Jenna Fife was the spot kick hero as she made two saves in the penalty shoot-out to earn Hibs their fourth consecutive SWPL Cup trophy against Glasgow City in front of a record breaking competition attendance at Airdrie’s Penny Cars Stadium.
The sides couldn’t be split in 120 minutes of football and the game had to be decided by penalties, with Cailin Michie firing home the winner for Hibs.
City began brightly and almost took the lead inside two minutes, but Jenna Fife was able to block Clare Shine’s shot and Hibs scrambled the ball clear. Despite City’s strong start, Hibs quickly grew into the game and had an effort on goal when Jamie-Lee Napier volleyed Kirsty Morrison’s cross, but the shot was straight at Erin Clachers.
The Edinburgh side came within inches of opening the scoring just before the half hour mark when Rachael Small got her head onto a cross, however, her looping header dropped onto the roof of the net.
Five minutes before half time, City went close to grabbing the opener when Nicola Docherty headed wide at the back post. That was the closest the league leaders came however and it remained goalless at the break.
Just like in the first half, it was City who began the second the better and they went close when Megan Foley’s effort deflected just past the post. At the other end, a quick break and pass from Small gave Napier the chance to get a shot at goal, but her strike was tame and easily held by Clachers.
There was a big shout by the Glasgow side for a penalty on 59 minutes when Docherty went down under a challenge from Napier, but the referee waved play on. Hibs were also incensed when Clachers picked up a Carly Girasoli pass-back, but referee Gary Hanvidge ruled the defender had in fact made a tackle and turned down the appeals.
As the game moved into the last fifteen minutes, the two sides became a bit scrappy with neither wanting to lose a goal. Clare Shine tried for City, yet her shot didn’t trouble Fife while Foley also had an effort from distance which flew over the bar.
Despite the chances at both ends, neither side could find a breakthrough and the match headed into extra time. The first chance in the further half an hour fell the way of Hibs, but Chelsea Cornet’s header went high over the bar.
Almost instantly though, City burst forward and went close to scoring as Leanne Crichton’s strike took a slight nick as it flew just over. That flurry of chances continued as Hibs went on the attack straight away and substitute Shannon McGregor shot off target from the edge of the area.
City’s top scorer Kirsty Howat was quiet for large parts of the evening but she wasn’t far away with a shot from 20 yards out in the first half of extra time.
The second period was a lot quieter than the first, although Hayley Lauder was close to scoring for City, her header going just past the post. With penalty kicks looming, City really should have scored but Shine somehow managed to glance her header wide from close range.
In the end though, the two couldn’t be separated and for the first time ever, the SWPL Cup Final would be settled by penalties.
City were up first and took the lead in the shoot-out, captain Leanne Ross sending Fife the wrong way. Siobhan Hunter though, levelled for Hibs before Fife kept out Lauder’s effort and Small put the capital side in front.
Hibees keeper Fife then denied Shine and McGregor made it 3-1, meaning Crichton had to score to keep City in it, which she did with ease.
Cailin Michie however stepped up knowing if she could find a goal, Hibs would be champions and she sent her spot kick flying into the roof of the net to hand Grant Scott’s side the trophy once more.
Glasgow City: Clachers; Foley, Clark, Girasoli, Docherty; Ross, Crichton, Lauder; McLintock (Ivanusa, 75), Shine, Howat
Hibs: Fife; Michie, Murray, Hunter, Cavanagh (Williamson, 112); Napier, Gallacher (McGregor, 60), Cornet, Small, Reilly (Notley, 88); Morrison (Tweedie, 95)