Rangers Women bounced back from a disappointing week in style, as they thrashed Forfar Farmington 11-0 in the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) on Sunday.
Goals from Lizzie Arnot (8, 45+3), Zoe Ness (10, 47), Brogan Hay (41, 42), Sonia O’Neill (78), Clare Gemmell (80) combined with a Sam Kerr hat trick (30, 44, 68) handed Malky Thomson’s side the victory at a sunny Rangers Training Centre to ensure they remained within touching distance of league leaders Glasgow City, who had earlier beaten Hearts 4-0.
Gers boss Thomson sprung a surprise with his team selection, handing goalkeeper Megan Cunningham her first start of the campaign, ahead of Scotland international Jenna Fife in the nets. Chelsea Cornet came in for Emma Brownlie in midfield, while Zoe Ness replaced Kirsty Howat in the only other change to the side, after the club confirmed an ACL injury for top scorer Howat earlier in the week.
Rangers, looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat, flew out of the traps and took control early with Arnot tapping home a ball from the excellent Brogan Hay to give them them lead. The Gers would double their lead shortly afterwards through the returning Ness, the former Durham striker connecting with Nicola Docherty’s left wing cross.
Ness should have added a third on the 15 minute mark when Hay – who tormented the Forfar defence all afternoon – laid on a delightful ball, but her shot went high and wide.
A rare foray forward almost allowed Forfar’s London Pollard to pull one back on when she latched onto Donna Patterson’s superb through ball, but her clever chip went agonisingly over the Rangers bar. Thomson’s side would put the result beyond doubt shortly afterwards when Kerr finished off a lovely one two with Ness to give the home side a commanding lead.
The outstanding Hay would put some real gloss on the result just before half time, the winger getting her first when she met Arnot’s cross with a sumptuous finish, before she fired home her second when she smashed home a short corner from 25-yards out. Kerr would make it six in first half injury time with a blistering 20-yard drive, and Arnot made it a first half to remember when she picked herself up to place home a penalty, making it 7-0 with the final kick of the half.
Sadly for Forfar, the Blue Belles did not let up in the second period as Ness added an eighth with a sublime strike, before Kerr completed her hat-trick with an excellent finish after being played through by substitute O’Neill. O’Neill then got in on the act herself, tapping home to put Gers’ score into double figures. Rangers’ captain Gemmell would then see her deflected effort wrong foot Lauren Perry in the Forfar goal for the 11th and final goal of the game.
With Glasgow City also picking up maximum points, the win may not change how the SWPL table looks this weekend, but Rangers will be delighted with the response to a supremely difficult week. As for Forfar boss Kevin McGreskin, the challenges don’t get easier, with his side set to face in-form Celtic at home next week.