With kick-off approaching of the SWF Cup Quarter Final between Central Girls and Glasgow Celtic, many thought the meeting would prove to be the tie of the round. Both teams are home to a number of Scotland internationalists and have produced fine spectacles in previous encounters.
It was to be Central Girls who claimed a place in the semi-final. Leading at the break courtesy of a rifled penalty from Chelsea McEachran, the home side dominated the second half and emerged winners at full time with a further three goals to add to the tally. Rhianne Ferguson lashed home before McEachran scored from the spot for a second time. Kirstie McIntosh rounded off a successful day’s work with a late free kick to ensure an emphatic 4-0 victory.
The initial proceedings were somewhat cagey with both sides looking to find their bearings on the wide pitch. McIntosh and Morgan Cross were combining well in the early stages, hinting at what was to come. The first clear-cut opportunity of the tie would fall to Central in the eighth minute when McIntosh drew a foul on the edge of the area. Kim McAlpine bent the ball expertly over the wall and provoked a great reaction stop from Celtic goalkeeper Jade Baillie.
The resulting corner was curled in deep toward the back post and fell to Ellie Kane who knocked the ball just beyond the post. The game had kickstarted into life and Central nearly opened the scoring in an almost identical scenario from another corner kick. In the 14th minute McIntosh hung the ball into the box for Cross who must have thought she had found the net with the inside of her foot but was denied by a last-ditch goal-line clearance from the Celtic defence. Central Girls were beginning to assert pressure with the impressive Cross running the channels and McIntosh controlling the midfield.
The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute. McIntosh threaded an inch-perfect ball through for Cross, who was adjudged to have been clipped by Baillie inside the penalty area. A penalty was awarded as well as a yellow card for the Celtic goalkeeper. McEachran made no mistake drilling her penalty high into the middle of the goal.
Celtic almost found themselves level in the 32nd minute when a lofted ball into the box found Eleanor Howard in space. Howard was unfortunate to miscontrol her effort six yards from goal. Seconds before the half-time whistle Nicola Millar’s snapshot from the right for Celtic dropped wide of the left post and meant that the score remained 1-0 at the halfway stage.