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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle WFC v Celtic WFC – October 2nd 2022

Thistle could scarcely have been given a tougher challenge than facing current holders Celtic in the opening round of the Sky Sports Cup and although Celtic, as widely expected, progressed to the next round that progress didn’t come without a fight

Brian Graham was required to make two changes from the side that defeated Glasgow Women in such emphatic fashion seven days earlier, with Rosie Slater and Amy Bulloch starting with Abbie Ferguson, understandably prevented from playing against her parent club, and Jordan McLintock missing out.

It was Celtic that started the game on the front foot with Thistle captain Demi Falconer making an important block inside the Thistle penalty box just after the five-minute mark. Celtic were even closer to an early lead sixty seconds later with Megan Cunningham making an excellent save low to her left to deny Amy Gallacher. That wouldn’t be the last impressive save that Cunningham would make across the 90 minutes of action.

Cunningham did look beaten, however, in the 12th minute but Jacynta’s effort just cleared the Thistle crossbar.

Celtic though did take the lead after 15 minutes. Thistle were caught out a little by a quickly taken Celtic free kick and when a cross came over from the left, Ashworth-Clifford was able to stoop and head the ball beyond the reach of Cunningham.

A Rachel Donaldson shot that flashed wide of goal after some good pressing play from Thistle offered hope, but a second decisive Celtic goal arrived after 27 minutes and underlined the quality contained within their team. A perfectly judged through ball from Chance put Jacynta through on goal and a player of her ability and talent wasn’t going to pass up on that kind of opportunity as she confidently rolled the ball past Cunningham and into the net.

With a two-goal lead and with two thirds of the game still to play this was surely now going to be an easy afternoon and a comfortable win for Celtic. Not a bit of it. It was Thistle that had the better of the remainder of the first half and for large chunks of the second, although Cunnigham made another fine stop before half-time when denying Craig.

A Thistle goal before the break would have well and truly put the home side right back into the game, and there were opportunities to grab that goal. A Cara Henderson free kick from the right posed the Celtic defence problems with Clare Docherty and Cheryl McCulloch in quick succession seeing shots blocked and Rachel Donaldson was able to direct a header from a Henderson cross towards the Celtic goal that Tajonar was able to save.

Ten minutes after the restart and opportunity knocked once again for Thistle as Linzi Taylor broke from the heart of the Thistle midfield. Her shot was blocked with the ball just for a second looking as if it would spin direct into Docherty’s path to Taylor’s left but instead spun away from Docherty.

A Henderson free kick from wide on the Thistle left didn’t clear the Celtic crossbar by much and Taylor hooked a shot towards goal that Tajonar collected as The Jags looked for a toe hold in a game that was becoming increasingly difficult for Celtic. The goal that could have set up a grandstand finish just wouldn’t come for Thistle though.

Indeed, it was Celtic that came the closest to adding to the score line with Cunningham making a good low reaction save close to her left hand.

Despite the defeat this was an impressive performance from Thistle against one of the top sides in the Scottish game reflecting on the development and increasing maturity of this group of players.

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