposition as Spartans all but sealed their place in the quarter finals ahead of their match day three clash with Celtic, who ran out 6-0 winners over the Perth Saints with Sarah Ewens also netting a treble.
Welcome to the SWPL
Whilst Aberdeen were causing upsets up north it was a losing start for the two other SWPL Cup debutants as Boroughmuir Thistle went down 4-2 to Stirling University at Meggetland and Queen’s Park lost 6-1 to Hamiton Academical at Lesser Hampden.
Thistle will hope to learn from their afternoon’s work as they were made to pay for defensive lapses by some ruthless finishing from the University side. Having been 4-0 down they will have been encouraged by the way that they pulled the score back new signing Ashley Carse making a scoring impact from the bench and in Tegan Browning and Addie Handley they have two bright prospects.
For Queen’s the lesson was perhaps even harsher as Accies found themselves 3-0 inside the first twenty minutes and post match Spiders Head Coach Mark Kerr was under no illusions how tough the season will be for his side. Accies had new signings Georgie McTear, Hannah Coakley and the recently announced Lauren Evans in their squad, and on paper Gary Doctor has one of the strongest squads in SWPL2 at his disposal. The re-arranged SWPL Cup clash with Dundee United on March 8th is already being billed by some as an insight into how the SWPL2 title battle might play out.
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