Hibernian progressed into the Second Round of the SWPL Cup after defeating Heart of Midlothian 1-0 at Ainslie Park on Sunday afternoon, with Kirsten Reilly producing the game-winning moment in style.
Report: Robbie Castle / Image: David Robertson
Grant Scott’s team were on top in the first half but were struggling to make the breakthrough until a fine move ended with Reilly’s stunning 25 yard drive finding the top corner of Emily Mutch’s goal.
The second period was more of a gritty affair, but still heralded chances for Hibernian which the side were unable to take, however, the side comfortably progressed into the Second Round.
On the way to SWPL Cup glory in 2018, Hibernian’s journey began with a First Round tie against fellow Edinburgh side Hearts – running out 4-0 winners at King’s Park.
This time round the encounter was closer in terms of the scoreline, however, the team in green still dominated despite the reduced number of goals.
From the off, Hibernian were threatening down the wings and putting significant pressure on the Hearts defence. Siobhan Hunter came close to opening the scoring with nine minutes gone, however, her header was just off-target.
Despite the dominance the hosts were struggling to complete the killer pass in the final third with Hearts proving to be resolute and determined in defence.
Captain Joelle Murray came close to opening the scoring as the defender connected with Colette Cavanagh’s free-kick, but her volley was struck just inches over the bar.
Hearts did have a chance of their own chances through the game with a volley in the 23rd minute skipping wide of Jenna Fife’s goal.
Amy Gallacher had two chances in the space of two minutes as Hibernian ramped up the pressure. Her first hit the side-netting while the second was on target, but Mutch was equal to her volley and made a great save.
The moment that determined the match came in the 38th minute when Reilly’s excellent strike found the back of the net.
A lovely move down the left saw the ball played to Chelsea Cornet in the box and the midfielder teed up Reilly 25 yards from goal, with her effort thundering into the top corner.
Fife was alert to make a great save from close range shortly before the interval.
That shook Hibs back to life and at the start of the second half they began with real intent, creating numerous opportunities in the process.
Ellis Notley forced the keeper into a save with a shot from outside the box before Cavanagh threatened minutes later, after charging through the visitors defence, and fired from outside the box with the ball going inches wide.
Reilly had a chance to double her team’s lead, and her goal tally, after 63 minutes, as she fired just wide of the target.
Hibernian remained on top and composed in possession of the ball and had another good chance to make it 2-0. Cavanagh was bundled over on the edge of the box and Hunter’s fiercely struck effort forced Mutch into another save.
The rest of the game was a gritty affair, but Hibernian were unable to snatch another goal, and held out against a strong Heart of Midlothian side.
Hibernian’s next game is away to Motherwell on Sunday 10 March in the SBS SWPL, with the match taking place at Ravenscraig with a 2:30pm kick-off.
Hibernian: Fife, Napier, Hunter, Michie, Cavanagh (Williamson, 81), Gallacher (Tweedie, 61), Notley (Small, 62), Murray, Cornet, Morrison (Davidson, 54), Reilly (Fish, 72).
Unused substitutes: Currie, Leishman.
Heart of Midlothian: Mutch, Delworth, Hunter, Walkinshaw, Kidd, Smith, Heron, Pagliarulo, Kaney, Evans (Hughes, 70), Maughan.
Unused substitutes: Parker-Smith, Paterson, Carse.