Match Report by Chris Marshall.
Hibernian defender Siobhan Hunter was the unlikely hat-trick hero as her side cruised through to the SSE Scottish Cup Quarter-Finals with a 7-1 victory over Edinburgh rivals Hearts at a sun-drenched Oriam.
The home side came into the game optimistic they could run their city rivals close after losing out narrowly 1-0 in the opening round of the SWPL Cup back in February but it would be a very different Hibernian side that Andy Enwood’s team would face with the Hibees ending a productive week having played three, won three and scoring a total of 16 goals across both league and cup.
With half an hour gone though that emphatic scoreline looked a long way off with Hearts looking strong, organised, and buoyed by a Dani McGinley opener that had given them the lead on the 13th minute. Good work from fellow summer acquisition Louise Mason down the Hibs right saw her ball find McGinley in space at the back post, with the striker showing great composure to tuck the ball past Jenna Fife in the visitors goal.
From there though Hibernian would go on to have the bulk of the ball and territory but were mainly limited to long range efforts which Scotland U19 international Emily Mutch was able to comfortably deal with in the Hearts goal.
The pressure from the Leith side continued to build and on the 39th minute they finally got their equaliser. After Mutch had denied Jamie-Lee Napier one-on-one to push the ball out for a corner, the resulting cross from midfielder Rachel Boyle found the head of Hunter who thundered the ball home for her second headed goal in as many games.
Hearts coach Andy Enwood would have been keen to get his side in level at half time but in the final minutes of the half the Jambos would find themselves a goal down. Colette Cavanagh, who has developed a knack for the spectacular in recent games, was left in plenty of space 25 yards out where she looked up before sending a screamer past the outstretched fingertips of Mutch with the ball bouncing in off the underside of the bar.
It was harsh on the home side to go in at the interval a goal down, especially considering their strong opening half hour, but any hopes of a comeback were quickly blown away by three goals in nine second half minutes as Grant Scott’s side turned the screw whilst showing the same attacking verve that saw them extinguish Stirling University hopes in the previous round.
In the 53rd minute Rachel Boyle found a wandering Hunter on the edge of the Hearts area who took a touch to wrong-foot the defender before blasting her shot into the corner giving Mutch no chance. Six minutes later the defender completed her hat-trick when she emphatically converted a penalty after Cavanagh was adjudged to have been fouled be Hearts defender Kara Kidd just inside the area.
It was soon to be 5-1 when perennial assist maker Boyle would be on the recipient of a cross ball to tap in form close range and Hibernian would continue to press as both side began to ring the changes in what would have been an energy sapping game on a blistering Sunday.
It would be substitute Shannon Leishman who would round out the scoring with a late double and Hibernian now join four other SWPL 1 sides along with SWPL 2 Hamilton Academical and SWFL sides Aberdeen and Queen’s Park in Wednesday’s Quarter Final draw.
The only sour note for the visitors being an injury that forced off the impressive Amy Muir who, along with teammate Napier, was called up to Shelley Kerr’s Scotland squad earlier in the day.
For Hearts, focus returns to their primary aim for the season and earning promotion from an always competitive SWPL 2.
Hearts: Mutch, Delworth, Hunter, Mason, Walkingshaw, Kidd, J. Smith, McGinley, Malcolm, R. Smith, Evans. Subs: Anderson, Horn, Paterson, Brill-Edwards, Hall, Pagliarulo, Maughan.
Hibernian: Fife, Muir, Hunter, Murray, Notley, Reilly, Boyle, Cornet, Cavanagh, Gallacher, Napier. Subs: Currie, Michie, McGregor, Higgins, Leishman, Morrison, Davidson.