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Montrose 0-12 Rangers

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RANGERS rounded off an impressive week in emphatic fashion with a 12-0 victory over Montrose in the ScottishPower Women’s League at Links Park this afternoon.

After a close opening 20 minutes the Gers took the lead and were relentless in their approach thereafter. Megan Bell opened the scoring on her return before Mia McAulay added a second shortly after, Rio Hardy was on hand to add a third as the away side took control of the contest with a three-goal lead at the break.

A flurry of second half goals were to follow with a further three from Hardy, a second McAulay finish, a debut double for Libby Bance, a Kirsty Howat brace and a Tessel Middag strike rounded off a resounding performance for the Light Blues as they now head into the international break.

Head coach Jo Potter named three changes to the team from their 4-1 victory over Motherwell, with Jenna Fife, Mia McAulay and Megan Bell all coming into the side with the latter making her first league start of the campaign.

Demi Taylor’s delivery for the hosts almost presented an opportunity for them to take the lead within 60 seconds. The winger’s cross caused problems in behind the Gers’ backline with teammates poised but Tessel Middag did well to cover and clear the early danger.

Rangers had a half chance on the break at the other end as Kirsty Howat looked to continue her recent goalscoring form. A long ball through the middle of the home side’s defence fell to the forward on the edge of the area, but her looping effort was comfortably caught by Lauren Perry.

The away side started growing into the game as the match approached the 10-minute mark at Links Park. Keeping comfortable possession and patiently waiting for openings as a chance from range presented itself to Rachel McLauchlan but her shot flew over the top.

Megan Bell had a chance inside the area after a quiet spell with few opportunities in the game. Kayla Jardine was set free down the left flank before she cut the ball back to the midfielder just before the penalty spot. Her effort looked to be threatening the goal but for an intervention from Aimee Culley who made the block.

The Northern Ireland international had another opportunity just seconds after. This time Howat found Bell in advanced position unmarked inside the area, but she cut across her strike as it flew past the near post.

Rangers went the closest so far to open the scoring but were denied by the woodwork. A pass from Bell inside the Montrose half broke for Howat whose sweeping left-footed shot looked goal bound but it hit the underside of the crossbar and stayed out.

Beyond the 25-minute mark the Gers were still threatening to go in front. A Bell free-kick delivery was low and looked to cause problems in the Montrose backline, but there were no takers on the low cross as it evaded everyone.

The Light Blues did take the lead and it was Bell who opened the scoring on her first league start of the season. A forward ball was well worked between the midfielder and Hardy. The pass was laid back for the number 11 who fired a well-placed shot into the top corner beyond Perry to break the deadlock for the away side.

A fantastic second was to follow for Rangers and it was Mia McAulay who provided the finish on her return to the starting line-up. Kirsty Maclean picked up the ball inside her own half and picked out a perfectly weighted pass which the winger took in her stride. Homing in on goal the youngster had time to pick her spot as she slid the ball into the bottom corner to double the advantage.

Two became three as the away side took full control of the contest at Links Park. A throw-in deep down the right channel found Howat, she turned in the box and attempted a shot which broke for Hardy to fire the ball into the net with the aid of a deflection to add a third from close range.

The Gers introduced deadline day signing Libby Bance and Jodi McLeary at the break as they looked to go further ahead. Kathryn Hill tried her luck from distance minutes after the restart but the ambitious effort flew over the bar.

The new signing got off to the dream start as she made it four on her debut. The midfielder made her way into the opposing box as she got on the end of a through ball, her first effort was blocked but she reacted quickest to tap home the rebound as the debutant added a fourth.

Maclean almost provided her second assist of the afternoon. Her through ball was latched onto by Howat, with the goalkeeper well off her line she opted for a looping shot but it drifted wide of the mark and off target.

Rio Hardy was on hand to find the back of the net for the second time on the day as she made it five. McLeary made inroads from the left flank as she found the striker outside the area, the forward opened up her body and dispatched the ball into the far corner as she added the fifth with the Gers fully in command of the game.

Aimee Ridgeway went close to finding the target for the hosts with an effort from outside the area. The forward turned and shot with her effort heading for the near corner but Jenna Fife did well to turn the attempt round the post to preserve the clean sheet.

Howat did get herself on the scoresheet after threatening all afternoon. The two strikers combined as Hardy played a superb ball round the corner which she took in her path, composing herself she took a touch round Perry and rolled the ball into the empty net to make it six.

Rio Hardy made it two hat-tricks in three games as her header made it seven. McAulay found space deep down the right channel as her cross was met by the striker who was unmarked in the area, with her downwards header beating Perry at the far post.

The goals kept on coming for the Gers as McAulay rolled home her second goal of the afternoon. Maclean was once again the provider as her clearance beat the full Montrose backline with the youngster beating the goalkeeper to the ball. She rounded her and had the simple task of passing the ball into the empty net to make it eight.

A hat-trick of assists soon arrived for Maclean as her cross found Middag who got in on the scoring. The two central midfielders combined with the youngster cutting the ball back which allowed her to arrive on the scene and smash the ball home from the edge of the area.

It was relentless from Rangers as Bance added her second on her debut with a brilliantly taken finish. Hill slipped through a low pass beyond the Montrose backline which the loanee smashed across goal and found the far corner.

Howat was on hand to add her second of the day from close range as it was soon 11-0 to the away side. The captain Docherty found herself in an advanced position down the left channel as her low cross was initially missed by Bance before it fell to the forward to tap the ball into the empty net.

Another was to follow in the final 10 minutes for Hardy as she added her fourth on the day with another assist for Maclean. The youngster skipped into the box riding several challenges before cutting the ball back as the striker fired the ball into the net from close range to round off the scoring

MONTROSE: Perry, Carter, McLaren, Ross, Guthrie, Gammie (Reid 88), Culley (Brough 44), Taylor, Brown, Robb (Codegoni 88), Ridgeway (Bruce 88)

SUBS: Mowatt, Blanchard

RANGERS: Fife, McLauchlan (Colson 18), Hill, Docherty, Jardine (McLeary 45), Middag, Maclean, McAulay, Bell (Bance 45), Hardy, Howat

SUBS: Esson, Austin, Berry, Clark, Laird


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