RANGERS Women will take key learning moments from tonight's defeat against Manchester United at the Rangers Training Centre.
It’s the first meeting of the two women's sides in the clubs' history and the final friendly of pre-season but the Rangers squad were eager to welcome the challenge from the Manchester side to take into the new competitive season.
In the early minutes of kick-off, the Gers did well to press into the Reds final third creating threatening play to put the backline under pressure. The visitors then began to build their pace, driving into the home side’s box to create chances for themselves.
Katie Zelem put the visitors in the lead in the seventh minute of the game after they were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the box. Zelem put a powerful strike behind her shot and Megan Cunningham couldn't get a hand to it.
The Light Blues nearly had an equaliser just after the first goal. Brogan Hay made an excellent run down the right-wing to cross a threatening ball into the box, the cross was initially saved by Sophie Baggaley but the ball fell from her hands. Lizzie Arnot made a fantastic slide to try and get it over the line but it was blocked by a red shirt.
Marc Skinner’s side had a few chances to make it a two-goal lead but the Gers backline did well to intercept dangerous plays into their final third and Megan Cunningham making critical saves.
The Light Blues were forced to make an early substitution after Sam Kerr went down received after a foot injury from an earlier challenge. Kayla McCoy came on and Chelsea Cornet pulled back to fill the position of right back.
Lucy Staniforth found the second for Manchester United in the last ten minutes of the first half. Ella Toone crossed the ball to Staniforth in a congested box but no blue shirts were able to get to her strike.
Nearing the end of the first 45 minutes, Leah Galton nearly made it another as the Manchester side looked to add to their tally but her shot was saved by Cunningham to deny the visitors a third.
Both sides kept their momentum going into the second half of the game keeping their possession but Zelem got her second goal to put the Manchester side up by three in the 51st minute. After a well-worked link up with Toone, the number seven threaded the ball through to Zelem at the edge of the box and her strike was put past the Gers Keeper.
Skinner’s side continued to try and push through the Rangers defence and it was Kirsty Hanson who netted the fourth for the Reds. Leah Galton provided a through ball to Hanson who’s strike hit the back of the goal.
A few moments later, it was Hanson that delivered the assist to Ivana Fuso to get the fifth. The two linked up well to weave in between blue shirts, Hanson passed the ball to Fuso at the edge of the box and her shot hit the back of the net.
The Gers now look to Wednesday night as they face Aberdeen in the SWPL Cup at the Rangers Training Centre with a 7 pm KO.
RANGERS: Cunningham, Docherty, Vance (70), Middag (83), Hay (46), Ross (80), Arnot (89), Cornet (70), Kerr (28), Westrup, Swaby.
SUBS: Fife, Ness (46), McCoy (28) (89), Jardine (89), Maclean (83), McLeary (80), Watson (70), Austin (70), Jordan (89).
MANCHESTER UNITED: Baggaley (60), Smith (46), Turner (46), Staniforth, Toone (60), Zelem, Risa (60), Batlle, Mannion, Galton, Hanson. SUBS: Earps (46), Thorisdottir (60), Fuso (60), Blundell (46), Jones (60).
REFEREE: Jordan Patterson