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Aberdeen Women manager Clint Lancaster accepts Dons ran out of steam in 5-1 defeat to Rangers

Bayley Hutchison cancelled out Chelsea Cornet's opener just before half-time, but Rangers secured the win with four second-half goals.

Bayley Hutchison scoring against Rangers which made it 1-1 - but Aberdeen were beaten 5-1.
Aberdeen's Bayley Hutchison pulled her side level just before half-time in the eventual 5-1 defeat to Rangers. Image: Colin Poultney/SWPL.

Aberdeen Women manager Clint Lancaster believes tired legs in the second half cost the Dons a result against Rangers, who prevailed 5-1 winners in the SWPL clash.

At Broadwood Stadium, Rangers took the lead through Chelsea Cornet in the 19th minute, before Bayley Hutchison gave the home side a scare and levelled the game with 44 minutes on the clock.

A first-ever point against one of the SWPL’s professional outfits wasn’t to be as second-half goals from Mia McAulay (2), Rio Hardy and Kathy Hill secured a 5-1 win for Jo Potter’s side.

A nine-minute frenzy from the 63rd minute to the 72nd saw Rangers go 4-1 up, before McAulay’s 88th minute goal.

And Dons boss Lancaster believes it was a case of a gulf in fitness as the game against the full-time professional side progressed.

He said: “There were times where we played some really good football. When we settled and calmed down, and moved it we did well.

“But Rangers are a quality outfit and if they recognise that your legs are tired then they’ll pick you off and that’s exactly what they did.

Aberdeen Women manager Clint Lancaster
Aberdeen Women manager Clint Lancaster. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

“There were a few errors from us for the goals that we conceded, but all it takes is a bit of individual quality from them and they find a way through.

“I said to the girls that to get into half-time at 1-1 was fantastic and to still be 1-1 on 60 minutes, we were frustrating them. But when we go 2-1 down, we have to come back from that and maybe the heads dropped a bit.

“It’s a tough one to lose, but the girls did well. We just didn’t have enough in the second half to cause their goalkeeper as many problems.”

Keeper Kirby keeps Aberdeen in game early doors

Dons boss Lancaster made one change from the opening day win over Motherwell with midfielder Eva Thomson coming in for Laura Holden.

On-loan Liverpool goalkeeper Faye Kirby kept Aberdeen in the game in the opening 15 minutes with three superb saves.

The first saw the England under-23 international deny Laura Berry with her feet after the Rangers youngster beat Aimee Black and got a decent shot away inside the box.

Kirby then made a double save to deny Hardy – who had unleashed a curling effort inside the box – before pushing Nicola Docherty’s strike round the post.

But an outstretched Kirby couldn’t stop Rangers from opening the scoring when Chelsea Cornet unleashed a rocket on the edge of the box on 19 minutes which soared into the top corner.

It took Aberdeen 26 minutes to broach the final third, but the corner won by Hutchison was wasted with a poor delivery –  before Chloe Gover hit the cleared ball way over the bar.

The Dons looked like they were clear through on goal as Hutchison played a superb switched ball to Francesca Ogilvie, but she took it far too wide before losing her footing in the Rangers box with the winger stretchered off with an injury.

Holden came on for Ogilvie, with the former playing in midfield as Thomson moved to the wing.

It was Kirby to the rescue again as she made a last-ditch save well off her line to palm the ball away from danger after Berry had a go.

Hutchison netted her third goal of the season – in just the second game – when Holden played her through into the box and the striker slotted it beyond Rangers goalkeeper Jenna Fife to pull her side level.

There had been fewer notable chances at the start of the second half compared to the first, but Kirby was ready when called upon as she made three more terrific saves.

She was alert to push Kirsty MacLean’s effort to safety, before making two saves to deny Howat.

However, much like Rangers’ first, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do when the home side took the lead again through Mia McAulay, who hit a long-range effort over the top of Kirby to make it 2-1.

The home side soon added a third as summer signing Hardy linked up well with Howat, before slotting the ball into the bottom left corner beyond Kirby.

There was some confusion for Rangers’ fourth following a stramash in the box from a corner, but it was Hill who claimed the goal after Jodi McLeary’s pass ricocheted off the defender and rolled over the line at the back post.

McAulay got her brace as she was unmarked in the box and headed home from subsitute Kayla Jardine’s cross in the box from the right flank.

Aberdeen goalkeeper Faye Kirby. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

Lancaster hailed the performance of goalkeeper Kirby after the match following a number of big saves.

He added: “Faye was outstanding and it’s the reason why we’ve brought her in.

“It’s a difficult result for her because she was outstanding. Hopefully next time those key moments will be on the side of a winning result.”