Love-Shine’s through to round three of the cup

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Goals from Jo Love and Claire Shine secured Glasgow City’s passage through to the Scottish Cup Third Round with a 2-0 win over Spartans, writes Tim Oliver.

It took just six minutes for City to open the scoring as Love scored from a Leanne Ross free-kick. The second came early in the second half as Shine scored one-on-one with the keeper. Although at times City were frustrated by Spartans’ pressing, City’s control of the ball meant the home side rarely troubled Lee Alexander in goal.

The game began with a stop-start character due to a succession of niggly fouls, but City scored with the game’s first chance when Erin Cuthbert was fouled on the right-wing. Leanne Ross drove the free-kick into the box, finding Love whose first-time shot ended up in the back of the net despite Spartans’ keeper Rachel Harrison getting a strong hand to it.

City could have doubled their lead moments later, but Susan Fairlie headed Ross’ corner wide.

The home side’s first chance came from an error from the visitors as Love passed straight to Michelle Russell who tried to place her shot in the bottom-left corner, but Alexander made a good save to deny her.

Despite this momentary lapse in concentration City were on top and full of intensity, and they forced Spartans into a mistake. Fairlie chased down a long ball, robbed Alana Marshall of possession before setting up Claire Shine, but the Cork born player shot straight at Harrison.

City had a couple of great chances towards the end of the first half. Shine’s diagonal pass played Abbi Grant into the box, but her shot was too close to Harrison. And then Grant picked out Fairlie who failed to make a clean contact on her shot, which was saved at the near post.

City started the second half with a real intensity that immediately created a chance. Ross floated a corner towards the far post where Cheryl McCulloch’s header hit the woodwork, and Love fired the rebound over.

And then City got their second. Shine broke into the box and tried to nutmeg Harrison who made enough contact with her legs to stop the ball going over the line, but not enough to present Shine with an empty net to score in.

Now in full command of the game, City had a chance to increase their lead further when Ross whipped a corner towards the near post where McCulloch volleyed wide.

Soon after coming on, Lauren McMurchie tried her luck from distance but her driven shot just went wide. Then Grant’s deep cross picked out Shine, but her glancing header skimmed the far post. McMurchie had another attempt on goal, but it hit Suzy Shepherd’s head, taking the venom out of the shot and made it an easier save.

Towards the end of the match, Spartans started to pose City some questions. Marshall’s dangerous cross was well claimed by Alexander, just ahead of Morgan Mitchell. Then Kirsty McLaughlin cut the ball back across goal to Mitchell whose first-time shot went over.

But it was always City who looked the likelier team to score. Denise O’Sullivan’s diagonal pass sent Fairlie into the box, but she was forced wide by Ciara Barnes and she ended up shooting into the side-netting. And then Fairlie was played into the box, and her chip over Harrison narrowly missed the target.

It perhaps wasn’t a vintage City performance, but they controlled the game and in the end did more than enough to get through.