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Aberdeen FC Women win SWPL 2 title with thumping victory over Dundee United

The Aberdeen FC Women squad celebrate after winning the title at Dundee United
Aberdeen FC Women squad celebrate after winning the title at Dundee United

Manager Emma Hunter heaped praise on her players after Aberdeen FC Women clinched the SWPL 2 title with a 5-2 victory over Dundee United on Sunday afternoon.

Two goals apiece from Eva Thomson and Francesca Ogilvie as well as a Bayley Hutchison strike sealed the championship for the Reds at the Regional Performance Centre in Dundee.

It completes a remarkable run for the Dons, who are about to complete their first full SWPL 2 campaign after earning promotion with a SWFL Division 1 North title win at the end of 2019.

Hunter’s side will now be facing off against the likes of Glasgow City, Celtic and Rangers in SWPL 1 next term

“It’s been so extraordinary,” said Hunter. “It’s back-to-back promotions, which is huge in itself, but then there’s also been Covid and other things.

“I actually made the players cry a little bit because there’s been a few things that have happened with this team – like loss of family members and struggles with the lockdowns.

“But to me this really just shows sometimes it doesn’t take the best football team in the world to win, it sometimes just takes the right people.

“That’s what we’ve created here – a group of the right people. We’ve developed and built this together.

“That’s what makes me the most proud, the way those young women have developed. It’s massive. What an achievement.”

Relentless Reds

Hunter made just one change to the team which started against Partick, with suspended captain Kelly Forrest dropping out and Chloe Gover coming into the line-up in her stead.

It was a dominant performance from the Dons, who raced into a 3-0 lead after just 15 minutes.

The game was just three minutes old when Eilidh Shore raked a pinpoint cross-field pass to Ogilvie, who in turn fired a dangerous cross into the box.

It was cleared initially but only as far as Thomson, who smashed home from the centre of the penalty area.

Francesca Ogilvie scored twice from the spot

And it was 2-0 just a few minutes later when Hutchison was fouled in the box, with Ogilvie firing the consequent spot kick low to the keeper’s right via a kiss of the post.

The Dons truly had the bit between their teeth now and made it 3-0 in the 15th minute.

Hutchison played in Shore, who saw her shot and the rebound both saved by Aaliyah-Jay Meach in the United goal.

But there was no stopping Thomson from following up that second rebound as the Reds forward pounced for her second and the champions’ third.

Bayley Hutchison taps home to make it 5-1 before half-time

Hunter’s side immediately went in search of a fourth, with Thomson seeing a chance of a hat-trick turned away and Jenna Penman crashing a pearler off the bar.

But persistence paid off as Bailley Collins was pulled down in the box in the 28th minute and Ogilvie side-footed the resultant penalty down the middle.

Ogilvie hit the bar and United managed to clear one off the line as the relentless Reds kept the pressure on before Holly Napier grabbed an unlikely goal from distance against the run of play in the 41st minute.

But the Dons did not let that deter them and responded almost immediately when Hutchison turned in the rebound after Thomson had struck the post to make it 5-1 at the half.

No Tangerine dream

United reappeared after the break with renewed impetus and tested Gail Gilmour a couple of times before Jade McLaren headed in to bring the score to 5-2.

The hosts hit the bar shortly after but the Dons rarely looked troubled from there on in, with Ogilvie passing up a great chance at her hat-trick after being slipped through by substitute Lauren Gordon.

A few long balls aside, United did not look like seriously mounting a comeback and Hunter’s Reds managed to see out the game in relative comfort to confirm their status as SWPL 2 champions.

“I told them at half-time that was probably the best first half I’ve seen them play. It was pleasing,” Hunter said.

“In the second half United changed a few things and came out with a bit of fire in their belly and that made it difficult for us.

“But I’m still absolutely delighted not just with promotion but the style in which we did it.”

State of play

The Dons now go into Thursday night’s match against Glasgow Women (7.30pm) seven points ahead of Hamilton Accies at the top.

In Sunday’s other matches Partick Thistle thrashed Queen’s Park 5-0, Hamilton drew 1-1 at Boroughmuir Thistle, Stirling University defeated Glasgow Women 2-1 and Kilmarnock beat St Johnstone by the same scoreline.

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