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Women's Football News
Glasgow City 2 (Montgomery 77, Fairlie 92) Hibernian 1 (Richards 27)
An extra time goal from Susan Fairlie gave Glasgow City victory in a thrilling Scottish Women's Premier League Cup Final at Ainslie Park.
Hibernian had led for much of the game through a stunning first half goal from Heather Richards but City brought themselves level through a Kerry Montgomery header and Fairlie struck what proved to be the winner just two minutes into the second period.
Glasgow City did start brightly in the opening minutes but Hibs settled down quickly and produced the game's first opening when Lucy Graham latched onto a long ball forward from Joelle Murray but her lob over Lee Alexander was off target.
Hibs continued to push forward and had claims for a penalty turned down when Graham went down in the area and they went even closer to scoring when Lizzie Arnot floated a corner into the area and Abigail Harrison's header crashed against the underside of the bar before the City defence scrambled the ball away.
Hibs' enterprising start to the game brought reward on 27 minutes, with a goal worthy of a cup final. Richards carried the ball just inside the City half and, after spotting Alexander off her line, executed a perfectly judged shot over the stranded keeper and into the back of the net from fully 45 yards.
Arnot almost doubled the lead after Graham and Richards had combined to set her up but Alexander denied her with a good save. Hibs continued to dominate possession and went in deservedly ahead at the interval.
City looked a different side from the start of the second half and fired a warning shot within five minutes of the restart, when a Joanne Love free kick from 25 yards struck the bar.
A good move almost led to City drawing level but this time Hayley Lauder's goalbound shot was blocked by Graham, who had managed to get back in time to keep her side ahead.
Hibs were dealt a huge blow when Harrison, who had had a fine match in midfield, was forced off with a nasty looking head injury and was replaced by Clare Williamson. City meanwhile introduced Leanne Ross and the influential midfielder was soon to stamp her authority on the game. Hibs continued to hold on with Siobhan Hunter playing really well in defence and Lisa Robertson working tirelessly in front of her, but the pressure finally told with thirteen minutes left.
After winning a free kick around 30 yards from goal, Nicky Docherty drilled a dangerous free kick into the area and Montgomery managed to steal in and nod the ball past Jenna Fife for the equaliser.
City sensed a winner and Erin Cuthbert fired a shot inches wide from the edge of the area. Ross played a free kick into the area from deep and Abbi Grant threw herself at the ball but could not quite make a connection, meaning the game went into extra time.
Just two minutes into the second half, City took the lead for the first time. Fairlie made her way down the right and cut inside before drilling a low left foot shot which went under the diving Fife and into the far corner of the net.
City were looking the stronger side now with Cuthbert showing some neat touches while Grant and Denise O'Sullivan both worked hard to keep possession. O'Sullivan forced a save from Fife but City's one-goal advantage remained at the end of the first period.
Hibs' best chance to level the scores came with eight minutes remaining. Kirsty Smith was put through on goal by Chloe Arthur's pass but with only Alexander to beat, the Scottish international drove her shot just wide of the far post.
Smith was visibly upset by the miss and there were to be no more scares for City who expertly ran down the clock by keeping possession deep in the Hibernian half. Indeed, Grant could have sealed it with a third goal as she sprang the offside trap but Fife kept her team in the game with a good save.
There was an unfortunate ending for City as Ross was carried off with a knee injury but moments later they were able to celebrate a hard earned win. On this evidence, the title race in Scotland is set to be a much closer one this season and Hibs may yet have their day before it is over.
Glasgow City: Lee Alexander, Emma Black, Nicola Docherty, Rhonda Jones (sub Erin Cuthbert 77mins), Cheryl McCulloch (sub Lauren McMurchie 118mins), Joanne Love, Hayley Lauder (sub Leanne Ross 66mins (sub Georgie Rafferty 120mins)), Denise O'Sullivan, Abbi Grant, Susan Fairlie. Subs not used: Megan Cunningham, Suzanne Lappin.
Hibernian: Jenna Fife, Emma Brownlie, Kirsty Smith, Joelle Murray, Siobhan Hunter, Lisa Robertson, Abigail Harrison (sub Claire Williamson 71mins), Lucy Graham, Heather Richards (sub Lia Tweedie 96mins), Chloe Arthur, Lizzie Arnot. Subs not used: Hannah Reid, Zoe Johnstone, Chelsea Cornet, Amy Lynch, Simone McMahon.
Photo - Andy Buist
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