SWPL1 Excelsior Stadium Airdrie, 2 April 2023.
Celtic FC Women 2 – 0 Patrick Thistle
Gallacher (38) and Own goal (70)
Today saw the first home matchday of the SWPL1 split for Celtic FC Women as they entertained sixth placed Partick Thistle at the Excelsior Stadium and cut the lead over Glasgow City at the top of the table to five points, with both leaders City and theRangers not in action until later this afternoon.
This was a professional performance from the Hoops, which arguably deserved more goals than the 2-0 win for Fran Alonso’s side delivered, as Amy Gallacher and an own goal following excellent play from Shen Menglu saw Celtic over the line and maintained the Hoops title challenge following Monday night’s late, late share of the spoils in the Glasgow Derby.
The Hoops started strongly in this one forcing a series of early corners and a Jacynta shot from distance was also well held before Taylor Otto looked to have given Celtic the lead after 14 minutes, only for the effort to be disallowed for an earlier foul.
Kit Loferski making her full debut for Celtic replacing Natalie Ross in the starting line-up could have grabbed her first goal but her 24th minute header came was unfortunate to come back of the post. But with seven minutes to play before half-time Amy Gallacher gave Celtic a deserved lead with a superb run into space before driving forward with the ball and sending a flawless finish into the net to put Celtic a goal to the good at half-time, with Shen denied a goal just prior to the break following a low drilled effort that went just wide, and Gallacher also unlucky not to grab ger second of the afternoon following Jacynta being brought down at the edge of the box, with Gallacher’s effort rising just too high.
Celtic started the second half on the front foot yet again as Gallacher again drove into the Thistle box, took aim and her shot ricocheted back where it eventually reached Loferski however the soaring finish was very much off target.
Celtic could have been 2-0 up nine minutes into the second half as a looping Olivia Chance delivery found Hayes at the back post, only for Celtic’s goalscoring saviour from Monday night’s Glasgow Derby to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag.
But Celtic weren’t to be denied for long, and the second and winning goal came with twenty minutes left to play, as Shen Menglu did brilliantly to not only get to the by-line but also to cut the ball back ,where the ball eventually made it’s way into the net courtesy of the Thistle defence, however, lucky as it may have been, it was a just outcome for the sheer determination of player of the month nominee for March, Menglu.
The game may have lacked for goals but Celtic deserved their 2-0 win and arguably could have scored more, but the three points for Celtic puts them five points off Glasgow City at the top of the SWPL table with City’s City facing Hearts 3pm, whilst third placed theRangers play Hibs on BBC Alba with a 4.10pm start.
It’s been an eventful week for Fran Alonso and his team, but after grabbing a share of the soils late in the day at Broadwood on Monday nothing more than three points in Airdrie this afternoon would have sufficed.
And whilst more goals than the two scored today would have been welcome, grabbing the points was the most important outcome and Celtic did so comfortably today and as such piled the pressure on to top of the table City and third placed theRangers with both sides facing tough challenges later this afternoon.