Glasgow City have moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Women’s Premier League following their 4-0 win over Hibernian Ladies at Albyn Park, Broxburn.
Sue Lappin opened the scoring for City after just 20 minutes, before Leanne Ross converted a penalty two minutes later. City added to their scoreline in the second half through Sarah Crilly just after the hour mark, before former Hibs midfielder Leanne Crichton rounded off the scoring for Eddie Wolecki Black’s side.
The opening 15 minutes of the game saw both sides cancel one another out, with Jo Love and Eilish McSorley being denied for City while Hibs’ Siobhan Hunter saw her strike end up the wrong end of Lee Alexander’s post.
But with City getting a foothold in the game, they finally found the back of the net on 20 minutes through Sue Lappin. Jo Love was fouled outside the box and from the resulting free kick, Leanne Ross flighted in a perfect cross into the six yard box for Lappin to head past Jenna Fife in the Hibs goal.
Just two minutes later and City extended their lead from the penalty spot. City striker Suzanne Malone latched onto some slack play from the Hibernian defence and powered into the Hibs box only to be fouled by Laura Murray to concede the penalty. Leanne Ross stepped up to take the resulting penalty and sent Fife the wrong way to make it 2-0 to City.
On the half hour mark, some great individual skill from Ruesha Littlejohn on the edge of the box saw her afforded enough time to tee up a cross for Malone, but she could only divert her shot wide of the Hibs goal.
Despite City’s lead and dominant play, Hibs were still causing trouble for Glasgow City and their backline. The home side were awarded a free kick some 25 yards out close to the side line, and Joelle Murray’s superb shot beat Alexander in the City goal but the woodwork denied the Hibs midfielder.
On 33 minutes Danni Pagliarulo was booked for a succession of fouls much to the pleasure of some Hibernian supporters, who had been demanding a booking for half an hour.
Four minutes later and Murray again tried her luck from distance at a set piece, the ball skipped off the wet surface making it difficult for Alexander in the City goal, but she comfortably held the shot at the second attempt.
It was end to end stuff with the half time interval fast approaching as both Hibs and City had chances to score. First Susan Fairlie had a chance to pull a goal back for Willie Kirk’s side as she latched onto a through ball, but rather than taking a touch before looking to hit her shot she decided to hit it first time at the stretch, only to see her tame effort go wide.
City went up the other end within seconds and should really have made it 3-0, but Nic Docherty fired wide of the target.
At half time, City replaced Pagliarulo with Danica Dalziel, a change that was both tactical and down to Pagliarulo’s earlier yellow card.
Three minutes into the second half, Hibs should have pulled a goal back as Lizzie Arnott’s pass saw Susan Fairlie one-on-one the Lee Alexander in the City goal, but the keeper pulled off a superb save to deny the Hibs’ striker.
On 50 minutes, Hibs’ Frankie Brown and City’s Suzanne Malone went head to head after a challenge from the latter, which the Hibs player felt was high.
Soon after, Ruesha Littlejohn turned inside and under pressure struck her shot off the post, with the danger not cleared by the Hibs defence Lisa Robertson had a chance against her former side, but it was cleared off the line, before Sue Lappin fired her shot well over the bar.
City were dealt a blow on 55 minutes, when influential midfielder Jo Love was substituted through injury being replaced by Sarah Crilly.
And it was substitute Sarah Crilly who extended City’s lead on 66 minutes. Nic Docherty crossed in a perfectly flighted ball into the six yard box and the smallest player on the pitch, Crilly, rose above the Hibs defence to power home a header past Fife.
Alexander was called into action at the other end as she denied a goal bound effort as she tipped the shot over the bar to deny Hibs once more.
On 72 minutes, Lisa Robertson latched onto a Ruesha Littlejohn cross, but her low angled shot was comfortably saved by Fife. A minute later and Sue Lappin headed a Leanne Ross corner over the bar.
Hibs were to be denied once again by Alexander, as Fairlie raced through on goal, but Alexander seeing the threat raced out of her goals to gather the ball and send the Hibs striker into the air also.
With six minutes remaining, Littlejohn was denied by Fife, but the rebound was laid off by Crilly to the onrushing Crichton who fired home to score City’s fourth goal of the game.
That was the last meaningful action of the game, as both sides made a number of changes with full-time approaching. With Hibs making an enforced change as Siobhan Hunter looked to have picked up a serious injury with a minute left on the clock.
After the match, City head coach Eddie Wolecki Black said: “I thought it would be a really competitive match and it was, end result is we have won the game 4-0 and we are really happy with the three points. I have to say that Hibs are as good a team as we have played against this season. They started really well and made things difficult for us, forcing us into errors. But once we settled into the game, we looked a huge threat going forward.”
On the injury to Jo Love, Black added: “We have to wait and see. Jo is very optimistic for next week, but I’d doubt that to be honest. We will just have to wait and see what the report says when it comes back from the medical staff.”
Hibernian head coach Willie Kirk, felt that despite the result his side were every bit as good as City, he said: “Very very disappointed with the result, at the end of the day its the result that matters. So its kind of secondary our performance, but general performance I was really pleased and the way we took the game to them, despite the scoreline being 2-0 at the time, I felt that we kept trying to get on the front foot, from that point of view I was really pleased.”
Asked if the scoreline was somewhat harsh on his side, Kirk added: “Anybody that was here today will probably testify to that. I wish we were playing them [City] tomorrow, I really do wish we were playing them tomorrow again as I think that performance has given us the belief that we are as every bit as good as them.
“But if you lose four goals you have to remedy that and we will work on that on the training ground. The way the league works now is that you have three bites at them, so more than enough chances to remedy that. But we have to keep focus on every other game as it’s just not City games that win you a league, so Wednesday night’s game against Rangers is very important.”