Motherwell got their SWPL 1 campaign off to a winning start, defeating Stirling University 1-0 at Fir Park on Sunday.
Captain Kerry Montgomery’s wonder strike was enough to ensure that the three points stayed in Lanarkshire, with a clean sheet as an additional bonus.
It was a nervy start for ‘Well. An early mix up at the back nearly gifted Eva Rule an early goal but home keeper Morgan Hunter, making her first appearance in claret and amber, saw the danger and tracked back to gather the loose pass to clear the danger.
The women of steel grew more and more into the game and the first chance fell to Scotland international Sarah Crilly.
The winger burst down the right wing producing a dangerous looking cross only for the ball to be scrambled clear by the Stirling defence.
With just under half an hour played, the hosts came the closest to drawing first blood.
Stephanie Knox was at the back post from the corner kick when the cross came over. Amongst the bodies in the box the ball fell to the defender, but she couldn’t stretch out to poke it over the line.
After the first sniff of goal, the momentum in the match looked to be with ‘Well. Some good build-up play between the midfield and forwards opened the door to more chances with the Stirling defence tested on numerous occasions.
But it would be honours even at the end of the first half, with both sides unable to find the net.
The start of the second half mirrored that of the first, Stirling started brightly but their attacking threat didn’t pose too many issues for Hunter.
At the other end, Motherwell’s first chance came in the form of a corner. Katie Rice’s delivery was swung into a dangerous area, but again the Stirling defence were able to clear their lines.
The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour when Montgomery opened Motherwell’s SWPL 1 scoring account in outstanding fashion.
The captain picked up a pass from the left wing, dribbled into space and, after spotting the keeper off her line, unleashed a rocket of a strike from her right foot that flew into the roof of the net.
Motherwell came so close to increasing their advantage shortly after, but struck the frame of the goal twice in a matter of minutes.
Former Hamilton Accies forward Rice met a teasing cross with a powering header that smashed off the crossbar, much to the delight of Stirling keeper Chloe Logan, who was rooted to the spot.
Substitute Mhairi Fyfe saw her shot cannon off the post as ‘Well sensed blood, but Stirling survived to keep the match delicately poised going into the closing stages.
Another sub, Caitlin Russell, could’ve ended the match as a contest when she was sent racing away. However, her effort lacked enough power and it was comfortably stopped by Logan.
After a slight scare late on in the home box, Russell had another opportunity to add to the score sheet, but her effort again lacked conviction and Logan again blocked.
Next up for Motherwell is a trip to face Forfar Farmington on 17 February.