RANGERS had hoped to get back to winning ways in the Scottish Women’s Premier League on Sunday but they failed to do so against Spartans at New Tinto Park.

There were very few chances in the opening exchanges and neither side could really break down the opposition’s defensive line. Rangers got into the box on a few occasions but just didn’t have anyone to convert the loose balls.

Spartans’ first chance came from distance, with a shot from 30 yards dipping into the arms of Khym Ramsey. Only a few minutes later the visitors had a penalty claim when one of their strikers collided with Leah Eddie and hit the ground. The referee consulted with his linesman before continuing with play.

A few minutes later Rangers came close to taking the lead. Brogan Hay caught the end of a deep pass from the defence, but the Spartans keeper was quick off her line to smother the ball. Hay caused a lot of problems down the left-hand side and her cross found the feet of Carla Jane who had a shot blocked by the keeper.

Both teams struggled to make any clear-cut chances but towards the end of the first half Rangers were coming into the game more but still just missing that clinical touch in the final third. They had one more chance in added time with Hay laying off to Chantelle Brown from a free-kick but she curved the ball wide of the post.

Going into the second half there was nothing to separate the two sides and the wet conditions had both teams struggling to gain any momentum. That changed at the beginning of the half when Ramsey was called into action to keep it level. A chip over the defence was directed goalwards by a Spartans attacker but Ramsey dived to her left and caught the ball at her near post.

At the other end, Jane nearly caught the away side’s keeper out. Her cross was creeping in the far side before a fully stretched hand pushed the ball away from goal.

In the home side’s box there was another penalty denied. Ramsey was forced to run out to a 50/50 ball and just got to it first before taking down the attacker. The referee turned down all the claims from the visitors.

On the 66th minute Rangers had a good counter attack as Jade Gallon ran from deep and her pass to Jane was quickly pushed wide to Brown, who cut inside and opened up for a shot which was blocked by an opponent’s head. Rangers were starting to play with a higher tempo, something Spartans were struggling to stop.

Free-kicks had been exchanged between the sides with both keepers being called into action. And finally a goal came from a free-kick, with Spartans breaking the deadlock. A shot from 25 yards out was smashed past the diving Ramsey to put the visitors in front.

As the game reached the final minutes Rangers piled on the pressure but to no success. Jade Gallon had two late headers just missing the target, while the last kick of the game fell to substitute Nicole Pullar. A loose ball fell at her feet just outside the box but her shot dragged wide as Spartans held on to claim all three points.

Rangers Women were unlucky not to get at least a point from this game, just leaving it late to create any clear chances. Amy McDonald will be looking for her side to be more clinical when they travel to East Kilbride in two weeks to face Celtic.

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