It has been more than five months between competitive fixtures but Aberdeen FC women carried on where they left off as they hit seven goals without reply against Stirling University to maintain their SWPL 2 title push at Cormack Park.
A double from Eva Thomson and goals from Chloe Gover, Bailey Collins, Bayley Hutchison, Francesca Ogilvie and Jenna Penman, six of them coming in the first half, gave the league leaders a comfortable win.
Captain Kelly Forrest was thrilled to return after a long lay-off in style.
The centre-half said: “We’re delighted. It has been a long time since we last played, almost six months, so to come away with seven goals and a clean sheet is great.
“It’s good to see the goals shared too. That’s the one thing about this team, we don’t rely on individual players to get us across the line so it shows our diversity that we can spread the goals out among the players.
“We rotated the squad in the second half which was super important and we are all really mindful of that. We’ve got good recovery sessions coming up.”
The break from December until June has been a challenge for all clubs in SWPL 2 including the Dons, who have had no friendly matches to prepare for their return.
Forrest said: “We’ve had to adapt to a lot of situations this season. We had a bounce game last week which was our first game in months so it has been a pretty incredible situation.
“We didn’t want to fire straight into each other but as soon as contact training came back you could see a step up in the tempo.”
Due to the extended break clubs face a hectic finish to the season with games played twice a week and the Dons are back in action at Queens Park on Wednesday.
The finish line, and a second consecutive promotion, is within sight but Forrest insists nobody at the club is getting carried away.
She said: “We can’t look too far forward, you literally have to take it one at a time as you don’t know who will be available or what will happen in between games.
“We can’t allow ourselves to get caught up in the hype. It’s a really competitive league and we are just trying to focus on ourselves.”
The Dons needed just four minutes to break the deadlock as Hutchison crossed for Gover to score and the scorer turned provider for the second as Collins converted her corner to double Aberdeen’s lead in the 17th minute.
Ogilvie then set-up two goals, crossing from the left for Thomson in the 27th minute and seven minutes later she popped up on the right wing to cross the ball for Hutchison.
Ogilvie chipped the goalkeeper to make it 5-0 in the 42nd minute Thomson grabbed her second of the game with the final touch of the first half as she fired home a powerful effort off the underside of the crossbar.
Substitute Penman completed the scoring midway through the second half when she fired home the rebound after Collins had struck the crossbar from long range.