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.

 

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SWPL2 – Hearts Women v St Johnstone Women

An 87th minute header from substitute Fiona Mearns helped St. Johnstone earn a point as a frantic last fifteen minutes rounded off what had been up until that point a fairly tame SWPL2 encounter at Oriam in Edinburgh.

Both sides came into the game on the back of defeats in a division that is fast shaping up to be one where points can be taken off anyone and at any time. Hearts went into the weekend top of the table despite having suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Dundee United last time out whilst the Perth side were still searching for their first victory of the season following a 2-0 defeat at home to FC Kilmarnock.

It was St. Johnstone who had the first attempts on goal as two long range efforts from midifielder Jade McDonald failed to trouble Emily Mutch in the Hearts goal but gave an early indication that chances would be a at a premium throughout the early stages of this match. St. Johnstone continued to shoot form range without much effect as the half continued whilst Hearts’ main threat came from a series of through balls that lively striker Lauren Evans couldn’t quite get on the end of although a Hearts effort on the half hour did call Saints keeper Rebecca Cameron into action. The best passage of play in the first period came from the visitors. Some intricate play around the edge of the box between Hannah Clark, Ellie-May Cowie and Nicole Carter ended with Clark diverting a shot towards goal that Mutch did well to get down to her left and keep hold of. It was a much needed piece of action to help rouse a healthy crowd in attendance at Oriam but despite the home sides earlier possession advantage it was St. Johnstone who ended the half stronger and a neat corner kick routine saw Rachel Todd turn the ball just wide of Mutch’s near post.

Perhaps aware that the pace needed quickened both sides came out the blocks at the start of the second half. Hearts’ almost immediately took the advantage as a through ball from midfielder Jenny Smith was latched onto by Aisha Maughan however the attacker’s effort was well smothered by Cameron. Hearts continued to be in the ascendency and had their best chance of the game when Ashley Carse played in Evans who after rounding the keeper was denied by Rhiannon Tweedie’s block on the St. Johnstone line.

It looked as if the game was heading for a stalemate but Evans was not to be denied and on the 82nd minute she put the home side ahead. A lobbed ball through from midfielder Rachel Walkingshaw put the striker into the danger area but she still had plenty to do outmuscling and then skipping past both a Saints defender and the goalkeeper before tucking the ball in at the near post with the defence scrambling. It seemed a just reward for Hearts’ more adventurous second half display but just five minutes later Mearns rose highest to get on the end of a right wing corner to scramble home a equaliser and with time ticking down it looked like it might be the visitors who would sneak an unlikely victory. It wasn’t to be though and a point was enough to keep the Jambos top of the SWPL2 pile come the end of the day.

Hearts Goalkeeper Emily Mutch gave her thoughts on the game and her aims for the rest of the season: “I think in the first half we didn’t play well enough but in the second we dominated and we just needed to take our chances. I think we can build on it even though it’s disappointing to only come away with a draw but we can use that to motivate us in our next game.”

“For Hearts we want to finish top of the league and get promoted. Personally I’m working hard as I’d love to be involved with the squad for the upcoming Women’s U19 European Championships that are being held in Scotland.”

Hearts: Mutch, Delworth, Hunter, Walkingshaw, Kids, Carse, Smith, Pagliarulo, Kaney, Evans, Maughan

St Johnstone: Cameron, Milligan, Tweedie, Clark, McDonald, Carter, Shepherd, Todd, Foote, McGowan Cowie

SWPL1 Results

Celtic 0-0 Motherwell

Forfar Farmington 0-7 Glasgow City

Hibernian 4-0 Rangers

Stirling University 0-3 Spartans

SWPL2 Results

FC Kilmarnock 2-0 Glasgow Girls

Hamilton Academical 12-0 Hutchison Vale

Hearts 1-1 St. Johnstone

Partick Thistle 2-1 Dundee United