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Gavin Levey says Aberdeen Women were ‘outfought and outworked’ in 6-2 defeat to Spartans

The Dons conceded two goals in the opening eight minutes at Ainslie Park, before Spartans added three more during the first half.

Aberdeen Women interim manager Gavin Levey. Image: Shutterstock.
Aberdeen Women interim manager Gavin Levey. Image: Shutterstock.

Gavin Levey admitted Aberdeen Women were blown away by a Spartans side who prevailed 6-2 winners at Ainslie Park.

The Reds found themselves 2-0 down after only eight minutes in Edinburgh after a quickfire Becky Galbraith brace, before Julianne Ross added a third on 24 minutes.

Aberdeen benefited from a Spartans mistake as Ross netted an own goal to make it 3-1 after 27 minutes, however, Mya Bates restored the hosts’ three-goal advantage with 10 minutes left to play in the first half.

Before the half was over, Galbraith got her hat-trick as she unleashed a rocket from 25 yards out which soared into the back of the net to make it 5-1, but Eilidh Shore matched that long-range effort and got another goal back for the Dons.

After a relatively quiet second half compared to the opening 45 minutes, Spartans increased their tally and made it 6-2 in the 66th minute through Hannah Jordan.

Levey bemoaned his side’s display, but believes credit must go to Spartans who dominated the game from the start.

The interim boss said: “Being 2-0 down and having to take your goalkeeper (Annalisa McCann) off after 15 minutes – it’s difficult, and then conceding so soon after that.

“It stops you getting into any kind of flow. I could moan and groan about various things, but we were outfought by a better side.

“We were outworked and outsmarted by a better side across the 90 minutes.

“We competed better in the second half after making changes and my gut was telling me to make that change after 20 or 25 minutes, but we haven’t been in this position before this season, even against some of the top teams in the league.

“Spartans have to be admired. As a group, we need to disappointed but dignified in defeat.

“Their (Spartans) togetherness showed through. They were ruthless in the first half and effectively killed the game off for us.”

Goals galore in Edinburgh as Spartans make fast star

It was 1-0 with just 90 seconds on the clock after the Dons failed to clear their lines and gifted Galbraith a chance to unleash a curling effort from inside the box.

Galbraith netted her second after eight minutes after being played through on goal, beating Donna Paterson for pace, before slotting the ball beyond Annalisa McCann.

McCann had to be substituted after only 15 minutes after being on the receiving end of a late tackle from Bates. India Marwaha came on for her third Aberdeen appearance.

Marwaha made her first save to deny Galbraith her hat-trick after Alana Marshall teed up the forward’s header with a free kick launched from the halfway line.

Spartans did get their third when Ross tapped the ball home from a yard out at the near post after Galbraith headed goalwards following a Marshall corner.

Spartans’ hat-trick hero Becky Galbraith. Image: Shutterstock.

Aberdeen somehow clawed a goal back through Ross, who fresh after scoring at the other end turned the ball into her own net with a low header beyond Rachel Harrison in the Spartans goal.

Galbraith got her fourth goal-involvement of the day after she whipped in a cross from the right flank which found Bates, who slotted it home at the back post.

It was a five-star first-half performance from Spartans as Galbraith put her side 5-1 up just before half-time with an effort from distance which left Marwaha with no chance.

Shore, who scooped Aberdeen’s goal of the season award midweek hit another contender before the interval, as she reduced the deficit to three with a stunning long-range strike against the run of play.

A more subdued second 45 minutes

After the first-half goal-fest, Levey made one attack-minded change as Mya Christie came on for Bayley Hutchison.

Bates went close to getting her second of the day as she won her battle with skipper Loren Campbell, before trailing her shot just wide of the post.

Aberdeen had put in a better shift over the second half, but with 24 minutes left to play, Jordan became Spartans’ fourth player to get on the scoresheet as she made it 6-2 with a fine curling strike which soared over the top of Marwaha.

Aberdeen Women midfielder Eilidh Shore. Image: Shutterstock.
Aberdeen Women midfielder Eilidh Shore. Image: Shutterstock.

Levey made two more changes as defender Campbell made way for Eva Thomson, while Elena Karkkainen came on for Bailley Collins.

The Dons had not really troubled Harrison in the Spartans goal after the interval, with the most notable chance being Hannah Stewart’s strike from distance which dropped just over the crossbar.

It was an improved showing from the Dons over the second 45 minutes but Levey says he was “realistic” while dishing out his half-time talk.

He added: “You’ve got to be realistic in the dressing room. If you go in there and say ‘let’s go win this game’ then you can come across very false.

“For me, it was a case of regrouping, changing the shape, control the middle of the pitch better, start matching runs and making sure there was more togetherness.

“We had to put more pressure on Spartans at the back because they had the freedom of stepping into the midfield with the ball far too easily in the first half.

“We shared the disappointment with the group, but tried to fix it.”

The other north results

In the SWF Championship, Caley Thistle pulled off a late comeback to beat Dryburgh Athletic 2-1 at home in their first post-split fixture.

Inverness found themselves 1-0 down after 70 minutes, before goals from Kate Clelland and Julia Ralph Scott – in the 76th and 79th minute, respectively – secured all three points for Karen Mason’s side.

Westdyke will join Caley Thistle in the Championship next season after they won promotion from SWF League One after only one season.

The Westhill side travelled to Falkirk knowing only a win would be enough to move up the division, which they achieved after beating the Bairns 2-0 thanks to goals from Chloe Ferries and Kayleigh Traynor.

In Biffa SWFL North, Huntly fought a good fight, but ultimately lost 5-4 to league-leaders Forfar Farmington.

Inverurie Locos beat Westdyke Thistle 5-1 away, while Buchan lost out to Glenrothes Strollers 2-0 in Peterhead.