Celtic Academy 5
Henderson 57', 69', R. McAllister 67', P. McAllister 80'
Report: Scott Lewis
Celtic continued to apply the pressure in their title battle with Hibs, with another dominant victory.
The home side started quickly, creating a number of good chances to get an early opening through the implementation of their intense high press. The best of these chances coming when Emma Craig picked out Molley with a ball over the back line of Morton and the Celtic attacker burst into the area before cutting it back to O’Brien on the penalty spot who could only direct her effort into the arms of Hughes.
Celtic’s domination of the game continued but the number of clear cut chances that they were creating was starting to fade. The hosts were struggling to pull off that final killer pass which in turn created a few more audacious efforts on goal in an attempt to break the deadlock. This nearly paid off when Emily Shearer hit a high, dipping shot from 25 yards out that had the keeper beat but was denied by the tip of the crossbar.
The rest of the half played out in this manner with the Ghirls visibly becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to break Morton down, which had a negative impact on their fluidity. Morton sensed this and started to get a bit more of a foot hold on the game late on in the half and nearly went into the break with the lead. Caitlin McKee beat a number of Celtic players on the edge of the area which allowed her time and space inside the 18-yard box, she struck one at the near post but Kerr was equal to it and made a great save to keep the game level at the break.
The second period started much like the first with the Ghirls starting fast and attacking with intent. They created several opportunities for themselves once again, with the breakthrough coming 12 minutes into the half. Good link up play down the right-hand side of the park between Toolan and Stewart, with the latter eventually receiving the ball in the box and instead of shooting she plays another pass to Henderson, who turns well and slots home.
There was not a drop off in intensity and the Academy side continued to threaten and within a couple of minutes ensured that the game was all but over. In the 67th minute, Kirsty O’Brien burst forward after picking it up from a Morton throw and slid it through to Rebecca McAllister in the box who doubled her side’s lead with a great finish off the near post. Only two minutes later, Henderson got her second of the game and increased her side’s advantage to 3 when a corner that was initially cleared by Morton was picked up by Molley, her in swinging delivery back into the box was met by the head of Henderson, that took it past Hughes and into the back of the net.
Celtic once again scored two goals within quick succession with just over 10 minutes left to play. Henderson’s delivery from another Celtic corner caused a goal mouth scramble that was eventually turned over the line by defender Paige McAllister to claim a rare goal for herself and the fourth for her side. Rebecca McAllister was involved in the making of the hosts next goal only two minutes later as she brought the ball up the goal line and chipped it across the six yard box to Bell, who turned it in with a strong header.
Celtic may have had another though when Warrington whipped an inviting delivery across the face of goal from the left hand side, which was eventually met at the back post by the on running Rebecca McAllister, who volleyed towards goal. The ball was caught by the keeper but strong claims from the attacker and her teammates that the ball was already over the line, the referee decided that it hadn’t and that no goal was to be awarded. The home side had one final chance to make up for this when once again a goal mouth scramble was sparked from a great Simpson delivery but this time Morton were able to clear their lines and see out the danger.
Full time 5-0 to the hosts, who will be delighted with the three points and their second half showing.
Manager Michael Tuohy echoed this with his post-match comment, “We’re pleased with the second half performance in particular today. We felt we started the game ok but didn’t transfer our build up play into goals and as a result we got a bit frustrated and lost our shape in the first half. Second half we came out with a real drive and intensity and that is shown in the final result. We’ll keep working to challenge the players to improve and progress each week and we’re look forward to next week’s test against a strong Queens Park side.”
Celtic XI: Kerr, Toolan, P McAllister, Watson, Warrington, Henderson, Shearer, Molley, O'Brien, Craig, Stewart.
SUBS: R. McAllister, Simpson, Bell
Morton XI: Hughes, Marshall, Williamson, Birrel, Palmer, Small, Power, Darroch, McGeehan, McConnachie, McKee, Birrell