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  • Celtic Women pick up another three points

    Celtic Women pick up another three points

    By: Newsroom Staff on 24 Mar, 2014 11:53

  • Scottish Women’s Premier League
    Sunday, March 23, 2014
    Barrowfield

    CELTIC...2
    Fleeting 44, 84

    HUTCHISON VALE...0

    CELTIC Women continued their good start to the 2014 summer season with a hard-working, energetic performance against the compact defending of Hutchison Vale at Barrowfield.  

    Having scored their 700th competitive goal the previous week at Aberdeen, the Hoops had some difficulty finding the net this time. It took two headed goals by Julie Fleeting to ease Celtic to a deserved 2-0 win. 

    Early in the game it became apparent that it would be difficult to break down Hutchison Vale, who positioned themselves largely in their own half – either by design or because of the attack-minded formation deployed by Celtic.

    Clear-cut opportunities for the Hoops were scarce indeed, in spite of their desire to do so and their almost total domination of the possession. The only attempts at goal in the first 30 minutes were restricted to long-range speculative shots which were either off-target or easily dealt with by the Vale keeper. 

    The only exception to this was a searing, 30-yard shot from Clark which had the Vale crossbar vibrating like a guitar string. The rebound was gathered by Harrison, but she was crowded out by sheer weight of numbers.

    The pattern in that first half was unchanging, with Celtic patiently moving the ball to the flanks to allow space for Johansson on the right and Arthur on the left. 

    Time after time their crosses were blocked, or cleared by central defenders. However, there was no frustration apparent in the Hoops’ play, as they stuck to their game plan.

    Towards the end of the first half, manager David Haley switched the two wide midfielders Jansson and Richards, and it was as a result of this that the breakthrough goal was scored a minute before the break. Richards sent in a powerful low cross which Fleeting converted.

    From the beginning of the second half it was clear that the visitors were determined to be more positive, and as a result of this they played higher up the park. Ironically this played into Celtic’s hands since it provided space for their forwards to run into, a tactic employed by the Hoops in most of their games.

    Immediately Johansson, who had appeared isolated in the first half, was able to gather controlled possession, Jansson in midfield and Harrison became more involved in build-up play and chances were frequently created.

    A combination of inaccuracy in the finishing and an excellent, athletic performance by the Vale goalkeeper prevented any increase in the Hoops’ lead. In particular, she dealt well with shots from Jansson and Fleeting.

    Towards the end, Celtic made several substitutions, with Brownlie was introduced on the right of a back four and almost immediately she provided Fleeting with her second headed goal of the afternoon.  Her early, accurate cross was fizzed into the net as the striker leapt above the Vale defence.

    There was a feeling that the margin of the win should have been greater, but Vale had stuck to their task. 

    Jones, Craig and Arthur had little defending to do, but were always keen to be involved in the build-up play. Jansson, on her home debut, showed fine skill and game-awareness and became more prominent as the game progressed. Clark was composed and used the ball well – also, always willing to shoot from distance.

    Manager David Haley said: “I’m pleased with the fact that we managed to win the game but it certainly wasn’t easy. Hutchison Vale came with a game-plan to defend in numbers and frustrate and for the most part it worked for them.

    “We found it difficult to break them down and create real chances and we were mostly restricted to shots from distance. But credit to the girls, we kept playing our game and managed to score before half-time and from a very well-constructed move and first-class finish from Julie Fleeting in the second half.

    “As well as hitting the crossbar, we dominated possession and certainly in the second half, their goalkeeper pulled off at least four outstanding saves.   

    “We have an exciting fixture next week against Rangers and the players will be eager to continue the good form we have shown of late.”

    Celtic:  Logan, Arthur (Sinclair 73), Clark, Craig, Fleeting, Gilmour-McGuire, Harrison, Jansson, Johansson (Brownlie 73), Jones (Rafferty 65), Richards (Heuchan 65).  Sub not used: Fay

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