Swifts headed to meet Hutchie Vale in what was more or less a battle for 4th place. It was to be a hugely entertaining game with both teams going all out for the win, with the home side claiming the points with an injury time penalty.
Swifts took the lead early when a great diagonal ball found Todd who had been causing problems from the outset. She took a good first touch and her shot was diverted home by McIntyre.
The home side responded quickly when a great run down the left and early cross was controlled well and stabbed home by Russell.
Getting the equaliser encouraged Hutchie and their direct style was causing problems for the young Swifts defence who were too hesitant in attacking the high ball. The pressure was rewarded when Fish was sent through and the striker lobbed coolly over the advancing McIlravey.
Swifts weren’t accepting this however and came storming back and Todd who was still a constant threat was denied by Parker-Smith and then McGinley hit a tremendous long range that looked a goal all the way until it smashed off the bar.
HT Hutchie Vale 2 Jeanfield Swifts 1
Swifts had contributed a great deal to an entertaining first half but had ultimately failed to deal with the direct style and running of the hosts. Grossi looked for the same quality with the ball but a more resilient defensive performance in the second half.
To be fair to the Swifts they showed a great reaction and looked determined to get the equaliser.
With Cowie now dominant Swifts were more solid and were pushing for the equaliser.
Grossi had been introduced and had a made a positive impact, Tweedie continued to press forward and McGinley went close with a great shot and run and then Cowie connected with a corner but the keeper saved.
As the time began to run out young Hannah Clark was introduced to make her SWPL debut at only 14 years of age and hopefully inspire an equaliser. The home side were also pressing and a great header looked goal-bound until McIlravey flung herself to the right to make an incredible save, parrying the ball for a corner.
It was an older head however who provided the equaliser that the Swifts play had deserved.
Awarded a free kick on the edge of the box Shaw stepped up and struck a fantastic shot into the opposite top corner. The game was now into added time and a McGinley throw just failed to find a taker.
Just as it looked like the game would end with a share of the spoils, Hutchie were awarded a spot kick on 95mins.
Sturrock however wasn’t complaining and blasted the spot kick home.
FT Hutchie Vale 3 Jeanfield Swifts 2
Swifts will have been deflated to have lost in such a controversial manner having contributed so much especially in an excellent second half. The fact that it was a great end-to-end game that entertained the crowd will have been no compensation.
Coach Shaw was understandably disappointed “I think we learned quickly how to nullify the long ball tactics from Hutchie and our second half performance was excellent and we certainly deserved to take away a point or even win the game. However maybe one day we will become a bit more streetwise”.
Reported by Steve Grossi
Picture: Jeanfield Swifts