Celtic booked their slot into the semi-final of the Scottish Women’s Youth Cup with a win against Central Girls at Ainslie Park. Two quickfire first-half goals from Lucy Sinclair, the standout being a thirty-yard strike, put the Celts on their way to victory. In a frustrating game for the losing side, they saw three attempts all rebound off the woodwork.
In what was predicted to be an even game, Central had the upper hand in the early stages of the match. A few minutes in Naomi Welch was set up after a lengthy run from Morgan Cross, but the resulting shot was too tame to cause any worry for Celtic.
Kimberley McAlpine also had an effort for Central early on, striking a free-kick with pure power from distance but seeing the effort rifle over the goalkeeper’s head for a goal kick.
The goal appeared to only be destined for one side when Central came even closer, cracking an effort off the bar in the 15th minute. McAlpine, who appeared to be her team’s main attacking source, forced her way through the centre of the pitch with a powerful bursting run, before gaining a yard and smacking an effort which rebounded off the woodwork, with Celtic clearing the rebound.
Just when it appeared that The Hoops were about to have their defence breached, they broke up the other end and opened the scoring against the run of play. Lucy Sinclair picked up the ball from well outside the penalty area, seized up her options, and set her sights for goal. From 30 yards out she picked the far corner with perfection, few would have expected her to take the opportunity and she pulled it off beautifully.
Minutes later, Celtic displayed their ruthlessness and scored a second goal to extend the gap between the two teams even further. Emma Craig, was the architect as she gained a yard on the right wing, and swung a teasing ball into the penalty area where Lucy Sinclair was waiting eagerly to double her tally. She used the momentum on the ball well and helped guide her effort into the far corner, well beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.
The two goals came as a sucker punch to Central who would have been satisfied with their showing up until Sinclair’s double, and they struggled to create chances for the remainder of the half, despite controlling much of the possession.