The conditions were almost perfect for football today at Riverside Stadium. A very warm sun with a strong wind blowing down the pitch greeted the sides onto the magnificent surface for the opening game of the SWPL2 season. Both sides were significantly different from last season with new players and new management.
Queen’s took charge of the game from the start. Inside two minutes, Abby Callaghan played in Gill Sloey, who in turn shot for goal.
Two minutes later Queen’s were awarded a free kick just outside the St Johnstone box when Abby Callaghan was brought down. Sidey, in goal for St Johnstone, saved Ellie Kane’s effort.
Both sides battled for the ball as the half progressed. It was obvious it was the first competitive game of the season as passes were going astray regularly.
Queen’s were beginning to use the width of the Riverside pitch to their advantage to get behind the Perth side’s defence.
In the 27th minute after great work by Leah Daly down the left, the ball was passed into Lia Tweedle who squared the ball to Gill Sloey. Gill had a shot on goal but was blocked by a St Johnstone defender. Encouraging patterns of play by the Queen’s side at this stage in the game.
St Johnstone had their first real chance of the game in the 34th minute when Robson was through on goal. Her shot was well saved by Queen’s keeper Chloe Gibney.
In the 41st minute Queen’s opened the scoring. Ellie Kane started the move driving down the left win before passing into Gill Sloey. Gill has her shot blocked by the keeper. Leah Daly picked up the loose ball 16 yards out, cut inside and fired a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the net. What a goal!!
Half-time: St. Johnstone 0 Queen’s Park 1
Queen’s started the second half very positively. In the 49th minute Abby Callaghan was through one on one with the keeper only to see her shot blocked.
One minute later Queen’s had the ball in the net after some superb build up play by Nina Fitzsimmons who played Abby Callaghan through. This time Abby drilled the ball across the keeper into the far corner of the net only to see the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.
St Johnstone, who were by now looking dangerous on the fast break, tested Chloe Gibney with a shot. Chloe pushed the ball away for a corner.
In the 65th minute Gill Sloey was replaced by Zoe Clark.
St Johnstone, with the wind behind them this half, were now beginning to get more of the ball.
The Perth side had a series of corners, but Chloe Gibney held onto the crosses very confidently.
In the 78th minute St Johnstone equalised. From an attack down the left the ball was swung over to the right for Jodie Ovens to meet and half-volley the ball into the net from 16 yards out.
In the 85th minute Abby Callaghan was replaced by Chisholm.
Just when it looked like the game would finish 1-1, late into injury time, St Johnstone got the winner. A cross from the left was deflected past Chloe Gibney by a Queen’s defender.
Full-time: St. Johnstone 2 Queen’s Park 1
St Johnstone: Sidey, Carter, Clark, M. Steedman, Cowie, Irvine, Moodie, Newbiggins, Greenshields, Robson, L. Steedman. Subs: MacIver, Trialist, Trialist, Paterson, Cameron, Colyer, Ovens.
Queen’s Park: Gibney, Fraser, Kane, Smith, Davis, Fitzsimmons, Fulton, Callaghan (Chisholm 85′), Daly, Sloey (Clark 65′), Tweedie. Subs not used: Caddell, Ray, Wood, Gill, McJacobs