SWPL Cup Final – Glasgow City v Hibernian

For an audio version of this report please click here.

20190511_1103445717891220046472857.jpg

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.

Advertisements

SWPL Cup Quarter Final – Rangers v Forfar Farmington

20190324_15361311102575058720680.jpg

Rangers booked their place in next month’s SWPL Cup semi-finals as they blew away Forfar Farmington at a gusty New Tinto Park.

After a closely fought encounter in the league just a couple of weeks ago which the home side edged 2-1 there were hopes that this would be an equally tight contest with the added incentive of cup progression at stake. It was Rangers who would come out quickest though and they would go on to dominate the play throughout the first half. Early efforts from Nicole Pullar and Amy Muir failed to trouble Fiona McNicoll in the Farmington goal but on the 17th minute the home sides pressure would pay off. After being played through striker Pullar was brought down in the box with the goal beckoning. The decision to award a penalty was an easy one for referee Gary Hanvidge to make and experienced midfielder Clare Gemmell stepped up to stroke the ball into the bottom left hand corner of McNicoll’s goal.

Rangers continued to press with two longe range efforts from Chantelle Brown as the visitors struggled to get any kind of foothold in the game and with two minutes to go before half time Rangers doubled their lead. A corner into the box from the left caused panic in the Farmington area and from the resulting six yard box scramble the ball fell to defender Hannah Coakley who passed the ball through the crowd and into the bottom of the net. Despite some occasionally scrappy moments from both sides it was a half time lead the hosts fully deserved.

Farmington manager Stevie Baxter would have wanted his side to come out quickly at the start of the second half but his plans were needing rethought not long after the re-start as Rangers made it 3-0 through Pullar. An excellent ball from Carla Boyce played winger Brown into the area who’s well placed cutback allowed the striker to calmly stroke the ball home and effectively end the contest with 48 minutes on the clock. The wind, which had been blowing on and off throughout the game, grew in strength as the game headed towards its end with even the lowest of balls being blown back from whence it came. With clearing the ball becoming more difficult for the Rangers rearguard the Angus side were given a glimmer of hope as striker Danni McGinley pulled one back, volleying in from the edge of the box with twenty minutes to go. This moment was however to prove fleeting and Rangers sealed their victory with a fourth on the 85th minute. Forfar keeper McNicoll was only able to parry substitute Hayley Sinclair’s shot back into the danger zone where striker Boyce was able to put the rebound in and finish the scoring at 4-1 to the Glasgow side.

Rangers were full value for their victory and could have had more if it wasn’t for Fiona McNicoll who made a number of saves throughout the game. For Forfar Farmington there will be disappointment their SWPL Cup campaign has ended in this manner and now focus will be renewed on league business as they travel to face bottom of the table Stirling University next time out.

Rangers defender and goalscorer, Hannah Coakley: “The main thing was to get through and I think the first half performance merited the victory. In the second half the wind pinned us in a bit but I think we did enough to deserve it.”

On next week’s Old Firm: It’s good to bounce back from last week (4-0 defeat to Hibs Ladies) and with the Old Firm next week you can’t beat it so we just need to make sure we are right up for it and take the game to them.”

Rangers Manager, Amy McDonald: “I thought we were fairly dominant throughout the full game and I was really pleased that the players came out in the second half and did what we asked them to do after going in two up. We wanted a reaction from last week and we got one.”

On next week’s Old Firm match: “It will be a really tight match next weekend and it’s good to have a bit of added spice with it being the Old Firm. We need to be organised and disciplined but Celtic will be thinking like that too.”

Forfar Farmington Manager, Stevie Baxter: “We’re really disappointed. We allowed Rangers to dominate every single aspect of the game today, we were not even second to the ball. It’s difficult because the girls are a good bunch and I wouldn’t swap them for anybody but we’re all disappointed and hurting today because we left here after the 2-1 defeat in the league thinking we deserved something but today that wasn’t the case.”

“The girls are good technical players but they didn’t show that today, the conditions were at times horrendous but that’s not an excuse and I’m sure we’ll start putting things right next week.”

FT: Rangers 4-1 Forfar Farmington

Rangers Goals: Gemmell (pen 17), Coakley (43), Pullar (48), Boyce (85)

Forfar Farmington Goal: McGinley (70)

Rangers: Ramsay, Dalgliesh, Coakley, L. Gallon, Muir, Gemmell, O’Hara, Napier, Brown, Pullar, Boyce.

Subs: Baillie, Inglis, J. Gallon, Sinclair, Watson

Forfar Farmington: McNicoll, Cattanach, Paterson, Stewart, Smith, Bruce, Kilcoyne, Cowper, McGinley, McPherson, Brough

Subs: White, Noble, Weber, Doubel, Davidson, Robb.