Match report by Tim Oliver
Shannon Leishman’s 83rd minute winner saw Hibernian Development come back from 1-0 down to beat East Fife 2-1 to win the SWFL Division One League Cup.
Despite Hibernian dominating the game, it was East Fife who took the lead in the 12th minute when poor defending allowed Lauren Wheatley to score with a superb lob. But Hibernian never panicked and early in the second half, they found the equaliser through Nicole Rutherford’s header.
With the game looking like it was going into extra-time, Hibs found the winner when Leishman’s cross found the back of the net.
Hibs started the game strongly and soon had a good chance when Caitlin Russell had the shot deflected just wide. Minutes later, Russell cut off the left-wing and unleashed a powerful shot that East Fife’s keeper Klaudia Walas did well to hold onto at the near post.
They came close once again when Ellis Notley’s corner caused a goalmouth scramble, but East Fife just managed to clear.
East Fife then took the lead against the run of play. A ball from the right was allowed to bounce in the box by the Hibs’ defence, the ball fell to Lauren Wheatley and she turned and deftly lobbed the Hibs’ keeper Kirsty Jefferies.
Hibs looked for an equaliser and came close when Beth Preston broke down the right-wing and picked out Nicole Rutherford and her shot was superbly saved by Walas.
East Fife were looking to possibly double their lead when the won a free-kick in a dangerous position. But from it, Hibs launched a counter-attack which ended with Rutherford having her shot blocked.
However, soon after, East Fife did come close to a second when a long ball forward picked out Teri Skivington with her back to goal. She turned and blasted the ball goal ward, but straight at Jefferies.
Hibs had one more great chance before half-time to equalise when Notley’s corner caused a goal-line scramble which ended with Alana McMillan shooting wide from just four yards.
Half Time: East Fife 1-0 Hibernian LFC Development
In the 53rd minute, Hibernian scored the equaliser. Notley’s corner found Rutherford at the near post and she scored with a superb header.
They came close to taking the lead when Rutherford cut the ball back across the six-yard box where Preston could only shoot into the side-netting.
Hibs came close when Notley’s free-kick was cleared as far as Leishman who lined up her 30-yard shot which just crept wide of the post.
East Fife though showed their threat when Chloe Guppy picked out Skivington in the box and her shot was saved from close range by Jefferies.
But it was Hibs who were looking more likely to score. Morgan Turner sent a diagonal through-ball towards the far post where Beth Preston fired the ball into the side-netting. And then Russell broke into the box and her cutback caught out the Fifers’ defence, picking out Beth Preston whose shot was parried by Walas, who then smothered the ball at the feet of Turner.
And then, Hibernian Development took the lead when Leishman’s cross from the right-wing looked like it would be dealt with by Walas, but possibly distracted by Rutherford at the far post, the keeper could only parry the ball into the net.
East Fife could have scored an equaliser in the 90th minute. A cross picked out Stacey Penman in the box and her shot was saved from six-yards out, and then the ball fell to Johanna Clark who fired the ball over.
Full Time: East Fife 1-2 Hibernian LFC Development
Alfie Smith – Hibernian Development Manager:
“We made hard work of it, no doubt about that, but the girls produced in the end, they scored the second goal just before the end. I think we had the lion’s share of the possession, we dominated the ball, East Fife struggled to get out of their half at times. They made it tough for us, defended really well, restricted us to a lot of half-chances. But in the end, I think we deserved it.”
Alana Marshall – Hibernian Development Captain
“It shows a lot for a team to go 1-0 down, especially after just ten minutes or so, to come back and score and win 2-1, I think it shows a lot of determination and grit to do that.”
East Fife: Klaudia Walas, Elissa Nicholson (Pamela Gibson 85), Kirsty Graham, Liz Anderson, Kerry Dickson (Laura Dawson 77), Melissa McAllister, Johanna Clark, Lauren Wheatley (Stacey Penman 57), Kim Tennant (Carol Fraser 52), Chloe Guppy, Teri Skivington (c).
Subs: Eilidh Byer, Ashleigh Smith
Hibernian Development: Kirsty Jefferies, Shannon Leishman, Rachael Conner, Alana McMillan (c), Robyn Fleming, Morgan Turner, Ellis Nothley, Beth Preston (Mhairi Smith 76), Carly Noble (Danielle Forsyth 63), Caitlin Russell (Lucia Antonacci 89), Nicole Rutherford.
Subs: Olivia Murphy, Hannah Preston, Beth Sutherland.