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Edinburgh Napier start the season with big win

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Edinburgh Napier Women started their season with a stunning 5-1 win over Abertay. The Dundee Side - who until this season played in the league above the home side - were left stunned by Olivia McRobert’s brace and late goals from Josephine Haring, Carly Noble and Victoria Rottman that added gloss to the scoreline. Helene Vieth pulled one back at the death for the Abertay.
 
The opening fifteen minute spell Napier dominated: they opened the scoring when debutant striker Olivia McRobert tapped home on the eighth minute mark. Kim Goodchild had robbed the onrushing Abertay attacker and in a flash Napier’s swift counter attack resulted in the team’s first goal of the season.
 
Ellen Clarke should really have doubled their advantage straight from the restart. Another cross from the right hand side gave her a glaring opportunity to score. With Abertay already holding their despairing hands in their head, Clarke somehow hit the post.
 
They almost paid for that miss when Abertay had an indirect free kick twelve yards out. Hagring made a brave block that stopped a goal ward blast and from the rebound Niamh McCann volleyed narrowly wide.
 
Napier nearly hit back with a free kick of their own. The excellent Hannah Markley, who had already tested Erin McLagan with a shot from distance, showed she can strike a ball with her excellent curling free-kick that crashed off the postage stamp and away to safety. 
 
Five minutes before half time, Abertay’s Rachel Cunningham let fly with a goal bound effort. Carly Noble took one for the team by throwing herself at the ball. Luckily for Napier, the ball rocketed off the midfielder’s stomach and not the back of the net.
 
Noble shortly afterward tried her luck up the other end but her left-footed shot from twenty five yards was comfortable for McLagan.
 
In first half injury time, winger Victoria Rottman almost found the back of the net with a cross that blew goal bound, deceiving many of the onlooking spectators. 
Once the second half began it was just an onslaught at the Abertay goal. Napier had the bulk of the possession and added four more goals on route to a clinical victory.
 
And in fact, the first real action of note in the second period was McRobert’s goal to make it 2-0. The lone striker pressed the ball high, winning the ball on the edge of the area and then blasting decisively home.
 
Beth Warwick almost immediately cut the deficit back down to one, but her shot deflected narrowly wide for a corner.
 
A period of relative calm ensued, with Napier enjoying the bulk of the ball but having little to show for it. 
 
That changed eight minutes from time as Josephine Hagring sealed victory when she was brought down in the box and converted the subsequent penalty.
 
Noble almost immediately made it four with a long range blast at the end.
 
The fourth goal did come shortly after though. Markley (who’s gritty box to box performance probably deserved a goal) completely miscued an easy volley: fortunately from a Napier perspective it still managed to fall kindly for Rottman to fire into the roof of the net.
 
While Markley couldn't top off her performance with a goal, her centre midfielder partner and equally terrific standout Noble did. She gathered the ball on the age of the area before belting it into the top right corner.
 
Abertay got a late consolation through Helene Vieth, but by then it was already Napier’s day.
 
A thoroughly deserved victory for Napier who - stung by a controversial league reconstruction that denied them promotion last year - are aiming to be promoted this year. They’ve probably got one eye on winning the league outright.
 
And with performances like this, they haven't done their chances any harm at all as they start the season with a bang.

Kyle Brown | YFS South East Region Journalist
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