Celtic kicked off their 2019/20 SWPL campaign, in what was a historic night for the club, with a deserved 2-1 victory over current 13-in-a-row champions, Glasgow City.
As well as being the clubs first league game as a professional side, it was new manager, Fran Alonso’s first league game in charge of the club. The Spaniard made just one change to his side that had demolished St Johnstone 6-0 last weekend, bringing new signing Anita Marcos straight into the team after signing from Atletico Madrid during the week, to replace Kathleen McGovern.
At the start of the game, it was end to end with both sides trying to get a grasp of each other’s game plan early on. However, it was Celtic who looked most threatening.
The first chance fell to new signing, Anita who was unlucky not to give Celtic the lead. After some nice play down the left-hand side, Lisa Robertson delivered a wonderful cross into the box and Anita’s header came inches away from going in, coming off the post after just seven minutes.
Celtic were once again looking the more threatening of the two sides, this time due to Sarah Ewens. She cut inside her marker well, but her effort was easy enough for Alexander to save in the Glasgow City goal.
Another attempt saw Celtic strike the woodwork again. This time it was Sarah Teegarden for whom the space seemed to just open. The effort was extremely close, hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing out.
It seemed as though City were starting to turn the screw a little more. They had two further opportunities in the first half, one being blocked well by the Celtic defence, the other being a comfortable save for Chloe Logan in goal.
At half time Celtic were the better team and deserved to be a taking a lead going in to the second half. The majority of Celtic attacks were coming down the left-hand side with the duo of young fullback Chloe Warrington and Sarah Ewens linking up brilliantly and looked dangerous. Yet somehow Celtic hadn’t scored in this first half of football.
However, it was Glasgow City who reacted the quickest after the break, opening the scoring early on. Celtic failed to clear the ball from the corner and after a bit of a scramble it somehow ended up in the back of the net.
It was a frantic start to the half as, shortly after, Celtic drew level. Sarah Ewens once again cut in off the left hand side and beat her marker. She hit an unbelievable strike which sailed over Alexander and into the top right-hand corner. It was an outstanding effort from Ewens who really stood out during the game.
The conditions were beginning to have an even bigger impact on the game, with the wind and rain getting worse. In the middle of the park it was becoming particularly scrappy and difficult for defenders on both sides to deal with high balls.
Late on, City really should have scored their second of the game. A free kick was delivered from a wide position and the City attacker was given a free header at the front post. Luckily for the Celtic defence she couldn’t get the right connection on the ball, hitting the side netting.
As the game looked to be dying out, and with both teams nearly accepting they would be taking one point away from the game, captain fantastic Kelly Clark stepped up to score the winner with pretty much the last touch of the ball. This time, it was Glasgow City who failed to clear the corner. The ball fell to the feet of Clark who thundered it home into the bottom corner.
The Cynic player of the match was Sarah Ewens for the impact she had throughout. She looked dangerous every time she was given the ball and linked up very well down the left with Chloe Warrington. However, this evening any of the starting line-up probably could have been given player of the match, after a superb performance to start the league campaign.
A historic night for the club ended on the perfect note. The captain scoring a winner, with the last touch of the ball. You could see how much beating the current champions meant to Fran and the players after the game. Hopefully this is only just the beginning for the club and there is much more to come in both the short and long-term future.