A double from Scotland capped midfielder Rachel Small helped Hibernian maintain their place at the top of the SWPL1 after a hard fought win under the roof of the Ravenscraig Sports Centre as players and spectators alike were protected from the elements in this match day three encounter.
The last time these two sides met was in the 2018 Scottish Cup Final where the Women of Steel were overwhelmed 8-0 in one of the most one sided final’s in recent memory. It soon became apparent though that this game would not be as easy for the visitors. An early Jamie-Lee Napier effort aside, that was well stopped by Morgan Hunter, Hibernian struggled to break down a well organised and resolute Motherwell defence. However the pressure started to tell as the first half entered its final few minutes and although the Motherwell defence were able to get back on the line in time to stop Joelle Murray’s 39th minute header they weren’t able to see the half through. The impressive Napier again burst down the left and after putting a dangerous cross into the box the ball fell to the edge of the area where a shot cracked off the underside of the bar only for Small to nod the ball home from the resulting melee from closer range.
Motherwell though after absorbing much of the pressure in the first half started the second period brightly, however the final ball and poor decision making soon cost them. After Napier had another effort with this time the crossbar proving to be her nemesis, she was soon back in the action providing the final pass for Lauren Davidson to give the Hibees a 2-0 lead after 65 minutes again as a result of good work from Small. The second goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the hosts and Small scored again goal direct from a corner six minutes later before a Kirsten Reilly free kick in the 81st minute rounded out the scoring with Hunter in the Motherwell goal no doubt feeling that she could have done better with both.
Whilst the 4-0 final scoreline may have been harsh on the home side it was also a just reward for the manner in which last year’s runners-up went about their business in maintaining their position at the top of the table. For Motherwell, there was signs of progress and they will no doubt look to bounce back in midweek against Celtic at K Park.
Motherwell 0-4 Hibernian (Small 44 & 71, Davisdon 65, Reilly 81)
Motherwell: Hunter, Knox, Welsh, Ralph, Rafferty, Rice, Crilly, Montgomery, Gardner, McEachran, Adams Subs: Hutchison, Russell, Fyfe, McManus, Roberts
Hibernian: Fife, Napier, Hunter, Tweedie, Davidson, Leishman, Notley, Murray, Cornet, Small, Reilly Subs: Williamson, Michie, Cavanagh, Currie, Gallacher, Fish, Morrison
Today’s SWPL1 Results:
Spartans Women 1-5 Celtic Women
Rangers Women 2-1 Forfar Farmington
Glasgow City 5-1 Stirling University
Motherwell Women 0-4 Hibs’ Ladies