Hibernian Ladies once again earned their place in a cup final after triumphing over rivals Glasgow City at Falkirk Stadium….
Report: Hibernian FC Media, and Picture: Craig Doyle
Hibernian Ladies once again earned their place in a cup final after triumphing over rivals Glasgow City at Falkirk Stadium on Sunday afternoon with an Abi Harrison hat-trick.
The game was set up to be a thrilling one after a last-minute Abi Harrison goal cancelled out City’s 2-1 lead in the league two weeks ago. City also were eager to claim a place in the final after losing out last year in the same fixture at the same stage, and the year before to Hibs in the final.
It was Harrison again who made the lives of the City players difficult after firing three past goalkeeper Erin Clachers.
The game was off to an exciting start from the first whistle as Glasgow City claimed for a penalty three minutes in after their player tripped up on the surface inside the box. It was shortly after that they were awarded a penalty. Hibs’ shot-stopper Hannah Reid had no choice but to bring the City player down as they raced to the ball and the penalty was given.
Reid was confident though and dived to her left and comfortably turned the ball behind for a corner kick.
This gave Hibernian the lift they needed and less than ten minutes later Harrison opened up the scoring after a slip-up in midfield sent her running towards the goal from the halfway line.
The defender by her side managed to block her first shot but the ball fell back down and Harrison comfortably slotted home on the volley.
Half an hour into the game, Harrison doubled the lead with her second. A lovely run from Kirsty Smith down the left enabled her to swing in a pinpoint low cross which Harrison got to before her marker, and knocked it into the bottom corner.
City weren’t giving up as they tried to claw back a goal to close the gap, but Reid was able to continuously make saves. Five minutes before the break a first-time effort from City’s Love sailed over Reid’s net.
A couple of minutes after this Hibs showed they weren’t going to settle down with a two-goal lead. Harrison hit a volley on the turn just outside the box but it went wide of the post. Shortly after, she found herself in a similar situation and slotted McLauchlan through, who was not able to convert.
Hibernian got off to a flying start in the second half as Harrison grabbed her hat-trick a minute into the second period.
A lovely ball from Lizzie Arnot, who earned her first start after missing a full season due to an injury, met the head of the Hibs striker who guided it into the back of the net to make it 3-0.
City were quick to respond, and a shot by Lauder from distance was tipped over the bar by Reid.
Shortly before the hour mark, Harrison did well to lay off McLauchlan in the box again, but she fired just wide of the post.
In the 67th minute Glasgow City grabbed a goal back after Kerr fired a rocket in at the edge of the box from the cut-back.
With 20 minutes to go, City pushed on to try to claim two more goals to dramatically put the game into extra-time. The Hibs defensive set-up was solid enough to deal with any danger City caused, and Reid was able to claim the ball after a dangerous cross was met by the striker ten minutes from time.
Hibernian did not sit back, and Smith knocked the ball in behind for McLauchlan but she couldn’t stretch far enough to control it. The full-time whistle blew shortly after, sealing Hibs’ 3-1 win.
Hibs’ win means they are in the final of the SWPL Cup once again, and have the chance to win it for the third time in a row. For the second time in a row, they will play Celtic who won their tie 4-1 against Forfar Farmington.
The final will be played on Sunday 20 May at the Falkirk Stadium, with a 2pm Kick Off.
Hibernisn will face Glasgow City in the league for the third time in six weeks, in a fortnight which promises to be another exciting matchup.
Hibernian: Reid, Robertson (C), Michie, Arnot (Turner, 72), Smith, McLauchlan, Graham, Notley, Cornet (McGregor, 79), Harrison (Napier, 90), Brownlie. Unused subs: Fife, Hunter, Gallacher, Reilly.