Rangers Ladies extended their unbeaten run to seven games last night with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Hibernian, Laura Cotton reports from Garscube Park.
With two points separating the teams going into the match, a win for Rangers would have seen them leapfrog second place Hibs. However the draw keeps them in a solid position, with three games remaining before the League split.
This six goal affair proved Rangers certainly had the desire to challenge their Edinburgh rivals, but Hibs weren’t willing to give up their current league position without a fight.
After some quick interplay between Hill and Sneddon drew a foul 25 yards out, left back Karen Penglase took the free-kick and curled the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Angie Hinds’ Rangers side.
Although Rangers were struggling to settle into their normal game in the first half, they managed to score a second just ten minutes later.
Hayley Cunningham took control of a scrappy loose ball bouncing between her team mates and the Hibs defence, by calmly striking the ball first time low into the net to put her side in a more commanding position.
The midfielder had the opportunity to give her team even more reason to relax as a penalty was awarded soon. However she blasted the ball over the bar from 12 yards out.
Hibs continued to press Rangers and a free-kick from the right hand side was volleyed past the Rangers goalkeeper by Kirsty Smith to pull a goal back for Willie Kirk’s side.
As the match headed towards half time, a hopeful ball from Hibs was floated into the Rangers box and an unmarked Caroline Weir lashed a powerful volley high into the Rangers net to bring the scores level.
The second half was played at a higher tempo, with the Rangers midfield having more urgency and dominance in the middle of the park.
End to end attacking from both teams resulted in Hibs being the first to make their play count, as a cross into the box was met by a strike from Walkinshaw putting her team ahead for the first time in the match and rounding off a superb comeback.
Dealing with the prospect of having been 2-0 up and now looking at a defeat, that thought seemed to spur Rangers on as they launched countless attacks on the Hibs defence.
Their hard work was rewarded in the simplest of forms by what is becoming a typical Megan Sneddon type goal. The in-form Scotland internationalist hit a speculative 30-yard strike which dipped under the bar to draw the home side level and set them up for a late surge.
Despite their late push for a winner which included a chance for striker Megan Foley, the home side had to settle for what could be deemed a fair result in what was a thrilling game.
After the match Rangers Ladies manager, Angie Hind, said: “We found ourselves 2-0 up but to be honest I felt we hadn’t really got started. Two defensive errors allowed them back into the game and although we were disappointed to be tied at half time I have to say that was probably fair on Hibs as I felt they were the stronger team in that period.
“We were better in the second half and towards the end were really pushing for the winner which I think shows great character given that we had been 3-2 down after giving up an early 2-0 lead. It shows how well we are progressing to be able to be competing with the top teams. We will continue to improve.”
Check out more match photos by Phil McCloy at Scotzine’s official Flickr site.