Hibernian made it 12 straight victories in the SBS SWPL with a clinical 5-0 victory over Stirling University away from home on Sunday.
Goals from Amy Gallacher, Kirsten Reilly and a first-half hat-trick from Abi Harrison saw the Hibees go temporarily top of the league before Glasgow City secured a late victory over Celtic later in the afternoon.
Hibernian: Fife, McLauchlan, Murray (C), Notley, Michie, Reilly, Robertson, McGregor, Gallacher, Harrison, Tweedie. Subs: Williamson, Napier, Hunter, Davidson, McKay, Cornet, Brownlie.
Stirling Uni: Logan, Bonner, Falconer, Hodges, Simpson, Fulton, Sutherland, Welch, Callaghan, McDonald, Bonsall.
Main Talking Points
After a frustrating afternoon in Lanarkshire last week, Grant Scott’s side would have been desperate to put that behind them and put in a strong performance at the University of Stirling.
They certainly showed that intent as straight from kick-off, Harrison drove down the left wing and fired a ball across the face of goal. Unfortunately, none of her teammates were there to convert but it was a sign of things to come.
With just five minutes on the clock, Hibernian were ahead through Gallacher. Cailin Michie latches onto a through ball from Ellis Notley and Hibs’ No. 8 cut the ball back for Gallacher who slotted into the bottom corner and got the Hibees off the mark.
Despite responding well to conceding, it wasn’t long before Stirling Uni found themselves two goals down. Hibs worked their way through the host’s midfield as Harrison found herself one-on-one with Logan. The forward made no mistake, rounding the ‘keeper and calmly passing the ball into the empty net after 12 minutes to score her first and Hibs’ second.
Hibernian were in full flow at this point, piling the pressure on the Uni’s defence and they found another breakthrough, with Harrison converting again. A lovely move down Hibs’ left gave Michie acres of space to play a low cross right into the path of Harrison who struck the ball underneath the ‘keeper to give Hibs a 3-0 lead after just 22 minutes.
The game got out of Stirling’s reach on the half-hour mark as Harrison secured her hat-trick with a brilliant effort to make it 4-0 to the visitors. Picking the ball up on the left, the league’s top scorer lifted her head up and fired a cross/shot into the far right corner of the goal, leaving the ‘keeper helpless once again.
With the score at 4-0 going into the break, many supporters would have been asking “How many?” at half-time. However, it was not more of the same in the second half.
The hosts managed to control the pressure much better in the second half, limiting Hibs to only a few chances, coming from Harrison, Shannon McGregor and Gallacher.
There was more to come, however. With just three minutes left of the 90, Reilly popped up with a fifth goal, firing a header into the back of the net after Lisa Robertson’s corner.
Player of the Match
Hibernian’s No. 21 Abi Harrison.
It was hard to argue against Abi being awarded POTM after another brilliant performance from the league’s top goal-scorer.
Thoughts from the Camp
Hibernian Head Coach Grant Scott was delighted with his side’s clinical performance at a tough venue, saying, “It’s in the minds of the players that it’s a strong, disciplined Stirling team and a grass surface which we don’t play on a lot these days. So I’m thoroughly delighted with the score line and the performance, especially the first-half.
“We had a plan, we wanted to play with a certain level of intensity for the first phase of the game which I thought the girls did. They carried out every instruction today. The idea was to get our noses in front as early as we could and then try enjoy the rest of the game.”
Skipper Joelle Murray was also delighted with the result but also with getting 90 minutes under her belt. Hibs’ No. 17 said, “Coming here we would have taken the 5-0, we know it’s a tough place to come, it’s obviously on grass and Stirling always make it hard.
“First half, delighted with the performance; second half, we didn’t really reach that level but job done, five goals and a clean sheet.
“We moved the ball very, very well and Stirling couldn’t live with us. It’s night and day from the performance last week. I think that’s what we needed going into the two games against City.
“It’s been good to get back on the pitch and help the girls out. We’ve just tried to build up my game time so today it was 90 minutes and came through that unscathed. Happy to get the 90 under my belt and another couple of weeks training ahead of the Scottish Cup Semi-Final will stand me in good stead.”
Due to an international break for the Scotland U19s preparatory tournament, Hibernian’s next game won’t be until the 14 October when we take on Glasgow City in the SSE Scottish Cup Semi-Final.
The next league game will also be against Glasgow City on the 21 October at Petershill.
Follow the team’s Twitter profile (@HibsLadies) to keep up-to-date with all the important information.