SWFL 1 South: Celtic Academy v Blackburn United

Celtic Academy 6

Stewart 4', 14', Craig 44', Nagle 51', Molley 81', Macleod 88'

Blackburn United Ladies 1

Cherry 69'

Celtic secured back-to-back wins with a dominant home victory over Blackburn United Ladies.

Report: Scott Lewis

The hosts got on the score sheet early, with Craig bringing the ball up the goal line well before sending a great delivery across the six-yard box that Shearer couldn’t latch on to, but her run dragged away the defender which left Stewart alone at the back post who latched onto the ball and put it past Sutter in goal.

Only a minute later they had an opportunity to get another as Stewart won the header from a Blackburn goal kick, the visitors were playing an extremely high defensive line that allowed Molley to run in behind and be first to Stewart’s header. The Blackburn defender covered well and pressed Molley further wide that she would have liked, before eventually blocking her shot. Great defending but a warning for the visitors.

It wasn’t long before both Celtic and Stewart got their second of the game, after Henderson’s initial cross from the right was blocked, she done excellently to follow it up herself and win the ball back before passing it to Shearer on the corner of the box who then cut it across the box which allowed Stewart to tap in from close range for her second.

Celtic continued to press Blackburn and were creating plenty of chances for themselves. Craig and Henderson both went close from long distance efforts, that forced good saves from Sutter.

Blackburn had their first real chance as half time approached, when the ball spilled through to Wood inside the area, but Kerr was quick to close her down and make a great save from close range to deny her.

It was the Hoops who had the final chance of the half as Alise Stewart brought the ball into the box from the right and played into Craig at the front post who was brought down. A penalty was awarded and it was Craig who stepped up to take it. She sent the keeper the wrong way and made it 3-0 going into the break.

Stewart nearly got her hat trick early on in the second period after a corner dropped to her and she managed to hold her player off on the edge of the six-yard box but fired her shot over the bar.

The Ghirls did add another minutes later from a corner, as Nagle timed her run perfectly to get on the end of Henderson’s delivery and volley the ball in to increase the margin to 4.

Blackburn were looking better going forward as Norris and Cherry linked up well on the edge of the area that posed the hosts some problems, but they were able to deal with it and clear.

With just over 20 minutes to go, they did manage to get one back as a freekick wasn’t properly cleared by Celtic on two occasions and when it eventually dropped to Cherry, she made no mistake in picking out the far corner of the net.

Molley returned the margin back to 4 as Craig played a great ball from the left touchline into the area, that Stewart could have latched onto at the front post but she selflessly left for Molley to get her name on the scoresheet.

Blackburn had one final chance to get another as substitute Jaconelli was picked out in space at the far side of the box, her effort fizzed towards the bottom corner but Kerr was equal to it and made a fantastic save.

Just like the week before, substitute Machaela Macleod stepped up in the dying minutes and scored a great goal from outside the area, albeit this time in less dramatic fashion but no less impressive. The game finished 6-1 to Celtic Academy who continue to press for the league title.

Academy manager Michael Tuohy reflected on the match, “We’re pleased with the convincing result today. First half despite being 3-0 up we weren’t as fluid as we would’ve liked. In the second we felt that we made some tweaks and maintained long spells of dominance in the game. I’m particularly pleased for all of the National Performance 19s squad who made the step up today and acquitted themselves very well.”

Celtic XI: Kerr, Watson, Nagle, P.McAllister, Warrington, Henderson, R.McAllister, Shearer, Molley, Craig, Stewart.

Subs: Hamilton, Skelton, MacLeod, Brown, Ahira

Blackburn XI: Sutter, Wilson, Norris, Frew, Wood, Murphy, Esen, Mabon, Downs, Connor, Cherry

Sub: Jaconelli