Glasgow City take important step towards the title
Glasgow City took a significant step towards their seventh successive SWPL title after defeating second placed Hibernian 4-0 today at Petershill Park.
Leanne Ross opened the scoring, before a double from Eilish McSorley and a strike from Ruesha Littlejohn gave the reigning Champions the win which moved them eight points ahead of their nearest rivals with eight games left to play.
The win was the perfect boost ahead of City’s Champions League adventures which start this week as they head off to the Netherlands on Tuesday. Head Coach, Eddie Wolecki Black said, “There was a concern for us as everyone was focused on going to Europe on Tuesday and this game today was the biggest challenge for us this season so far, so to get three points and a clean sheet out of it was fantastic. To add to this Rachel Corsie, Julie Nelson and Denise O’Sullivan also got more minutes under their belts which was great. It also allowed us to rest Jo Love and Lauren McMurchie which was good ahead of the Champions League. Obviously to score goals against your nearest challengers almost gives you double value and it puts us in a great position of being eight points clear and a better goal difference of fifteen. Credit to Hibernian as they went for it and didn’t sit in and they started the game very well.”
Lizzie Arnot had the first opportunity of the match as City lost possession in midfield and Arnot broke down from the left but shot into the side netting.
City best chance to take the lead came on 8 minutes when a super shot from Leanne Ross from the edge of the box looked to be heading into the top corner before an acrobatic save from Hibs number one Shannon Lynn tipped the ball over the bar for a corner. A goalmouth scramble followed the resulting corner but Hibs cleared their lines.
A last ditch tackle from Claire Williamson denied Denise O’Sullivan with a clear shot soon after and the crowd were on their feet on 18 minutes as City Captain Rachel Corsie hit an outstanding 40 yard strike which cannoned off the cross bar with Lynn beaten.
Suzanne Malone had an effort just wide after some slack Hibs defensive play and Sarah Crilly almost broke the deadlock on 21 minutes after Corsie sent her clean through on goal, but the City striker shot just wide.
City did not have long to wait however for the opener as less than 60 seconds later some skilful play from City’s Denise O’Sullivan saw the striker lob the ball over Hibs defender Frankie Brown in the penalty box but as she looked to pull the trigger, Brown hauled O’Sullivan to the ground for a clear penalty. Up stepped Leanne Ross and she made no mistake form the spot as she put her side ahead.
On the half hour mark City made it 2-0 after Crilly was fouled out wide and Ross sent a well planned free kick into the box which Suzanne Lappin cleverly worked to Eilish McSorley to fire home at the back post unmarked.
Five minutes before the break and McSorley got her second as she headed home a City corner.
Half time 3-0.
After the break the home side had another strong penalty shout as Sarah Crilly looked to have been fouled in the box, but the referee chose not to award the spot kick.
Half time substitute Ruesha Littlejohn put her mark on the game on 52 minutes when she hit a powerful strike into the back of the net after a neat lay off from her Republic of Ireland team mate O’Sullivan.
The Irish forward almost joined her compatriot on the score sheet when she hit a snap shot on target, but Lynn turned her effort around the post for a City corner.
Midway through the second half, Hibs enjoyed one of their best spells of the game when Captain Joelle Murray hit a strike from the edge of the box over the bar and Rachel Walkingshaw had a low drive which went into the arms of City keeper Lee Alexander.
McSorley almost got a hat-trick in City colours five minutes from time when she met a Leanne Ross corner, but her header went just wide.
Final score Glasgow City 4-0 Hibernian.
City jet off to the Netherlands for the Champions League first round on Tuesday where they will face the Champions of Croatia WFC Osijek on Thursday, FC Birkirkara of Malta on Saturday and then Dutch and Belgium Champions FC Twente on Tuesday 13th August. With only the group winners guaranteed progression to the knock out stages, City face a tough challenge in a very difficult group as they aim to repeat their European success of recent seasons.
You can keep up to date with all of City’s European adventures by following them on twitter @GlasgowCityFC or on their website www.glasgowcityladiesfc.co.uk or on their facebook Glasgowcity.Fc
Pictures: From top to bottom - Trixie the Tiger makes her debut as Glasgow City mascot by Andy Buist; Eilish McSorley celebrates her second goal of the match by Graeme Berry. City celebrate Ruesha Littlejohn's goal and City's fourth of the game, Ruesha Littlejohn on the ball, Player of the Match - City's Emily Thomson with Kirsty Smith of Hibs by Andy Buist. Ful picture report from the match will follow on our facebook Glasgowcity.Fc