Hamilton Accies got their quest for promotion back to the top flight underway with a convincing win over Stirling University at the Fountain of Youth Stadium.
Goals from Dionne Brown, Ellie Kane, Amy Anderson, Lauren Evans and MT Gardiner secured a 5-0 win as last year’s runners-up got their 2020 Scottish Building Society SWPL 2 campaign off to the perfect start.
Accies started brightly and went close early on when Gardiner burst down the left before finding Brown whose shot deflected behind. From the resultant corner, the loose ball fell for Gardiner but she could only strike against the post.
Brown was then almost able to capitalise on a piece of miscommunication from Rebecca Hellgren and Bobby Cochran, but was penalised for a foul on the keeper in the follow through of her shot.
Stirling University took their time to get into the game with their first real attack coming after 12 minutes when Naomi Welch’s cross managed to evade everyone and go out for a goal kick.
Most of the pressure was coming from the hosts though and that pressure paid off when they took the lead on 28 minutes. Kane’s cross from the right fell to Nina Fitzsimmons who laid the ball off to Brown to fire home via the underside of the bar.
They had the ball in the net again soon after through Rachel Ross, but the defender was in an offside position when she poked home and the goal was disallowed.
Kane then went close after she was found by Kirstie McIntosh, but after bursting past her marker, her strike could only find the side netting. The winger would be celebrating soon after though when she nipped in ahead of Emma Gullan before slotting the ball into the bottom corner to double the lead.
It was the visitors who had the first effort of the second period when Shana MacPhail and Emma Lyons worked well to free Welch down the right, but the attacker could only shoot straight at Rhind.
Accies quickly settled back into their rhythm though and the impressive Kane managed to force her way into the box before sending a shot just over the bar.
The hosts were given the chance to add a third when Brown got on the end of a long ball before being sent to ground by substitute keeper Rachel Docherty and captain Anderson duly obliged as she stepped up to slot the ball into the net from 12 yards.
Former Hearts striker Evans came onto make her league debut for Accies and she took just two minutes to open her account for the club, getting on the end of a delightful cross from Nichola Sturrock to head the ball into the corner.
As the game entered its final 10 minutes, Hamilton made it five when Gardiner finally got the goal her performance deserved, as she cut inside before curling an unstoppable effort into the far top corner.
Accies may have been expecting a closer game to start to the season but in the end it was a comfortable afternoon for Gary Doctor’s side who showed just why they are classed by many as favourites for the title.
It’s back to SWPL Cup action for both sides next week as Accies host Rangers while Stirling Uni travel to the capital to face Hearts.
Hamilton Academical: Rhind; Fitzsimmons, Ross (Coakley, 62), McTear, Quinn (Connolly, 67); McIntosh (Stewart, 77), Anderson, Sturrock (Quigley, 70); Kane, Brown (Evans, 67), Gardiner
Stirling University: Cochran (Docherty, 46); Simpson, Murphy, Helgren, Gullan; Mason; Kerr, Lyons, Gallagher; MacPhail (Kerl, 83), Welch