Sunday 18 September 2016, 14.00, Kings Park

The final quarter final in the Women’s Scottish Cup between Hearts Ladies and Hutchison Vale Ladies.

A quick re-run of the game between the two sides I was at in the league the previous month sees the two Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 sides facing each other for the final place in the semi-finals.

With the other quarter finals already played, this game was re-arranged due to the international call up of Hearts midfielder Michaela McAlonie, although ironically, she doesn’t feature.  Jamie-Lee Smith is also missing from the Hearts squad.  Vale forward Yasemin Emek also misses out, but was in attendance to cheer on her team mates.

The winners will face a tough task in the semi-final, with Premier League 1 side Hibs, currently challenging for the title and soon to play in the Champions League, awaiting the victors.

Vale won 1-0 at Saughton Enclosure in August in a very tight match and although this time, it was Hearts who had home advantage, there wasn’t likely to be much between the two sides.

There were around 130 in attendance.

Hearts had an early opportunity when Carse latched onto a through ball in 3 minutes and took it round Parker-Smith, but the defence was back to cover the goal and cleared the ball away.

A cross from the right by Hearts in 5 minutes went over Parker-Smith’s head and seemed to hit a defender’s hand before the ball came to Carse who lashed over.

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With 11 minutes gone, a Vale corner went right across the face of goal before it was collected by number 23, who laid the ball back to Devlin on the edge of the box.  The defender hammered the ball into the top corner to give Vale the lead.

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Walkingshaw played a ball over the top of the Vale defence in 13 minutes for Carse.  She ran into the box, but her shot was deflected wide.  The resultant corner was played back to Brogan Anderson who shot just over from around 25 yards.

A fine long range effort by Fish in the 17th minute saw Watson do well to push the ball round the post to prevent Vale going further ahead.

Three minutes later and it was same again, with Fish striking well from the edge of the box and Watson managing to turn the ball away.

Hearts’ Patterson and Vale’s Fish both received a yellow card in 21 minutes for an off the ball incident.

Sturrock lined up a Vale free kick in 24 minutes and hit a great strike at goal which was fantastically saved by Watson.

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Hearts played a ball in behind the Vale defence in 36 minutes for Stewart, but she blasted wide.

In 39 minutes, Lynsay Anderson picked up the ball on the right for Hearts and her ball into the middle rattled the bar.  As the ball went behind the goal, it was disappointing to hear the Vale bench telling their defender to “leave it”.  Seemed a little early to be wasting time.

Mason played a through ball in 40 minutes for Stewart and the Hearts striker sprinted clear of the defence, but Parker-Smith blocked her effort.  The rebound came to Carse, but her shot was also blocked.

Parker-Smith did well again in 43 minutes to push Mason’s long range effort over the bar.

Hearts had another chance just before half time when Carse played the ball to Stewart, who went down under the challenge of Ross, but the referee waved away appeals.

The Vale bench seemed to think that Hearts got all the decisions in the first half and seemed to dispute every call by the referee.  One of their number asking “is it just me?” Yes it is.

Vale one in front at the break and it could have been more but for the heroics of Watson in the Hearts goal.  Parker-Smith was also on top form, blocking many of the Hearts efforts.

Hearts’ Brogan Anderson, who limped off just before half time, didn’t reappear after the break.

Hearts looked to start quickly in the second half and Stewart’s cross from the right was pushed over the bar by Parker-Smith.

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In 47 minutes, Walkingshaw nicked the ball past a defender in the box and smashed the ball into the net to give Hearts the equaliser.

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A minute later, the ball seemed to again strike a Vale hand in the box before Mason found Carse, but Parker-Smith blocked with her legs.

A powerful shot by Walkingshaw was acrobatically turned round the post by Parker-Smith as Hearts tried to get their noses in front.

Vale were forced into their second change of the afternoon when Hanson limped off in 50 minutes.

Strong play by Vale’s Briggs in 57 minutes saw her set up Durand-Watson, but her shot was pushed round the post by Watson.

Vale’s Briggs was the next to limp off injured in 59 minutes.

In 61 minutes, Fish restarted her personal battle with Watson in the Hearts goal with a good strike from the right and the keeper turned it over the bar.

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Lynsay Anderson broke down the right for Hearts in 63 minutes and found Stewart in the middle, but she could only shoot straight at Parker-Smith.

With a Hearts player down injured in 67 minutes, Parker-Smith kicked the ball out of play.  Hutchison hit the ball goalwards to give Vale the ball back, but it flew into the net to give Hearts an unexpected lead.

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After a delay of about 5 minutes whilst the referee had a conflab with one of the assistant referees to discuss what had just happened, great sportswomanship saw Hearts let Vale walk the ball in from kick off, although it didn’t quite go as planned.  Fish ran the ball forward and struck for goal from 20 yards but it hit Watson and came back out. Both sets of players and fans were laughing as Fish ran in and put the ball into the net.  It would have been a travesty if the Hearts goal had made the difference between the teams, but to be fair, the team decided pretty much as soon as the ball rolled into the Vale net that they would let them equalise.

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In 72 minutes, Pagliarulo chipped the ball forward to Stewart and she squared the ball looking for Carse. Parker-Smith got a hand to it, but Carse pounced to thrash the ball into the net and give Hearts the lead.

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The referee had clearly had enough of the shouts from the Vale bench at this point, with one of their number sent off.

Stewart’s ball across the Vale goal in 75 minutes brilliantly picked out Carse at the back post and it looked like a tap-in, but Vale’s number 2 appeared from nowhere to get her foot to the Hearts’ striker’s shot. From the corner, for a third time it looked like the ball came off a Vale hand in the box.

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As Hearts came forward in 77 minutes, Stewart burst into the box past two defenders, but Parker-Smith was out quickly to smother.

A good run by Vale’s McLeod in 82 minutes saw her dribble into the Hearts box, but Kidd whacked the ball clear.

With three minutes left, McLeod burst down the left wing and her cross to the back post was met by a diving header from Fish to tie the scores up again. A great cross and finish.

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In 87 minutes, Hearts’ Walkingshaw must have been worried as she was pulled up for a foul, just a couple of minutes after she had been booked.

Deep into injury time Mason shot at the Vale goal from 20 yards, but it went wide of the post.

Extra time. The players on both sides had already given their all and there would be some tired legs after another 30 minutes.

In the first minute of extra time Carse showed some good skill in the Vale box, but Parker-Smith saved at full stretch.

A great run into the Hearts box a minute later by McLeod looked dangerous, but Watson gathered the ball at her feet.

Ten minutes into extra time Carse’s ball across goal was laid off by Mason to Anderson whose cross came back to Carse, but her shot was deflected over.

In 125 minutes, Hearts got a free kick 25 yards from goal. Walkingshaw stepped up and sent a magnificent shot into the top corner past the despairing dive of Parker-Smith. There were wild celebrations amongst the Hearts players.

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In the aftermath of the goal, Vale’s Murray received her second yellow card for, I assume, something she said.

Vale couldn’t quite manage to come up with a leveller and Hearts were through to their first ever Scottish Cup Semi Final.

A fabulous game and you had to feel sorry for Vale after how much they put into the game. The energy and stamina shown by both teams was superb with every player giving their all.

While Vale were unfortunate with injuries, McLeod and Durand-Watson were both very good when they came on.  Fish and Briggs were also impressive.

For Hearts, Moultray was solid at the back as she always seems to be and Stewart caused problems up front with her pace.  Walkingshaw is in a rich vein of form at the moment and her free kick was a goal fit to win any game.

Despite there being 7 goals, both goalkeepers were excellent.

Apologies if there are errors in the Vale team, but they chose not to respond to my requests for their team line-up.

Full Time Hearts Ladies 3 Hutchison Vale Ladies 3 (Hearts won 4-3 after extra time.)

Admission: £3

Hearts Ladies: 1 Ashley Watson, 14 Lynsay Anderson (Hughes 105), 4 Louise Moultray, 6 Megan Patterson, 9 Kara Kidd, 15 Gemma Mason, 17 Stacey Hutchison (Summers 89), 7 Rachel Walkingshaw, 10 Ashley Carse (Smith 117), 8 Michelle Stewart (Robertson 111), 11 Brogan Anderson (Pagliarulo 45). Subs: 3 Amber Robertson, 2 Danni Pagliarulo, 12 Sharon Hughes, 18 Demi Summers, 16 Becca Smith.

Hutchison Vale Ladies: 1 Charlotte Parker-Smith, 2 Nikki Clark, 77 Bryony Ross, 19 Ella Devlin (Rogers 55), 17 Jude Shepherd, 11 Fiona Boslem (Durand-Watson 34), 10 Nichola Sturrock, 7 Stephanie Briggs (Murray 59), 6 Karen Hanson (McLeod), 8 Ashley Fish, 23 Anna Hume.  Subs: 3 Jen Rogers, 12 Margoux Durand-Watson, 9 Beth McLeod, 18 Anna Murray.

Referee: ?

Programme: None.

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