By Graham Falk
Glasgow City were left to rue a disappointing first half as they lost 3-1 to title rivals Rangers at the Rangers Training Centre this afternoon.
Strikes from Lizzie Arnot (14) and Jane Ross (76) coupled with an unfortunate Niamh Farrelly own goal (35) would seal a comfortable win for the home side, who return to the top of the league with the win. Clare Shine would grab the City goal on 85 minutes.
Head coach Eileen Gleeson made three changes from last week’s win over Hearts, introducing Ode Fulutudilu and Megan Foley to the starting XI alongside Peyton Perea, who made her debut in midfield.
The first chance of the game felt to the home side, as a succession of corners saw Gers captain Westrup head narrowly wide.
They went even closer on eight minutes when a fierce strike from Arnot cannoned off the City crossbar, though a great break moments later almost saw Fulutudilu head home a Lauren Davidson cross on the break.
Great play from Prischila Chinchilla almost opened the Gers defence on the 13 minute mark, but Chantelle Swaby recovered well to clear.
However, a fine drive from the impressive Arnot shortly afterwards opened the scoring emphatically for the Blue Belles on the 14 minute mark.
Great defending from Rangers would keep the scores level when Chinchilla once again broke free, her cross looked certain to be tapped home by Fulutudilu until Westrup got a vital touch. Davidson couldn’t take advantage of the loose ball, firing wide.
Just beyond the half hour mark, Rangers would take a dominant lead into half time when the unfortunate Farrelly saw her header go into her own net under pressure from Gers captain Brianna Westrup.
The second period began with Gleeson’s side almost giving an immediate response when a goalmouth scramble saw Swaby clear off the line.
Good work down the left between Hayley Lauder and Julia Molin allowed to latter to play the ball into the box, but Davidson could only fire over.
There was a flash point with 20 minutes left on the clock, when Lauder played a terrific ball to play Fulutudilu clean through, but Gers ‘keeper Jenna Fife made a cynical foul to take her down and receive a straight red - the resulting free kick agonisingly went over the bar from Lauder.
Perea would be the first to sting the hands of substitute goalkeeper Megan Cunningham with a rasping drive, as City pushed to get back into the game. Elsewhere, Rangers sub Kiera Grant was smash the outside of the post.
And Jane Ross would seal the win on 76 minutes when a long ball caught out the City defence and allowed Arnot to tee up Fife perfectly, who nodded beyond Lee Alexander.
Shine would grab City’s first goal of the afternoon when she tapped home a Lauder cross with five minutes left on the clock, but it would be as good as it would get for City on a windy day at Auchenhowie.
The result means champions City drop to second, as Rangers head two points clear at the top of the SWPL.
Rangers: Fife, Docherty, Vance, Middag, Bell (Cunningham, 70), Ross (McCoy, 89), Arnot, Cornet (Grant, 46), Kerr, Westrup, Swaby.
City: Alexander, Molin (Beattie, 84), Walsh, Clark, Foley, Fulutudilu, Davidson, Farrelly (Shine, 70), Chinchilla (Grant, 70), Perea, Lauder.