Rangers Ladies produced a phenomenal second half display to defeat Stirling University 4-2 at New Tinto Park. The result moved Rangers into the quarter finals of the SSE Scottish Cup.
Lauren Davidson had Rangers in front but two late goals meant Stirling took the lead into the break. It didn’t take long in the second half for Chelsie Watson to get the game level again before Hayley Sinclair then restored Rangers’ lead. Chantelle Brown scored late on to ensure Gers progressed into the next round.
It was almost the dream start for Rangers as Sinclair put an inviting ball across the six yard box. However, it was just out of Davidson’s reach but it was an early warning for Stirling of what was to come.
Holly Napier was presented with a great chance to open the scoring as the ball broke to her in the box. She probably wasn’t expecting the opportunity as she somewhat snapped at the shot on the volley. Sinclair was then denied a great goal as she cut in from the wing and created a one-on-one opportunity for herself, but the Stirling ‘keeper pulled off a great save to keep the game goalless.
You could feel the goal was coming and it arrived just before the half hour mark. Stirling failed to clear their lines which allowed Amy Muir to poke the ball through to Davidson who unleashed a powerful shot into the back of the net.
Rangers were deservedly in front and would continue to dominate the first half but Stirling turned the game on its head shortly before half time.
Jade Gallon hit a free kick for the visitors and sent it through the Rangers wall. The ball took a deflection on its way before finally resting in the corner of the net. From out of nowhere the game was level.
Then, astonishingly, Stirling took the lead. Rachel Ross was adjudged by the referee to have impeded the on rushing Stirling attacker and a penalty was award. Gallon stepped up again and scored her second of the game to give her side the lead at the break.
It would have been easy for the heads to go down and Rangers to fall apart in the second half. However, that couldn’t be further away from what happened.
It took Rangers just two minutes into the second half to get the game level again. Watson headed home a Clare Gemmell corner and Rangers quickly took away all the momentum that Stirling had gained.
It was a fine bit of passing play and a superb team goal that got Rangers back in front. Sinclair played the ball out to Muir who drove into the box and cut the ball Napier. With a perfect, deft touch, Napier laid off Sinclair who skipped past her marker to score in off the post. This was a truly wonderful goal and the better team were in front again.
If truth be told, Rangers were very rarely threatened in a defensive sense. This was due in no small part to the performance of Watson and Terri Donnelly. Any time the ball looked to be heading towards the Rangers’ box it was quickly sent the other way.
With the clock running down, Rangers made sure of their passage to the quarter finals with a fourth goal from the returning Brown, who missed the first half of the season through injury. Once again, the Stirling defence failed to deal with Sinclair as she glided away into space. Sinclair played a perfect cut back for Brown who kept her composure to finish past the helpless ‘keeper.
It was a fine performance from Rangers and one that will give them confidence going into next Sunday’s game against rivals Celtic, which kicks off at 2pm at New Tinto Park.
Report & Picture:David Marshall Rangers FC