Hibs claimed the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup final after winning 6-5 on penalties over rivals Glasgow City. The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and remained that way after a further half-an-hour. In the end, it was one penalty that made all the difference as the Edinburgh side added to their SWPL Cup victory earlier this season.
It was a game that started brightly, with both sides looking to create chances and play with the ball at feet at every opportunity. Given their strong defensive records this season, it was unsurprising that the first real chance came after 17 minutes. Fiona Brown was played in down the left and cut the ball back across goal, but Jenna Fife did well to deny City and claim inside her six-yard box.
The next real chance was the opening goal. A quick throw-in was played to Claire Williamson who launched a great cross into the box. Lisa Robertson did superbly to time her run from midfield and place her header past the helpless Gemma Fay and give Hibs the lead after 23 minutes.
Glasgow City kicked on and looked for an equaliser, but Hibs stern defence were limiting the title holders to very few opportunities. They also continued to look dangerous themselves, particularly on the break. Moments before the half-time whistle, the ball fell to Lucy Graham on the edge of the area, but she dragged her volley wide of Fay’s goal.
In the second-half, Glasgow City came out fighting, applying pressure on Hibs and holding them in their final third. However, they couldn’t find that elusive goal and it was Hibs that came closest to scoring. McLaughlin broke down the right before crossing it in towards Abi Harrison. It evaded Harrison, then Lizzie Arnot, and even Fay, but thankfully for Glasgow City there was no remaining Hibs players at the back post to finish off the loose ball.
Hibs then came close to replicating their opening goal. Kirsty Smith this time was the provider from the left wing and Graham was on hand to head towards goal from the edge of the box. However, her effort went narrowly wide, much to the relief of Glasgow City.
In similar fashion to Hibs’ opener, Glasgow City equalised when they were on the back foot. A mistake at the back gave Haley Lauder possession and she composed herself to bend the ball towards goal. Fife did well to get a diving hand to it, but she couldn’t get enough power in the save and the ball still found the net.
After the eqauliser, the game remained a tight affair with neither side creating any clear cut opportunities. It felt like the sort of game that would be decided by a moment of brilliance or an unfortunate mistake.
That moment nearly came with the last kick of the ball. A cross from the left caused havoc in the Glasgow City box and Fay couldn’t hold it. It meant a scramble ensued, but none of the Hibs players could turn it in and give their side certain victory. The season would need at least another 30 minutes to decide the SSE Scottish Women’s Cup winners.
It was Hibs who again almost grabbed a goal from a scramble. This time a great corner in had Glasgow City disorganised, but despite connecting with her strikes on two occasions, there were enough players in the way to block the ball and clear it away.
Into the second half of extra-time and Glasgow City went close. Clare Shine held the ball up well before driving into the box. She then cut the ball back perfectly for Crilly who connected well, but dragged the shot just wide.
Neither side could find that elusive third goal though and for the first time since 2003, the Scottish Women’s Cup final would go to penalties. In that match, Hibs prevailed 5-4 against Kilmarnock and it would be the Hibee’s who prevailed again, but it certainly wasn’t easy. Robertson missed their first spot kick and she would require Fife to make a great save to bring the sides level after four penalties each. Then, from the seventh penalty, Glasgow City missed the target and gave Hibs victory.
Player of the Match was awarded to Hibernians Rachel McLauchlan
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