Celtic Academy v Falkirk Ladies

Celtic Academy 3

Wands 26', Craig 47', Bell 75'

Falkirk Ladies 0

Report: Scott Lewis

Celtic start the game fast and look threatening right from the off with a fast transition from Watson to McAllister, who used her pace to get behind the Falkirk defence and drive at goal. She tried to pick out Craig who was unmarked in the middle of the box but the covering defender did well to intercept and see the ball out for a corner.

Only a matter of minutes later Celtic once again used their pace to get in behind the visitors back line and they looked certain to open the scoring when Craig had the ball at her feet, one on one with the keeper 12 yards out, but her low dink over the keeper rolled wide of the far post. The striker found herself clean through almost immediately after, with the visitor’s goalkeeper this time denying her with a good save down low as she rushed out.

Craig yet again was the fore of Celtic’s attack when she picked the ball up on the left-hand side of the area, cut inside and this time beat the keeper but was denied by the crossbar. She would have felt unlucky not to have put her team ahead, maybe not for the first occasion in the opening minutes.

After the opening period of Celtic domination, Falkirk started to get a grip of the game and created opportunities for themselves going forward, looking threatening whilst doing so.

Even with Falkirk seeing more of the ball, the hosts continued to create as many opportunities going forward, with McAllister having another great opportunity from inside the box that she could only drag wide of the post. The pressure paid off in the 26th minute when Wands won the header from a Falkirk corner and found McAllister on the edge of their own area, who brought the ball up the pitch quickly and set through Craig. The striker brought the ball along the goal line from out wide and squared it across to Wands to finish the move by tapping in from 6 yards out.

Celtic continued to create chances for themselves but struggled to fulfil their potential closing out the half and looked much less fluid than they have been for the majority of the season. A relatively dominant first half performance from the hosts, albeit underwhelming, but it was very much game on for the second half.

Kirsty O’Brien replaced Rebecca McAllister at the break and seemed to make an instant impact, injecting a lot of energy and creativity into the hosts. She almost made the perfect start from a corner, when she ran onto Henderson’s near post delivery and volleyed it towards the target, only to be denied by the woodwork.

The Ghirls looked much improved in the second half and just before the hour mark they doubled their advantage with Craig getting her goal, as she picked the ball up on the edge of the area, took a touch and picked out the far bottom corner. A composed finish from the striker.

Minutes later Celtic nearly got their second in quick succession when Molley beat a number of players on the edge of the area before firing the ball towards the top corner, which was impressively clawed away by the visitor’s goal keeper, who was also quick to react to Nagle’s attempted follow up.

Falkirk then had their best chance of the match, when Smith delivered a brilliant ball from a free kick to the edge of the 6-yard box which was met by Gardner but was closed down brilliantly by Hamilton in goal who made herself big to block the striker’s effort and maintain her side’s two goal advantage.

Bell replaced Molley on 72 minutes, with the young striker making an instant impact, scoring only 3 minutes after coming on with a brilliant one touch finish across Adamson into the bottom corner. 3-0 with 15 minutes left to play.

This seemed to seal the game for the hoops and they continued to dominate and push for more goals, with the best chance falling to substitute defender Emily Shearer who played a brilliant 1-2 on the edge of the area with Bell, which left her one on one with Adamson on the penalty spot but she could only fire into the body of the keeper who made another good save to deny the Ghirls from adding another right at the death.

Full time, 3-0 to the hosts. A very respectable performance from the visitors who made the afternoon very difficult for the hosts.

Manager Michael Tuohy reflected, “We’re pleased to start the second half of the season with a positive result. I think our performance can be improved upon, particularly our first half performance.

However, our second half showing was much more like us. We were more focused in our decision making with the ball, pressed with more intent and in the end could have been more clinical with the chances we created. A reasonable starting point with plenty of room to improve before the next game.”

Celtic Academy XI: Hamilton , Toolan, Nagle, Watson, Warrington, Henderson, Stewart, Molley, Wands, McAllister, Craig.

Subs: Bell, O'Brien, McFarlane, Shearer.

Falkirk Ladies XI: Adamson, Reid, Honeyman, Cummings, Duffy, Gallacher, Trotter, Scott, Gardiner, Shanks, Smith.

Subs: Dean, Anderson, Paton.