Sunday 9 October 2016. 16.00, The Superseal Stadium (New Douglas Park)
A trip to the West for Sunday afternoon top of the league action in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 between Hamilton Accies Ladies and Hearts Ladies.
My second viewing of these teams playing each other this season, after being at Kings Park, Dalkeith for Hearts home game against Accies at the end of July which the Edinburgh side won by a solitary goal. Hearts also won against the same side the following week in the Scottish Cup. The Jambos won 3-1 in Hamilton at the beginning of the season.
It’s still tight at the top of the league following Accies win against the other contenders for the title, Glasgow Girls the weekend before. The build-up to the game saw the top three all on 42 points with three games left. Goal difference meant Accies were top, Hearts second, and Glasgow third. That was until news filtered through the day before the game that Hearts had been awarded a 3-0 win for the game they lost 1-0 to Hutchison Vale in August. Vale apparently fielded an ineligible player, but it took 7 weeks for action to be taken, and I understand that neither Hamilton, nor Glasgow Girls were advised of the position and found out through social media. They weren’t happy. A very strange state of affairs.
The 3 points took Hearts clear at the top and nosed their goal difference slightly ahead of Accies too. Earlier in the afternoon, Glasgow Girls defeated the already relegated Inverness City by eleven goals to nil. This put them second on goal difference behind Hearts.
The week before, Accies had beaten Glasgow Girls, so this was their chance to better their other title rivals. With only one team getting promoted from the league, it was a massive afternoon for both sides.
The women who play for Accies are fortunate enough to play their home games in the stadium of the men’s first team. An advantage of having artificial grass in place. There were around 100 people in the main stand as the game kicked off, including Hibs Ladies manager Chris Roberts, there to spy on city rivals Hearts in advance of the match between the sides in the Scottish cup semi-final the following week.
The teams posed with “Show Racism the Red Card” cards before the game started.
Straight from kick off, Accies broke forward down the right and the ball into the middle from Gardner came to Anderson six yards out, but she didn’t make a good contact and could only put it wide.
In 3 minutes, Inglis went down the right for Accies and went past a couple of challenges, but her cross into the middle was cleared for a corner.
Another Accies corner, in 7 minutes, was taken by Inglis and found the head of their number 2, but she nodded over from close range.
Hearts came forward for the first time in 11 minutes when Lynsay Anderson got the ball to Brogan Anderson in the box, but she found her route blocked by the Hamilton defence as she tried to get a shot away.
McGuiness latched onto a loose ball in midfield in 16 minutes and sprinted down the left for Accies, but her ball across goal had no takers.
The pace of the Hamilton players was causing problems for Hearts, with McGuiness in particular showing great speed on the left.
Hearts were struggling to get a foothold in the game but almost took the lead against the run of play in 21 minutes. Carse received the ball on the left and cut inside a defender before trying to curl the ball in at the far post. Fleming got down well to get her fingertips to it and turn it round the post.
An Inglis corner for Accies in 25 minutes almost went straight in the net after it went over the head of Watson in the Hearts goal, but Kidd was there to head off the line.
There was more danger for Hearts in 27 minutes when McGuiness went down the right hand side and exchanged passes with Gardner before crossing from the by-line, but the ball was too far in front of Lyle.
Battling play by Carse in 28 minutes saw her set up Mason for a shot at the Accies goal, but her first time effort was wide of the target.
Hearts were finally starting to get into the game and they had some hope when they won a free kick right on the edge of the box in 37 minutes, but Walkingshaw didn’t manage to clear the wall with her effort.
The away side had a great chance to take the lead in 39 minutes when a defender slipped and Brogan Anderson took possession of the ball. She quickly transferred it to Carse almost on the penalty spot, but Quinn managed to get herself in front of the Hearts attacker to clear the danger.
In 42 minutes, Anderson played a great ball inside Hearts full back Kidd to find McGuiness in the box. Kidd recovered sufficiently to challenge, but could only look on in horror as the referee pointed to the spot. A difficult one to tell from the stand, with the incident happening on the far side of the box, but it looked to me as though Kidd may have got a touch on the ball. I may well have the wrong impression though.
Inglis confidently rolled the penalty into the corner to put Accies in front.
A blow for Hearts given that they had started looking like getting more into the game in the minutes leading up to the goal, but things were to get even worse for the Jambos in first half injury time.
Gardner won the ball from Kidd and passed wide to McGuiness. Her cross picked out Lyle in the middle who headed home with aplomb to double the lead.
The half time whistle went almost immediately after the restart.
Football fans never change. Speaking to a fan from both teams at half time, the Hearts fan was convinced that Kidd had got the ball in the penalty incident, while the Accies fan was came in to say that he was 100% sure that it had been a foul. I didn’t bother pointing out to the Accies fan that he was further away from the incident from his seat in the stand. I’d have to see it again to be sure, but I couldn’t be certain either way.
Accies had been on top for most of the first half, but it was ironic that they opened the scoring just after Hearts’ best spell of the half. The second goal three minutes later looked like too big a deficit for Hearts to pull back judging by their first half showing.
Hearts made a change at half time, bringing on an attacker for a defensive midfield player in an attempt to get something out of the game.
In the opening minute of the second half, Brogan Anderson played a great ball in behind the Accies defence for substitute Smith, whose shot was saved by Fleming.
Carse did well to win the ball back for Hearts in 52 minutes and found Stewart in the box who had her shot blocked by Fleming. The ball came back to the Hearts striker who dispatched into the net to get her team back into the game.
Mcleod tried a shot at the Hearts goal from distance in 54 minutes, but her effort was well over the bar.
A Hamilton corner in 57 minutes was taken by Inglis and found the head of number 2 at the back post, but she could only head into the side netting under pressure.
In 59 minutes, Jaycock played the ball to Anderson, who shot from distance, but the backpeddling Watson managed to hold on in the Hearts goal.
With an hour gone, Inglis sent a deep cross in to the Hearts box from the right hand side and found Lyle all alone at the back post, who headed into the net to restore the two goal lead.
It looked like Accies had sealed the win with that goal, but Hearts went straight up the park from the restart and a through ball found Stewart in the box who quickly thumped the ball past Fleming and into the net. Her joy was short lived though, as a late flag signaled that she had been offside. This seemed a slightly contentious decision as she looked to have run past a defender to get to the ball, but again, I wasn’t in line with the decision from the stand and can’t be sure. The Hearts contingent certainly weren’t happy with the decision.
In 75 minutes, Paton won the ball for Accies and had a go from distance, but it was a comfortable save for Watson.
Accies were managing the game well, preventing Hearts from creating anything and controlling the majority of possession.
A Hamilton corner in 80 minutes was taken by Inglis and met by Paton and looked to be going in, but Brogan Anderson was there to chest the ball away on the line.
A massive win for Accies who have to be favourites for promotion now after beating their two rivals in the last two weeks. Although all three finished the day level on points, Hearts and Glasgow face each other in the next league game and Accies goal difference is better than the others.
Hearts were forced into having Lynsay Anderson playing deep in her right wing back role as she seemed to be the only defensive player that could provide a challenge to the pace of McGuiness. Whether Anderson or Sharon Hughes are playing in that position for Hearts, they ordinarily provide a big danger to the opposition with their pace and forward running. That threat was negated by the need to track McGuiness.
Hamilton looked quicker and stronger and the better side on the day.
Thanks to the excellent Tartan Kicks for some assistance with the Accies team. Tartan Kicks focus is the women’s game in Scotland and they provide comprehensive results, previews and reports on the women’s game. Find more details at www.tartankicks.uk
Full Time: Hamilton Accies Ladies 3 Hearts Ladies 1
Hearts Ladies: 1 Ashley Watson, 14 Lynsay Anderson, 4 Louise Moultray, 6 Megan Patterson, 9 Kara Kidd (J-L Smith 68), 2 Danni Pagliarulo (Stewart 45), 17 Stacey Hutchison, 7 Rachel Walkingshaw, 15 Gemma Mason (Summers 76), 10 Ashley Carse, 11 Brogan Anderson (B Smith 81). Subs: 3 Jamie-Lee Smith, 12 Demi Summers, 18 Becca Smith, 8 Michelle Stewart, Amber Robertson.
Hamilton Accies Ladies:24 Elaine Fleming, 14 Gillian Inglis (c), 2 Deborah McLeod 5 Amie McGill, 3 Megan Quinn, 12 Katherine Jaycock, 6 Joanne Paton (Not sure) 8 Amy Anderson, 10 Lori Gardner, 11 MT McGuiness, 17 Mhairi Lyle 24 Elaine Fleming, 14 Gillian Inglis (c), 2 ?, 5 Amy Allen, 3 Megan Quinn (McGill 82), 12 Katherine Jaycock (Kerr 74), 6 Deborah McLeod, 8 Amy Anderson Lindsay 74), 10 Lori Gardner, 11 MT McGuiness (Lyons 65), 17 Mhairi Lyle (Paton 65). Subs: 4 Amie McGill, 9 Joanne Paton, 16 Emma Lyons, 7 Kerr, 18 Lindsay.
Referee: Danny Taylor