By Stephen Bark
Glasgow City ensured they would be top of the SWPL table going into the split as they defeated nearest rivals Celtic at the Excelsior Stadium.
A second half goal from Priscila Chinchilla was the difference as City earned a hard-fought 1-0 Glasgow derby win at their former home.
The result means City are six points clear at the top with one round of fixtures left to play before the split.
City made two changes from the side that defeated Motherwell with Hayley Lauder and Mairead Fulton replacing Bea Prades and Linda Motlhalo.
In an evenly contested first half, both sides had chances to take the lead. City threatened first when an early corner found Claire Walsh but she headed wide.
At the other end, Shen Menglu’s cross found Natalie Ross but her header flew over Lee Gibson’s goal.
Lauren Davidson then had her first sight of goal with a cross-come-shot which went just over.
The best chance of the first half fell for the away side. A perfectly delivered freekick from Lauder found Anna Oscarsson at the far post but her header thundered off the post and Celtic cleared their lines.
Celtic next threated through Jacynta who picked up the ball in the box before she turned and managed to get the shot off but Gibson expertly tipped the ball wide.
A corner from City then broke to Kozak on the edge of the box but her shot was blocked wide before Natasha Flint, at the other end, saw her snapshot from just outside the area well held by Gibson.
Celtic’s best chance of the half saw Jacynta played through one-on-one with Gibson but the City keeper was quick off her line to close her opponent down and block the shot.
The hosts almost played themselves into trouble just before the break when good pressing from Whelan forced a slack pass which fell to Lauder but, somehow, Pamela Tajoner plucked the ball out the top corner.
Celtic were first to test their opponents in the second half when Flint picked up the ball on the edge of the area but she couldn’t find target as her shot curled wide.
However, it was the away side who would grow into the game and start to dictate play. When Celtic couldn’t fully clear a corner, Kozak kept the ball alive before laying it off to Davidson just outside the box but her effort was blocked.
Then Davidson turned provider as she fed in substitute Prades but her effort was wide of the mark.
It wasn’t long before they had the breakthrough though. A fantastic pass from Fulton split the Celtic defence and sent Priscilla Chinchilla through on goal and she fired beyond Tajonar and in off the post.
Terrific defending from Walsh and Clark ensured City would keep their clean sheet with the former pulling out a stunning challenge to prevent a one-on-one.
Celtic did have an opportunity through Shen Menglu who cut in from the left but her effort was wide of target.
In the last minute of added time, the hosts won a corner and Tajonar came forward to add an extra number but the City defence stood firm as they saw out a deserved win.
Glasgow City: Gibson, Lauder (Prades 56), Walsh, Fulton, Whelan, J. Clark, Davidson, Kozak (Motlhalo 90), Chinchilla, Foley, Oscarsson (Greening 84). Subs not used: Clachers, Warrington, Porter, Grant, Forrest, Martin.
Celtic: Tajonar, O’Riordan, Ross (Shen Mengyu 82), Gallacher, Jacynta, Chance, K. Clark, Kerner, Hayes, Flint (Fergusson 62), Shen Menglu (Bowie 82). Subs not used: Otto, Robertson, Goldie, Barclay, McAneny, Halliday.
Glasgow City: Chinchilla 64’
Glasgow City: Fulton 55’, Prades 86’
Referee: Duncan Williams
Stadium: Excelsior Stadium