Accies narrowly lost 4-3 away to Spartans today in their final pre-season friendly before league action re-commences next week. Sarah Crilly scored 2 for the all-red Accies with Megan Walker grabbing the third.
With the game kicking off in the face of a ferocious wind, Accies took charge straight away with combinations on the right and left side allowing runs from both fullbacks into advanced areas. Kirsten McGuire on the left and Captain Jen King on the right were keen to link with and get beyond Sarah Crilly and Dibsy Templeton and indeed the first chance of the game fell to Megan Walker after good work from Crilly. Megan's shot was blocked but Accies soon made the breakthrough.
Ainsley Douglas and Laura Murray were building well from the back, with Clare Gemmell and Amy Bulloch in the midfield areas looking to collect short and use their dynamism and quick touches to get the ball wide. Dibs Templeton drove in from the left and Cheryl McCulloch used her as a decoy to slip Sarah Crilly in and the she continued her hot steak by dispatching cooly past Rachel Harrison. Dibs was not be outdone and maintained her line high on top of the back 4 with Bulloch, Gemmell and McCulloch all keen to get her bearing down on goal.
However it was her opposite number on the right side who popped up again as Crilly finished beautifully after Dibs herself played Crilly in after great work by the midfield trio of Gemmel, Bulloch and McCulloch. Accies were getting a lot of joy from the left side and another perfect pass from Gemmell fell to Dibs who took it brilliantly first time but unfortunately rattled the post and it fell luckily for Spartans to clear.
The changeover came at 30 mins and the wind stayed gusting as Accies made a few changes. Spartans came out very quickly and won a free kick on the left side which was struck with venom and caught by the wind, wrong footing Megan Walker in goal and allowing Spartans back into the game. The home team stayed in the ascendancy for the next 15 minutes and scored again to make it 2-2. Unfortunately Laura Murray had to come off soon after but a reshuffle saw the imperious Cheryl McCulloch step in and Spartans didn't threaten again in this period.
The final third saw the wind again play a factor but further Accies reshuffling saw some fantastic football played with Cara McBrearty and Jen King back in the fullback positions and keeping the ball on the ground in the cultured style they are known for. Carolina Richardson began to really make an impact on the game with Karen McInally and combined with Jacqui Seagrave to manufacture an opportunity for Karen to score. Unfortunately her shot went by the post however moments later a similar move and quality of combination saw McInally bear down on goal again after Richardsons unbelievable sleight of foot created space on the right side. Karen looked up and instead of shooting cleverly played backwards for the oncoming Megan Walker who flashed in at the back post to finish in the empty goal.
The referee blew at 75 mins to change ends to give both teams 45 mins of the wind and Spartans took advantage and scored to make it 4-3 just minutes from the end however Accies most pivotal moment of the game did not involve a goal or save from one of the (three!) goalkeepers, but the re-appearance after 18 months of the fantastic Chloe Quinn who has been through a lengthy rehab on her knee. Everyone at the club is delighted to see Chloe back on the pitch.
Coach Gary Doctor was pleased with the performance in the difficult conditions.
" I was pleased with the application from all the players today. Everyone except Chloe played at least 60 minutes and we tried a lot of different things both shape-wise and individuals in new or different positions and I was pleased to see the girls adapting and growing as the game went on. We've been really pleased with the standard improving steadily since last week, and like everyone else I am looking forward to the second half of the season"