Scottish Daily Mail


- ALISON McCONNELL at Celtic Park

Fran aLOnSO’S side brought out the disco lights at Celtic Park as a record crowd for a Scottish women’s game of 9,553 watched them keep their title dream alive.

a riveting second-half display turned a game that had looked to be slipping away from Celtic on its head. Goals from natasha Flint, Claire O’riordan and Kit Loferski overcame Lauren Davidson’s 20th-minute opener for the visitors.

City will kick themselves for not putting the game to bed after dominating the opening 45 minutes. By the time Flint drew Celtic level — and inspired by a vocal crowd who had stayed with alonso’s team for the duration of the game — there was a sense of what was to come.

It means there are now just two points separating league leaders City from Celtic and rangers, with alonso’s side boasting the better goal difference.

There are just two games remaining and, with rangers hosting City on the final day of the season, an intriguing finale to this campaign is guaranteed.

alonso revealed his delight at getting the chance to play at Celtic Park and said: ‘It was an incredible second half. I am extremely proud of the girls.

‘It was a game of two halves. We were extremely disappoint­ed with the first half. I thought the girls were a bit intimidate­d by the atmosphere. We had some very strong words at half-time.

‘The message was: “nine thousand people, you’re not making them proud at all. Show some pride, show some passion.” and, second half, just wow. What a performanc­e.

‘I’m so proud of the club for making this happen. It is not 60,000 but this is a record and we felt them, we heard them. I am so happy that we won for them.

‘It is one of my best nights ever in football. This is a team of fighters and we never give up. If we win on Sunday, we take it to the last day and, whoever you support, this is what you want for the league.’

Both sets of players were given a noisy welcome and it was City who settled quicker as Celtic struggled to find their fluency early in the game.

Indeed, there was a certain inevitabil­ity about City taking the lead. Jenna Clark played a routine pass but Chloe Craig took her eye off the ball and allowed Davidson to nick in and take possession. She drove into the box before weaving her way past O’riordan and spearing a low effort into the net.

With their tails up, Priscila Chinchilla then had an effort straight into the arms of Pamela Tajonar in the Celtic goal as City looked to turn the screw.

It took a late interventi­on from Caitlin Hayes to stop Chinchilla after a long ball from amy Muir had caught out the Parkhead back line and allowed the Costa rican internatio­nalist to sail unchalleng­ed into the box. The weight of the occasion seemed to be affecting Celtic’s performanc­e, with the experience of the seasoned league winners showing.

The Parkhead side were in better form in the second period with Hayes almost finding a leveller after Lee Gibson had slapped ineffectiv­ely at a Jacynta free-kick and the ball bobbled dangerousl­y in the box.

It was Flint who drew Celtic level with a venomous effort from the edge of the box after amy Gallacher had set the ball into her path. Her low strike beat Lee Gibson at her bottom left-hand side.

a minute later, Flint sent another shot narrowly over the bar as she again unleashed a fierce drive from the edge of the box.

now it was City’s turn to look nervous as Celtic found a confidence that had eluded them for much of the hour that had gone before.

Jacynta’s corner was met by the head of O’riordan and seemed to take a slight deflection off the shoulder of Claire Walsh before crossing the line.

alonso bolted down the touchline to celebrate with the noisy band of supporters behind the goal.

By that point, City looked thoroughly deflated. and it got worse for them when substitute Loferski made sure of the win. Holding off Walsh and Jenna Clark, she collected from Maria Mcaneny before sending a low effort into the back of the net.

Beaten boss Leanne ross said ‘We ran out of steam and Celtic took the chances that they created. When there is an atmosphere, the players get energy from that.

‘I thought it was great to get those numbers and I hope they enjoyed the game.’

The challenge for ross now is to pick City up for what promises to be a high-octane conclusion to the campaign.

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? The fightback starts here: Flint (second from right) celebrates her equaliser
The fightback starts here: Flint (second from right) celebrates her equaliser

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom