MATCH REPORT: FALKIRK WOMEN 2-1 GRAMPIAN LADIES

Falkirk took on unbeaten Grampian at home on Sunday.

Our girls started strongly, and on four separate occasions in the opening fifteen minutes new winger Claudia Stewart found space on the right to run beyond the defence and get shots away. Three were saved by the keeper, who would go on to have a major impact in the game.

A well worked move from a throw in involving four or five players and quick passing resulted in a shot from the edge of the six-yard box by Suzanne Wyatt. The keeper was equal to it, saving at point-blank range. The keeper also denied Wyatt when her curling shot looked destined for the inside of the post until she got a fingertip on it.

Despite all of the above, the teams were roughly equal in terms of possession. Grampian were well in the game but couldn’t create any chances which troubled goalkeeper Rachel Pirie, until the 40th minute, when they scored with their first shot on target of the game. Fortunately, the referee came to the rescue and ruled it out for an obstruction on Pirie, though in fairness the Grampian player also looked to be offside, and the teams went in level at the break.

Centre half Iona Bridges must have been frustrated at her forwards inability to score, because just after the second half began she decided to go on a mazy run up the entire length of the field. She went the full distance, beating several players as she went, and was only stopped by the keeper rushing off her line. The goalie was playing as a sweeper keeper and had been very effective in the role too.

Falkirk should have had a penalty in the 58th minute when Eva Rule was tripped by the keeper as she ran beyond her, but Rule did the honest thing by staying on her feet which may have contributed to the referee missing the offence. Rule had a further chance when she was set up by Stewart but from just inside the box, she put her shot wide. Wyatt had the next chance when the ball fell to her feet following a corner but she put it over the bar.

The deadlock was finally broken on 71 minutes. Rule picked up the ball in midfield, slipped it wide to Stewart and her cross appeared to come off the face of the bar. Ellie Roberts was waiting from a striker’s favourite distance – half a yard out – and she made no mistake.

Eight minutes later it was two. The sweeper keeper made up her first and probably only mistake of the game, because this time she cleared the ball into an area where Charlotte Holden could intercept. The midfielder instantly brought it under control and looked up to see the keeper well off her line. Holden showed both composure and skill to loft it over the keeper and into the net for the decisive second goal.

After that Grampian started to put some pressure on in an attempt to get back into the game. As they did so they left gaps at the back which should have been exploited, but yet again the keeper rushed out to make stops from Roberts, Wyatt and substitute Avril Johnstone.

In the last minutes Grampian pulled one back after a corner wasn’t properly cleared. They then had two further corners in injury time, but the determination and teamwork that’s taken our girls to the top of the league ensured we didn’t concede again. So, it’s now five wins out of five for the girls in navy blue. They get a break next weekend due to receiving a bye in the cup.

Team: – Rachel Pirie, Lauren Shaw, Iona Bridges, Laura Dickson, Amy Rafferty, Rhianne Ferguson (sub Charlotte Holden), Lauren Simmons, Claudia Stewart (sub Kirsty McLeod), Ellie Roberts, Suzanne Wyatt, Eva Rule (sub Avril Johnstone). Subs not used Sarah-Louise Waugh, Emma Meaney, Aimee Duffy, Fiona Gardner.

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