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Hibernian win at Ainslie Park

Match Report by Edmund Brown




Hibernian travelled from West Lothian to take all three points as they beat Spartans 4-0 at Ainslie Park.

After taking a 1-0 lead into the half-time break through a strike from Susan Fairlie, who had connected with a Kirsty McLaughlin cross at the near post, Hibs increased their lead on the hour mark, scoring two goals inside a minute through a vicious McLaughlin strike and a fierce Fairlie drive. Hibs wrapped the game up moments before the final whistle as Caroline Weir lobbed Rachel Harrison to seal the 4-0 victory.

It was Hibs who, after a poor back-pass by Louise Magilton to her keeper, were the closest to taking the lead in the early stages of this derby match as the pacey Susan Fairlie stole in just ahead of Harrison only to see her toe-poke creep inches past the post.

And it was the Spartans Number 1 who came to the rescue moments later as she pulled of a fine save to push the ball around the post from a Hollie Thomson drive.

Kirsty McLaughlin, who was causing the Spartans defence problems with her darting runs, flicked the ball into the path of her midfield colleague and from 20 yards out Thomson sent a curling shot towards the bottom corner only to see Harrison, at full stretch, palm the ball away for a corner.

With both midfields battling it out there was very little goalmouth action until, ten minutes before the break, Hibs took the lead with Fairlie tapping the ball home from four yards out. McLaughlin charged down the left wing and, after escaping her marker, sent over a vicious cross which was dispatched into the net by Fairlie.

Straight from kick-off Spartans got their first sight of the Hibs goal as Sarah Ewens out-stripped the Hibs defence but her shot was easily saved by Shannon Lynn. Trish McLaughlin fed the ball through to the Spartans top-goalscorer and, with her first touch, took the ball past the defence before firing a shot from the edge of the area however the Hibs Number 1 was equal to it.

It was the away side who upped the tempo after the break and with 55 minutes gone Thomson stung the hands of Harrison before McLaughlin turned the defence and fired in a first time shot which Harrison easily collected.

Spartans were unable to stop the inevitable and just after the hour mark Hibs increased their lead when McLaughlin smashed the ball home off the underside of the bar. The Hibs midfielder collected the ball midway through the Spartans half and, after cutting in off the right wing, fired in a fierce drive that flew over the outstretched hand of Harrison before crashing in off the bar.

Straight from kick-off Spartans lost the ball in midfield to Fairlie who, from outside the box, increased the lead with an unstoppable drive into the far bottom corner.

Hibs kept the intensity on the Spartans goal up and minutes later the home side had to rely on the expertise of Harrison to tip the ball over the bar from a Laura Kennedy drive. Caroline Weir skipped down the left wing and as she reached the bye-line she cut the ball back to her Captain whose shot was flicked away for a corner by the Spartans shot-stopper.

However Hibs did finally get their fourth goal of the game as the match entered injury time with Weir lobbing the ball over the advanced Harrison and into the back of the net. A long ball was layed up to the Hibs forward which the Spartans keeper came out of her box to clear. However, due to the bounce of the ball, the keeper could only header it straight to Weir who clipped the ball home into the unguarded net.

Willie Kirk was delighted to pick up the three points although felt neither team performed well in the first half. He said: “The first half was extremely poor from both teams and if I was a supporter I would have been asking for my money back. However in the second half we were much better and were able to camp in their half for the first 15 minutes. The second goal was the killer and getting the third straight away helped seal the victory.”

Spartans Debbie McCulloch was obviously disappointed with the result but felt her team played okay in parts. She said: "We have lost a bit of confidence lately even though we played well in parts we need to work a bit harder both on and off the field. Hopefully we will see an impact in training and get ourselves back to getting results."

  Venables Oak Player of the Match - Olivia Lukasewich





Spartans: Rachel Harrison, Ashley Nicolson, Alana Marshall, Claire Crosbie, Louise Mason, Louise Magilton, Trisha McLaughlin, Olivia Lukasewich, Louise Young, Sarah Ewens, Victoria Farquhar.

Substitutes: Louise Moultray, Lana Clelland, Molly McKean, Bobbie Beveridge, Sarah Archibald, Rebecca Galbraith, Katie Reilly

Hibernian: Shannon Lynn, Emma Brownlie, Frankie Brown, Hollie Thomson, Kirsty McLaughlin, Caroline Weir, Lisa Robertson, Siobhan Hunter, Laura Kennedy, Mariel Kaney, Susan Fairlie.

Substitutes: Sammy Hare, Kirsty Smith, Rebecca Zoltie, Joelle Murray


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