Hamilton Academical produced a dominant performance on route to a 3-0 victory over promotion rivals Glasgow Girls. Goals from Kirstie McIntosh, MT Gardiner and a stunning finish from Dionne Brown means that Accies head into Sunday’s clash with bottom of the table Hutchison Vale knowing that a defeat of the Edinburgh side would see them go into the mid-season break top of the Scottish Building Society SWPL 2 table.
In a keenly fought opening period it was the home side who nearly took the lead with only a minute on the clock, a block from away keeper Louise Donohoe the only thing preventing Girls from having to recover from an early deficit. The Glasgow side would have an early opportunity of their own though as Jayney Saunders was put clean through but her effort on the angle went tamely wide.
Hamilton were starting to take control though, providing a constant threat down either wing with both McIntosh and Gardiner looking to repeatedly stretch the visiting defence. It would be the former who would break the deadlock on the 29th minute. A fine through ball from full back Nina Fitzsimmons put the pacy midfielder clean through on the right hand flank. With only the onrushing Donohue to beat she was able to stroke the ball in from the corner of the area, the ball having just enough pace to beat the recovering defence. That opener saw Gary Doctor’s side begin to dominate further and they nearly went two up when a ball put in by Gardiner reached the head of defender Dani Connolly but she was only able to direct her close range header onto the base of the post.
The Lanarkshire side’s pressure continued at the start of the second period and on the 61st minute they got the second goal they deserved. Good play down the right saw McIntosh break at pace where, after a quick look up, she put a ball across to forward Gardiner who found herself in acres of space inside the area from where she put the ball past a diving Donohue, just reward for a night of hard running from the striker. A couple of minutes later a long range free kick from Girls midfielder Emma Porteous looped towards the Accies goal and it was only a combination of cross bar and home stopper Lauren Grant that prevented John Doyle’s team from getting back into the game.
That was to be it for the visitors though as on the 68th minute the home side sealed the three points. A long ball over the top made its way to Dionne Brown with the striker showing plenty of composure in space to score a stunning strike that means a victory at the Saughton Enclosure on Sunday will see those in red and white be in a position to look down on their SWPL2 challengers heading into the summer. For Glasgow Girls it was a night to forget but in this incredibly competitive league nothing remains certain.
Hamilton Academical’s goal scorer, Kirstie McIntosh: “I thought we played well first half and we went in one nil at the break. The second half we really kicked on and started to create lots of chances.
On playing Hutchison Vale on Sunday: “We can’t take anything for granted, we’ve had two really good results, here and against Partick, so we need to kick on and make sure we keep these performances and results up.”
Hamilton Academical’s Head Coach, Gary Doctor: “It was a good performance from an attacking side and we were frustrated not to have more goals at half time but I felt our will and conditioning would see us through until the end. The players are hungry, we have found a bit more rhythm up front which is good to see considering we started the season with a whole new forward line.
On playing Hutchison Vale on Sunday: “It could be a banana skin for us and we can’t take anything for granted. Hutchie Vale will get a result against somebody so we have to make sure this result isn’t wasted.”
Hamilton Academical 3-0 Glasgow Girls
Hamilton Academical Scorers: McIntosh (29), Gardiner (61), Brown (68)
Hamilton Academical: Grant, Quinn, Connolly, Fraser, McIntosh, Anderson, Fitzsimmons, Bulloch, Muir, Quigley, Gardiner. Subs: McCann, Brown, Sturrock, Kane Wilson, Donald.
Glasgow Girls: Donohue, Smith, Gallagher, Armit, McTear, McGuire, Kerr, Porteous, Saunders, Docherty, McEwan Subs: Logan, Coleman, Ferrol, Cameron, McDonald, Shaw, MacLeod, Ashe.