SWPL1 – Rangers v Hibernian

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For an audio version of this report click here.

A clinical first half performance from Hibernian ensured they would go into the mid-season break at the head of the chasing pack after a 6-0 victory against Rangers at New Tinto Park in Sunday afternoon’s Scottish Building Society SWPL1 encounter.

The home side had come into the game on the back of victories over Stirling University and Forfar Farmington which ensured they would be 4th in the table going into the summer but had yet to take points of off the three sides above them in the table whilst the visitors who had scored seven in midweek against Motherwell at Peffermill knew that a victory would be key when it came to keeping in touch with league leaders Glasgow City.

Hibernian started quickly and their first opportunity came with just two minutes on the clock as a Jamie Lee Napier cross found Cailin Michie in the box who saw her close range effort crash off the bar but they didn’t have long to wait for the opener as on the fourth minute the deadlock was broken. Midfielder Kirsty Morrison managed to keep the ball in near the touchline before before cutting inside and putting her shot past 17-year-old Chloe Nicolson in the Rangers goal. The Edinburgh side’s pressure would continue, however the opportunity to double their lead didn’t arrive until the 28th minute. After a fine save from Nicolson the ball bounced back out to Kirsten Reilly who’s effort fizzed towards Rangers midfielder Jade Gallon with Gallon adjudged to have handled the ball from close range. As the debate continued around the award it was left to Siobhan Hunter to step up and put Hibernian 2-0 to the good, her penalty just out of reach of the diving Nicolson. With Rangers trying to regroup the Ainslie Park side took their chance to extend the lead to three before the interval, after Napier’s close range effort cracked off the near post it was Michie who was quickest to react to the rebound and virtually guarantee the three points for her side. For Rangers it was a half of few chances, with an Amy Muir effort the only real attempt at troubling World Cup bound Jenna Fife in the Hibs goal.

Amy McDonald’s side did come out after the break with purpose though and would enjoy the majority of the possession and territory for the opening 25 minutes of the half although chances were at a premium with Holly Napier’s 15 yard strike the best they could muster. It looked as if Hibernian were happy to sit on the lead as both sides made changes as the half progressed but three goals in the last nine minutes added an emphatic note to the scoreline, a note that was perhaps a touch harsh given the Light Blues re-emergence into the game after the interval. On the 81st minute substitute Shannon Leishman saw her initial effort stopped by Nicolson but it would again be a Hibs attacker reacting quicker than the Rangers’ defence as she tucked home the fourth. An 88th minute header from substitute Amy Gallacher and an injury time strike from Jamie Lee Napier rounded out the scoring as Hibernian ended a productive week that started with an SWPL Cup triumph and ended with 13 goals and six points from two league matches. As for Rangers, it was a familiar story with moments of control and quality juxtaposed with mental lapses and lack of composure in front of goal.

Hibernian Head Coach, Grant Scott: “It’s been a smashing week, I wasn’t expecting that goal bounce today but we got in early and that helps to open up the opposition. Anything less than the three points today we would have been devastated going into the break and the fact we’ve won the cup and these two games after that blip, and I genuinely think it was a blip (against Celtic), is great.

“We’ll make a couple of plans to freshen up the squad, we’ll train a bit and give the players a bit of break before getting them back for end of June ahead of the Champions League qualifying section.”

Rangers Head Coach, Amy McDonald: “We were disappointed to go in 3-0 at half time and I thought the penalty was really soft and I think the standards of the officials need to improve. I thought we did well to rattle Hibs after half time but to lose those three goals at the end of the game was pretty sore to take. I think we’re too nice at times and we need to go and challenge them, we had chances which we didn’t take. It’s such small margins for us now, it’s an area we need to improve, but it’s the hardest bit too improve.

(On the first half of the season) Really disappointed. We’ve shown that we can play good football and complete against good players but then there’s lapses in concentration which makes it really frustrating.”

FT: Rangers 0-6 Hibernian

Goals Hibernian: Morrison (4′), Hunter (p,28′), Michie (34′), Leishman (81′), Gallacher (89′), Napier (90+3′)

Rangers: Nicolson, Dalgliesh, Coakley, Watson, Muir, Gemmell, J. Gallon, Robertson, Brown, Napier, Boyce. Subs: Honeyman, Inglis, McQuillan, Donnelly, McCartney, Hay, Ramsay.

Hibernian: Fife, Napier, Hunter, Michie, McGregor, Cavanagh, Notley, Murray, Cornet, Morrison, Reilly. Subs: Tweedie, Davidson, Currie, Leishman, Gallacher, Gibb.

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SWPL2 – Hamilton Academical v Glasgow Girls

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Hamilton Academical produced a dominant performance on route to a 3-0 victory over promotion rivals Glasgow Girls. Goals from Kirstie McIntosh, MT Gardiner and a stunning finish from Dionne Brown means that Accies head into Sunday’s clash with bottom of the table Hutchison Vale knowing that a defeat of the Edinburgh side would see them go into the mid-season break top of the Scottish Building Society SWPL 2 table.

In a keenly fought opening period it was the home side who nearly took the lead with only a minute on the clock, a block from away keeper Louise Donohoe the only thing preventing Girls from having to recover from an early deficit. The Glasgow side would have an early opportunity of their own though as Jayney Saunders was put clean through but her effort on the angle went tamely wide.

Hamilton were starting to take control though, providing a constant threat down either wing with both McIntosh and Gardiner looking to repeatedly stretch the visiting defence. It would be the former who would break the deadlock on the 29th minute. A fine through ball from full back Nina Fitzsimmons put the pacy midfielder clean through on the right hand flank. With only the onrushing Donohue to beat she was able to stroke the ball in from the corner of the area, the ball having just enough pace to beat the recovering defence. That opener saw Gary Doctor’s side begin to dominate further and they nearly went two up when a ball put in by Gardiner reached the head of defender Dani Connolly but she was only able to direct her close range header onto the base of the post.

The Lanarkshire side’s pressure continued at the start of the second period and on the 61st minute they got the second goal they deserved. Good play down the right saw McIntosh break at pace where, after a quick look up, she put a ball across to forward Gardiner who found herself in acres of space inside the area from where she put the ball past a diving Donohue, just reward for a night of hard running from the striker. A couple of minutes later a long range free kick from Girls midfielder Emma Porteous looped towards the Accies goal and it was only a combination of cross bar and home stopper Lauren Grant that prevented John Doyle’s team from getting back into the game.

That was to be it for the visitors though as on the 68th minute the home side sealed the three points. A long ball over the top made its way to Dionne Brown with the striker showing plenty of composure in space to score a stunning strike that means a victory at the Saughton Enclosure on Sunday will see those in red and white be in a position to look down on their SWPL2 challengers heading into the summer. For Glasgow Girls it was a night to forget but in this incredibly competitive league nothing remains certain.

Hamilton Academical’s goal scorer, Kirstie McIntosh: “I thought we played well first half and we went in one nil at the break. The second half we really kicked on and started to create lots of chances.

On playing Hutchison Vale on Sunday: “We can’t take anything for granted, we’ve had two really good results, here and against Partick, so we need to kick on and make sure we keep these performances and results up.”

Hamilton Academical’s Head Coach, Gary Doctor: “It was a good performance from an attacking side and we were frustrated not to have more goals at half time but I felt our will and conditioning would see us through until the end. The players are hungry, we have found a bit more rhythm up front which is good to see considering we started the season with a whole new forward line.

On playing Hutchison Vale on Sunday: “It could be a banana skin for us and we can’t take anything for granted. Hutchie Vale will get a result against somebody so we have to make sure this result isn’t wasted.”

Hamilton Academical 3-0 Glasgow Girls

Hamilton Academical Scorers: McIntosh (29), Gardiner (61), Brown (68)

Hamilton Academical: Grant, Quinn, Connolly, Fraser, McIntosh, Anderson, Fitzsimmons, Bulloch, Muir, Quigley, Gardiner. Subs: McCann, Brown, Sturrock, Kane Wilson, Donald.

Glasgow Girls: Donohue, Smith, Gallagher, Armit, McTear, McGuire, Kerr, Porteous, Saunders, Docherty, McEwan Subs: Logan, Coleman, Ferrol, Cameron, McDonald, Shaw, MacLeod, Ashe.

 

SWPL Cup Final – Glasgow City v Hibernian

For an audio version of this report please click here.

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Hibernian claimed a fourth consecutive SWPL Cup trophy after a 4-2 penalty shoot out win against old rivals Glasgow City. In what would be a first ever SWPL Cup Final shoot out it would be Hibs keeper Jenna Fife who would prove to be the here saving as she did from Hayley Lauder and Clare Shine after a compelling 120 minutes of action.

In front of a record crowd of 983 chances were at a premium and it would be Grant Scott’s side that would have the best of them in the first period but not before Fife would make an excellent double save from City striker Shine after just two minutes. Hibs though started to take control. First good cross field work from Amy Gallacher and Kirsty Morrison saw the ball played into the area for Jamie-lee Napier who’s volley was comfortably saved by Erin Clachers in the City goal. Eignht minutes later it would be Rachael Small who would have the opportunity to put her side in the lead getting on the end of a Colette Cavanagh cross on to see her header go just over the bar.

Both coaches fluidity in their approach made for a fascinating tactical battle as the second half continued with Scott Booth’s side starting the quicker and Fife in the Hibernian goal having to be quick off her line on a number of occasions whilst Small and captain Joelle Murray were just two of the numerous Hibs bodies to block goal bound City efforts. Both sides made changes as they searched for the opener but extra time soon had an air of inevitability about it as two of Scottish Women’s footballs heavyweights continued to slug it out.

Extra time came and went and whilst the game began to open up as legs tired and positions became stretched neither side was able to fashion that golden opportunity that would make the trophy theirs with both sides so evenly matched with Hibernian in particular digging in as the final whistle loomed. However with no score It would come down to penalties and it would be Scotland squad goalkeeper Jenna Fife that would emerge the hero. After the stopper denied Lauder and Shine it was left to Cailin Michie to seal victory for the Hibees which she duly obliged with cooly putting the ball past Clachers meaning the Edinburgh side moved level with their Glasgow rivals in having won 6 SWPL Cup trophies.

After the match I heard from an ecstatic Jamie-lee Napier, Hibs Head Coach Grant Scott and Glasgow City Head Coach Scott Booth after what was a keenly fought contest.

Audio of these this can be found at the top of the page.

SWPL1 – Rangers v Stirling University

For an audio version of this report please click here.

Rangers bounced back from last week’s humbling at the hands of league leaders Glasgow City to see off bottom of the table Stirling University and move up to fourth in the Scottish Building Society SWPL1 standings as goals from Carla Boyce, Chantelle Brown, Jade Gallon and youngster Siobhan Honeyman saw the home side mirror the 4-1 scoreline that had saw them claim three points against the same opposition earlier this season.

It looked like Amy McDonald’s side were set fair for a straightforward afternoon when they took the lead with barely a minute on the clock. A long ball from centre back Chelsie Watson made its way through to Carla Boyce who took a couple of touches before finishing clinically past Rebecca Sjogerud. Despite dominating the ball Rangers though couldn’t build on their advantage and on the 13 minute mark Uni found themselves level. After good work on the right hand side from Gemma Mason her ball into the area found Scotland u19 international Naomi Welch, who superbly chested the ball down before striking a sumptuous half volley past a diving Jade Baillie. Despite the equaliser Rangers dominance of the ball and territory continued but Welch was continuing to provide some much needed menace to the Stirling attack, as was evidenced just a couple of minutes after the equaliser. A slip from Rangers defender Lauren Gallon allowed the youngster through but this time she was only able to push her effort just wide. Rangers, despite their dominance, continued to struggle to create chances with Sarah Robertson fashioning their best before the half was over, cutting in from the right only to see her near post effort well saved by Sjogerud.

Keen to push home her side’s advantage McDonald introduced Chantelle Brown for Robertson whilst youngster Chloe Nicolson replaced Baillie in goal and both would play a key role as Rangers went in search of a second. Efforts from Brown, Jade Gallon and the impressive Amy Muir all were repelled as the Light Blue attacks continued to come wave after wave but it would be Stirling University that would nearly take a shock lead.  Firstly Welch again found herself through on goal although this time her angled effort hit the far post before a ball through the middle played in Eva Rule who with just teenager Nicolson to beat was unable to get her shot past the youngster who stood up well to save. The Greens would rue those missed chances as just a minute later Rangers would finally have the lead their pressure merited. A deep cross from Muir on the Rangers left was scrambled out of the area only for it to fall to substitute Brown with her shot from just inside the box finding the corner.

Amy McDonald introduced two more youngsters into the fray with the Rangers pressure continuing and both Rosie McQuillan and Siobhan Honeyman would play parts in the third and fourth goals that would seal the three points for the side from Govan. In the 85th minute Jade Gallon won the ball in midfield and proceeded to drive towards the Stirling goal, with McQuillan in support she played the ball to the young forward who quickly then returned it to Gallon who lifted it over Sjogerud to seal the three points for the home side. An exquisite long range finish from Honeyman a minute later rounded off the scoring after neat lay off play from Gallon as the victory sees Rangers move up the table again after what had been a dominant, if sometimes frustrating performance, with the precautionary withdrawals of Lauren Gallon and Amy Muir the only point of concern. For the visitors their search for a first win of the season continues although head coach Craig Beveridge will be pleased with how well his team hung in under the seige like pressure from their hosts.

Rangers midfielder and goal scorer, Jade Gallon: “We made it difficult for ourselves, first half we had plenty of possession but felt like we weren’t clinical enough in the final third but I thought second half was much better, we controlled the game again and then took our chances, eventually.”

“I’m always looking for three points, happy to score and get an assist but for me it’s always about the three points.”

Rangers Head Coach Amy McDonald: “To go one nil up in the first half so early you think we can push and go and get another goal but obviously then they score from what I think was their only shot in the first half.”

“Real praise has to go to Chloe Nicolson, Siobhan Honeyman and Rosie McQuillan who have come in today from our youth squads, Chloe made an excellent save, Siobhan scored a goal and Rosie made a good contribution so we’ll take it.”

On the potential injuries to Amy Muir and Lauren Gallon: “Lauren felt something in her knee and we are always kind of cautious with knees. Amy is feeling a bit tight and we’re fortunate now we’re moving into a period with a break with an opportunity for the players to rest and recover. It’s an education piece for us as well as before the players might have played on and we would have lost them for even longer.”

Rangers: Baillie, Muir, L.Gallon, Watson, Dalgliesh, Gemmell, Napier, J, Gallon, Robertson, McCartney, Boyce

Subs: Coakley, Honeyman, McQuillan, Brown, Nicolson

Goals: Boyce (‘1), Brown (’71), J. Gallon (’87), Honeyman (’86)

Stirling University: Sjogerud, Simpson, Murphy, Falconer, Connor, Coppel, Kim, Fulton, Mason, Welch

Subs: Kerr, Lyons, Grey

Goal: Welch (’13)

 

Amelia del Castillo: La Pionera

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Image Credit: rtve.es

 

Situated halfway between the centre of Spain’s capital Madrid and the picturesque day-tripper destination of Aranjuez the community of Pinto is not the kind of place where you would expect a revolution to have begun, never mind one that would not only have a lasting impact on women’s football in the Iberian Peninsula but on Spanish football as a whole. It’s the early 1960’s and El Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still in power. For woman of the time even the most mundane of activities, ones that we all take for granted to this day, cannot be completed by will alone. Should you want to apply for a drivers licence your ability to do so is subject to the rationales of your marital partner. If you needed to open a bank account it would be your marital partner that would have the final say on whether it’s need meets the requirements of the home. You can’t get divorced unless your husband decides your relationship has reached its end and should you have a child it is the father’s right to give them up for adoption without the need for your consent. Nostalgia at times can be a wonderful thing, a misty-eyes nod to the past towards perceived better times, but for many Spanish women who grew up in Francoist Spain memories of that time leaves no such warm and fuzzy feeling.

It’s these challenges, plus the many, many more that she would face that make the story of Amelia del Castillo, Spanish football’s first female president, even more remarkable in the face of continuing and sometimes boundless adversity. From an early age Amelia was already aware that the emotions that can be elicited from football fandom show no discrimination for gender. Atletico de Madrid became her first enabler with a communion gift of a club pin becoming the first bump to what would eventually evolve into a life long addiction. This addiction though was destined for far greater things than just waving a scarf on the terraces.

With her friends keen to participate in a Youth Front organised tournament in the southern Madrid town of Getafe Amelia took on the role of organiser. As the only person old enough in her group to do so she completed the registrations and sourced the equipment so that they could compete, all this despite the fact that she herself was unable to play as regulations stated, “it was forbidden for women to play football or be coaches, delegates or referees.” They didn’t however mention anything about the presidency of a club and so in 1961 the then 18 year old Amelia, with her resolve emboldened by what she had achieved with her friends in Getafe, founded La Flecha de Pinto (The Arrow of Pinto) football club. At a time when women could hardly achieve anything without the gesticulation of a man’s hand, this truly was a huge step for any woman to take, let alone a teenager. Of course though there were many more challenges to come.

Firstly Amelia did not just undertake the role of president but that too of match delegate and coach, three roles as absolute in their distinction then as they are today but even with this workload and despite the strides she was trying to make it was not only men who seemed determined to stand in her way. In a 2014 interview with Canal Plus she recounted, “Amazingly there was not much criticism at first but even friends of mine, their mothers, they did not let them come with me.” As if the hurdles weren’t already enough she was also refused entry to training courses again as a result of her gender and instead relied on theory based classes, coupling these with her background in gymnastics to help in the training of her team. A team, it’s worth making clear, of men.

In 1963 Amelia decided that to truly progress the step needed to be taken to move La Flecha underneath the auspice of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). This however would require funding with the need to play within an enclosed stadium as opposed to an open field proving to be the biggest hurdle to overcome. Never one to back down from a challenge she, and those that were helping her, acquired a camera with which they aimed to raffle off to raise funds. As football fans are often inclined to do she looked to one of her heroes in her time of need approaching Vicente Calderon (the same Vicente Calderon who Atletico de Madrid had named their stadium after until their 2017 move to the Wanda Metropolitiano) to see if he would be interested in purchasing some tickets. Much to Amelia’s surprise Calderon not only bought all the tickets on offer but also invited her to a meeting where she could further articulate her aspirations.

Clearly her case had been compelling and it would soon prove to be the start of an extremely fruitful arrangement as Calderon continued to support her endeavours in a number of ways. For a start he provided free medical services for the Pinto players. The everyday sundries of football that are so often taken for granted such as balls, shirts and even training cones he gave her provision for and perhaps most significantly he donated the building materials required from his own company to help close off the pitch and raise the levels to meet RFEF regulations. These acts, no doubt boosted by her affection for Los Rojiblancos, prompted Amelia to change the name of the club from La Flecha de Pinto to Club Atletico de Pinto, the name it continues to go by to this day and an enduring act of gratitude to the support given to her by Calderon. It’s worth noting that her cause was also aided by the likes of Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid but it is her relationship with Calderon that was key in seeing the club grow. Her story soon gained international attention, after all she was the only female president in Spanish football, with her story even crossing the Atlantic and landing in New York. With the club now fully affiliated to the federation and Franco’s reign entering it’s final years it would be fair to assume that from here things would have only continued on an upward trajectory but in football, whether it be on the field or off it, things never go quite that way.

In 1975 and after twelve years Amelia, with a board of directors in place and with designs on improving the commerciality of the club received a letter from the then mayor of Pinto, Daniel Martin, it’s content adding an unnecessarily cruel twist to her story. Having seen the club gain increasing support and recognition within the community Martin, instead of engaging with Amelia, sent CA Pinto’s founding mother a letter demanding that she step down from her role with the club and that if she did not he would create another club in the town, throwing all the administrative finance he could at it with a view to running Club Atletico de Pinto out of business. Despite the protestations of her colleagues within the club, Amelia decided that it would be for the greater good to step aside, her only crime, being a woman.

Her work in bringing football to the town never went forgotten, and although a wait of 25 years is most certainly a wait too long, on the 5th August 2000 a petition started by the incumbent president of the club led to a motion that would see Amelia del Castillo installed as honorary president along with a renaming of the side’s home ground from the Estadio Municipal de Pinto to Estadio Municipal de Amelia de Castillo.

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Image Credit: Roddy Cons @TheTeamOnTour

 

She still attends games at the stadium which she is now synonymous with to this day and in a February 2019 sit-down interview conducted via CA Pinto’s YouTube channel she tells of the strong relationship that she has with the side’s current president Oscar Garvin, acting as a confidante and offering advice as and when requested. CA Pinto, despite their modest status in the Tercera Division are committed to the creation of a women’s side something which Amelia is excited for with a hope that one day she will see her granddaughters don the black and red of a club which she calls in that same interview, “mi primer hijo” – my first child.

Her legacy has been lasting not only in Pinto but across the women’s game in Spain. In 2016 Eibar, currently plying their trade in Spain’s top tier, appointed Amaia Gorostiza Telleria as their, and also the Primera Divison’s, first ever female president. A role she is still succeeding in to this day. At a time of oppression for Spanish women, where it seemed your chromosomal constitution was more important than anything you wished to do or achieve, Amelia del Castillo not only survived but she thrived.

She was not only a pioneer she was: La Pionera.

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If you want to see what Estadio Municipal Amelia del Castillo looks like now then you can do so via Roddy Cons excellent YouTube Channel The Team on Tour exploring the lower leagues in Madrid and beyond. If it wasn’t for his video from CA Pinto’s Tercera Division clash with Santa Ana I never would have known about Amelia del Castillo, had my curiosity raised to read further about her story and then commit what I had learned to the pages of Leading the Line. The link to it I have included here.

 

Scottish Women’s Cup First Round Catch Up

An audio version of this post can be found by clicking here.

This weekend saw eighteen teams begin their journey to the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup Final later in the year. Whilst holders Hibernian will be hoping to retain the trophy for a fourth consecutive season, Glasgow City, who like their Edinburgh rivals are eight time winners of the trophy, will be hoping for a first victory since 2015. Could we see the dominance broken with Celtic, Spartans and Motherwell all having taken points against the big two this season whilst Rangers will continue to bring an air of unpredictability to proceedings. If either of these clubs, or perhaps a name that hasn’t even be mentioned yet go all the way it will be the first time since 2002 where a side not named Hibernian or Glasgow City will have claimed the trophy when FC Kilmarnock defeated Glasgow City 5-0 in the final.

These clubs along with their SWPL counterparts will enter the competition at the third round stage with the exception of Dundee United who have been excluded having failed to comply with the 2018 competition rules.

As for this weekend’s first round ties Dunfermline Athletic were the biggest winners as they put thirteen past Stewarton United as the SWFL1 side eased past their SWFL2 rivals at The Fleet Grounds. There was also a big win for Bishopton as they defeated Granite City 9-2 with Jenny McMahon helping herself to four goals. Borders Ladies came out 5-0 winners in their South of Scotland derby against Mid Annandale Ladies at Volunteer Park in Hawick whilst the other side from the region Annan Athletic were forced to concede their first round tie away to Stonehaven.

SWFL 1 North leaders Aberdeen were comfortable 4-0 victors away to SWFL2 Morton thanks to goals from Ogilivie, Hutchison, Forrest and Shore and they will be joined in round two by divisional rivals Raith Rovers and Montrose. The Kirkcaldy side currently bottom of the SWFL 1 North table were 3-2 winners at home to Rutherglen whilst Montrose edged a nine goal thriller in beating SWFL1 Cup finalists Renfrew 5-4 at Links Park and BSC Glasgow shocked hosts Ayr United 2-1.

Meanwhile at Airdrie Leisure Centre it was the hosts who got the better of Livingston based visitors, Murieston United. In an open first half the sides shared four goals in the opening twenty minutes but after the break the home side started to pull away with a hat trick performance from striker Megan Murray being key to the North Lanarkshire side running out 5-2 victors after what had started out an even encounter.

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Airdrie Ladies Head Coach Jim Morton: “First half we were a wee bit off the pace but the two teams made it a cracking first half. Second half we came out did what we are good at, ball on the floor in what was a cracking game of football.”

On expectations for the rest of the campaign: “I think tis a transitional period for Airdrie and they’ve just missed on promotion two years in the row and I think if we can progress another one round or two rounds it will be good.”

Hat trick hero, Airdrie Striker, Megan Murray: “We played well and were good off the ball and working as a team, two sloppy goals and but we built from it. As long as we play football the way we want to play football, on the deck and pass it about we’ll be happy. That’s me top of the table for goalscoring so chuffed with that.”

SSE Scottish Women’s Cup First Round Results

Airdrie 5-2 Murieston United

Dunfermline Athletic 13-0 Stewarton United

Morton 0-4 Aberdeen FC Women

Bishopton 9-2 Granite City Ladies

Borders Ladies 5-0 Mid Annandale Ladies

Ayr United 1-2 BSC Glasgow

Montrose 5-4 Renfrew

Raith Rovers Women 3-2 Rutherglen

Stonehaven 3-0 Annan Athletic Ladies (walkover)

East Kilbride Thistle Ladies C-C Edinburgh Caledonia FC

The winning sides from round one will be joined in round two by the remaining SWFL cubs who had received a bye in the first round.

SWPL2 – FC Kilmarnock v Hamilton Academical

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A 75th minute goal from substitute Dionne Brown was enough to send Hamilton Academical to the top of the Scottish Building Society SWPL2 table after a closely fought Easter Sunday encounter at a baking Rugby Park. The conditions were such that the referee called for water breaks in each half and it would be these conditions coupled with a Killie schedule that saw them playing three games in a week that would prove to be key as the match went on.

The first half was not one for the purists and whilst it was competitive neither side could quite seize the initiative and chances were at a premium. An early long-range free kick  from Accies midfielder Chloe Muir which did enough to sting the palms of Lauren McGregor in the Kilmarnock goal was the only action of note in the opening half hour. As the half progressed home side winger Kirsty Munro was starting to have some joy. First her ball across the six yard box on the 37th minute was primed for a forward’s foot to get on to but unfortunately for the home side none were forthcoming. Munro continued to probe though and some nice interplay with captain Lisa Swanson presented Monica Harty with a chance but that was unable to convert. Hamilton had chances of their own though. A powerful run and drive from Jade Lindsay after she dispossessed Swanson in midfield produced a smart save from Lauren McGregor whilst on the stroke of half time neat work again from Lindsay saw a Kirstie McIntosh effort stopped once more by the keeper.

The second half continued to prove that this game was to maintain its status as an even contest and it would be Kilmarnock that would have the first chance of the half after good work from Swanson put team-mate Clare Docherty through but Hamilton keeper Lauren Grant was there to snuff out the danger. As the half wore on though the visitors, with their ability to freshen things up, started to take more control of the game. After a McIntosh effort slid just by the Kilmarnock post having been played through by substitute Amy Bulloch their pressure paid off a few minutes later. Good work from McIntosh on the Hamilton right saw her cross make its way to the back post and, after missing everyone in the area, it fell to MT Gardiner on the opposite side who jinked past one defender before putting the ball across to Dionne Brown who slid home what would turn out to be the winner.

Knowing that victory could send them to the top of the table the visitors pressed for a second but were unable to capitalise on their advantage and it was the home side who nearly snatched a point in injury time with Amy Burrows free kick from the edge of the area just going wide.

Whilst the Lanarkshire side took home the three points this was another encounter that went to show that anything is possible in the tightly contested SWPL2 this season.

Hamilton Manager Gary Doctor: “We should have managed it better towards the last few minutes of the game but it’s all about wins now. Literally every game has an impact and it was massive just to win. We’re now in a position where it’s in our own hands now.”

Goalscorer Dionne Brown: “I’m just happy to get the three points the girls and coaches put a lot of effort into training so delighted with the result. We’re in this league to win it so coming into this and taking away the three points is a massive thing for us.”

FC Kilmarnock Manager Stewart Hall: “Absolutely gutted, we played very well in the first half but in the second half we started to tire which can happen when you play three games in a week. Some of the girls have played all three 90 minutes (against St. Johnstone and Partick Thistle too) adn we’ve also had jig about our formation.

We’re not playing badly in these games and we’re not going to ask the girls to do anything different other than putting the ball in the back of the net.”

FC Kilmarnock: McGregor, Neil, Murphy, Docherty, Burrows, Robinson, Munro, Docherty, Fleming, Harty, Swanson,

Subs: Little, McCulloch, Otto

Hamilton Academical: Grant, McWhirter, Fraser, Mcintosh, Anderson, Sturrock, Fitzsimmons, Muir, Quigley, Gardner, Lindsay

Subs: Quinn, McCann, Brown, Kane, Bulloch, Ross

Goal: Brown (’75)

An audio version of this report including all interviews can be found here.