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"Supersub" Strachan Snatches Points For Rovers
by Jeremy Ruane
Glenfield Rovers "supersub" Laney Strachan earned her side a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Western Springs at Seddon Fields on July 21, denying "The Hoops" what would have been a deserved point from this absorbing Lotto Northern Premier Women's League encounter.

It now means Springs have lost four games on the bounce, including their last three league fixtures, although they will feel rather hard done by at concluding this clash with nothing to show for their efforts.

'Twas "The Hoops" who first threatened in this contest, Lily Rose Dyer leading the charge. Hayley Bindon raced out of her penalty area to hoof the ball to safety in this sixth minute episode, which instantly ignited a Rovers counter-attack, culminating in Sydney Bultitude battering a twenty-yarder narrowly past Ashleigh Emery's left-hand post, before thrashing another effort from similar distance over the bar seconds later.

Glenfield continued to press, with Jessica Hughes catching Emily Cooper in possession just outside Springs' penalty area in the tenth minute. Liz Milne's shot which followed the youngster's good work was well saved to her right by Ashleigh Emery, who did well to keep out a twenty-five yard free-kick from Katie Rood five minutes later.

Cooper was in the firing line again seconds later, this time literally. Hughes did Jolene Muir twice on the right in this sixteenth minute, culminating in a cross which clearly struck the arm of Main in the area, prompting very strong penalty appeals from the visitors, none of which convinced referee Reza Al Rabea to point to the spot.

The nip and tuck nature of proceedings continued apace, with the next threat on goal materialising half-way through the half, courtesy Cooper's searching sixty yard pass. Its target was Dyer, who dashed between defenders to latch onto it, only to be beaten to the ball by Bindon.

Her clearance ignited a Glenfield counter-attack, which Milne led down the right. She played a neat one-two with Bultitude - a delicious return pass - before bolting to the by-line, from where she swept an inviting low cross to the near post.

Sliding in on cue was Rood, who steered her shot into the side-netting in the presence of Harriet Steele, whose error in the 27th minute was responsible for the game's first goal.

Rood was the recipient of the defender's wayward clearance, and she duly took on three opponents as she weaved her way into the penalty area, at which point she picked out the bottom left-hand corner of Emery's goal with unerring accuracy.

Glenfield's joy was short-lived, for three minutes later, Springs had restored parity. Elaine Murray, Dayna Manak and Rebecca O'Neill worked an opening down the right which allowed Maisy Dewell, who got in behind the defence, to deftly lob the advancing figure of Bindon and begin celebrating as the ball bounced into the net.

Five minutes later, Dewell spurned a great chance to fire the home team in front, but lacked the confidence to shoot with her left foot when the opportunity arose after O'Neill's pass opened up Glenfield's defence.

Six minutes before half-time, a poor pass from Emery put Lily Taitimu in all sorts of unwelcome bother, with Rovers players homing in on her like sharks on blood. Little wonder Bultitude dispossessed her and swiftly fed Rood, whose rising drive was tipped over the bar by Emery, who generally had a very good game.

The resulting corner was cleared to Kate Loye, who had her pocket picked by Sam Muirhead. She played in Dyer, but Bindon was wise to the opportunity, and advanced off her line to save the striker's early shot well.

Berger's intervention prevented Murray's express-paced run down the right - beating two opponents - and subsequent cross from reaching Dyer, while before the interval Emery made fine saves to keep out long-range efforts from Hughes and McHale Perkins.

Immediately after the break, Milne brought the best out of Springs 'keeper with a twenty-five yard effort, prompting a Loye corner which Perkins headed over the bar from close range.

Emery then saved at the second attempt from Rood, after the striker had caught Cooper in possession just outside the area, this denial coming in between openings at the other end of the park, Muirhead going close with a long-range effort after Bindon directed a clearance straight to her, before the 'keeper made amends by once more denying Dyer, after O'Neill's through ball had invited the striker in on goal again.

Fine defensive work by Hannah Mackay-Wright prevented Dyer from capitalising on a Manak pass ten minutes into the second half, after which the game entered a period where defences dominated proceedings, to such an extent that opportunities to score were virtually non-existent.

The only one which came to pass in a twenty-minute phase of play materialised eighteen minutes from time. Rood forced a turnover in the centre circle, and stormed downfield with Milne racing up in support on her right. The midfielder duly received a measured pass in her stride and hit a first-time shot on the run which fizzed narrowly past the far post.

Twelve minutes from time, Dewell upped the anti as both teams started to turn their towards snatching a late winner, her industry engineering an opening for Murray, whose cross zoomed across the goalmouth, just too far in front of the incoming O'Neill for the captain to capitalise upon.

Straight away, Glenfield retaliated, Rood surging through the middle before slipping the ball through to Loye. But Murray, still retreating at pace following her cross from the by-line, hurtled across to avert the danger.

Ten minutes later, the "Irish Express" had recaptured her breath and set off on another lung-busting burst down the right, from where she supplied O'Neill with a pass. Her attempt to link up with Melanie Gooch foundered on Milne's reading of the situation - she had a top game.

Into the first minute of stoppage time, Rovers pressed once more, Rood swooping on a loose ball and unleashing a twenty-five yarder from out of nowhere which screamed narrowly past the post, and surely meant parity would be the outcome.

But the resulting goal-kick was not what it could have been, Springs finding themselves in trouble well inside their defensive third. The ball broke to Rood in the penalty area, and her low cross found Strachan lurking unmarked on the far post - 2-1 Glenfield, thirty seconds before the final whistle sounded to keep Rovers' faint title hopes alive.

Springs:     Emery; Murray, Steele, Cooper, Muir; Manak (Kraakman, 57), Taitimu (Heath, 70), Muirhead; Dewell, O'Neill, Dyer (Gooch, 75)
Glenfield:     Bindon; Stiles (Bain, 46), Berger, Mackay-Wright, Jens; Milne, Perkins, Loye; Hughes (Kelderman, 90), Bultitude (Strachan, 82), Rood
Referee:     Reza Al Rabea

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