Gartcairn 2 St Johnstone Women 3: Cowie nets double as Saints win on the road
12th February 2024
St Johnstone Women picked up their second win in-a-row on Sunday when they were victorious by the odd goal in five against bottom side Gartcairn.
Gartcairn, who finished second top last season, have recruited a number of players in January, some of whom have SWPL 1 experience.
The first half saw Saints absorb a lot of pressure from the home side. They were playing a direct style of football and goalkeeper Bobby Cochran had to keep her wits about her as shots peppered in from distance.
It was one of those efforts after eight minutes that caused concern. Kirsty O'Brien, from 30 yards, launched an effort which Cochran did well to tip onto the bar.
Erin Burns run in unmarked to strike but her shot was weak and easily gathered by Cochran.
The North Lanarkshire outfit also won their fair share of corners, but these were always dealt with by the Saints rearguard.
Despite this, after 18 minutes, it was Saints who took the lead through Ellie May Cowie. Alix Moodie played a ball forward from midfield which Jodie Malcolm kept in play at the byline, dragging it back and passing to Elvie McLean.
McLean, at the corner of the penalty box, whipped in the ball from Malcolm first time and Cowie rose well to flick a backwards looping header over Jasmine McPhie in the Gartcairn goal.
Just before half time Gartcairn again came close, this time through Megan Wands. Driving into the six-yard box, her effort was saved at close range and the ricochet struck back goalwards by Caitlin Moran which was blocked by Saints skipper Rebecca Robertson.
Seven minutes into the second half the home side drew level. Gartcairn captain Wands curled a ball in from the right, and despite vociferous claims from Saints for offside, the ball was laid back to Kaela McDonald-Nguah to fire home with the outside of her right foot.
Within two minutes of the restart Saints had nearly re-taken the lead. Carter curled in a perfect cross from the right, but this time Cowie wasn't able to keep her header on target and it went over the crossbar.
Saints introduced Scarlett Brady, Oliva Hurrell and Mariluz Sanchez into the action and it would be one of those three, Hurrell, who did nudge the Perth side ahead.
With 12 minutes of the 90 remaining, the attacking midfielder, on-loan from Dundee United and making her second substitute appearance, picked up the ball 10 yards inside her own half and made her through the centre circle, passing four Gartcairn players, running wide to the right into the box and firing past McPhie.
Four minutes later, Saints extended their lead through Cowie - for her eighth goal of the campaign. Niamh Irvine lasered a diagonal ball from deep in the Saints half which found Cowie in space to drive in and slotting low under McPhie.
Deep into stoppage time Gartcairn pulled a goal back. A free kick from the left was played into the box, and headed on by McDonald-Nguah to the back post where the unmarked Amy Hay made no mistake from a couple yards out.
Saints held on for two more minutes to secure a valuable win. Next up is another away trip next Sunday to face league leaders, Queen's Park.
Saints: Cochran, MacIver, McLean (Brady), Carter, Cowie, Irvine, Moodie (Sanchez), Malcolm (Hurrell), Burns, Steedman, Robertson.
Subs not used: Bidgood, Paterson, Mitchell, Murray, Trialist.
Gartcairn: McDonald-Nguah 52', Hay 94'
Saints: Cowie 18', 82', Hurrell 78'