Renfrew Edge Out Spiders With Last Gasp Spot Kick

Renfrew Ladies 5 Queens Park Ladies 4

Renfrew Ladies secured a second league win, and maintained their 100% record after twice fought back from being two behind against a much-improved Spiders side they comfortably beat 5-0 last June. Queens Park started with an XI that included only two players that turned out that day, Rebecca Gray and Ashley McKeown.

The sides in action at New Western Park.

Queens started on the front foot, constantly probing the Renfrew defence without posing much of a threat. However, that changed after the half hour when Amy Cromar and then McKeown both scored to put the visitors 2-0 in front. But that goal machine that is Claire Rae reduced the deficit minutes later, allowing the hosts to go in at the break just the one goal down.

The second half started slowly, then exploded into life when Rae pulled Renfrew level. Queens immediately struck back when McKeown struck not once, but twice, to put her side 4-2 in front. But Renfrew struck back quickly with goals from Rae and Fitzpatrick, to leaving the match on a knife edge going into the final minutes until Rae secured victory from the penalty spot.

Renfrew Coach Aldo Hunter said afterwards “It was a wee bit scrappy at the start, we were good in attack and defensively we need to work on a few things. “They were a totally different side from last year and have signed a few players since we last met. “It was a tough game and they made it a real battle for us, so it was good to get a victory in the end.”

Queens Park started sprightly, their attacks frequent and yet ineffective until Rebecca Gray found McKeown with a ball that left her one on one with McQuillan. She shimmied skilfully past the keeper and then went to ground, wasting a chance and leaving the referee with a decision to make, and he chose to caution the striker.

The Stallions answered with a ball forward from Captain Janice McIntyre that managed to pick out Emma Baird. The ball was quickly played over the top and wide to Claire Rae running in from the right, cutting inside she swivelled to place the ball in at the back post, but keeper Zoe McCarney saved what looked like a certain lead for Renfrew.

The deadlock was finally broken just on the half hour after McQuillan saved from a Cromar strike for a corner kick. The ball was swung in and cleared before it was sent back toward the back post where Cromar headed over the goal line. Within three minutes the lead was two, after McKeown turned in from a MacIntyre cross.

But as this game wore on, it became apparent that one goal had a habit of following another and that was the case when Renfrew pulled one back ten minutes before the half time break. Claire Rae read the flight of a headed ball back to the Queens keeper, nipped in and stole the ball, then calmly sent it sailing over the keeper’s head from 12 yards.

The second half was a more pedestrian affair until it finally burst into life on the hour, when a ball over the top from McIntyre found Sammyjo Smith wide on the right, her cross found Rae to level from close range. The score wasn’t level for long as Queens went back in front within 60 seconds when McKeown fired past the keeper from the edge of the 18-yard line.

The momentum looked to have swung entirely in the visitors favour when Teresa O’Keeffe made a blistering run through the centre of the Renfrew defence, rolled the ball wide for McKeown to blast high into the roof of the Renfrew net and restore the Spiders two-goal lead and claiming her first hat trick of the season.

But it took only three minutes for the momentum to start creeping back toward the hosts, when a 35-yard free kick was launched into the Queens penalty area, and you guessed it, Rae was on hand to claim the second hat trick of the afternoon. The equaliser came from a Smith corner, that was headed on by Murphy for Lindsay Fitzpatrick to slam home from 15 yards.

The game opened right up as both sides ran from end to end in search of a winner, but it was Renfrew that found it when the Queens keeper brought down Rae as they both raced for the ball. After a couple of minutes, Rae returned to her feet, dusted herself down and converted the spot kick with only two minutes of time left and claim another three points.

Renfrew: McQuillan, Murphy, McIntyre, Smith, McDonald, Baird, Rae, Fitzpatrick, O’Neill (Laird 69), Baillie (Fairley 74), Gould (McGarrell 55). Subs Unused: Hawthorn, Laird.

Goals: Rae 35, 61, 68, 88 pen, Fitzpatrick 73.

Queens Park: McCarney, Thomson, Myles, O’Keeffe, McElhinney, Cleary, Cromer, Templeton, McKeown, MacIntyre, Gray. Subs Unused: Joyce, Arcari, Walker.

Goals: Cromar 28, McKeown 31, 62, 65.

Cautions: McKeown.

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