Sunday 30 October 2016, 14.00, Kings Park
The final game of the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 season for Hearts Ladies and Hutchison Vale Ladies.
Although Hearts Ladies could still mathematically win the league and promotion, it would have been a major surprise if the league leaders Hamilton Accies didn’t get the required point at home to Buchan Ladies. Second placed Hearts and third placed Glasgow Girls would both be keen to win in case an upset did happen.
Hutchie Vale would finish in fourth place regardless of the score. Too far back to challenge the top three, but well clear of any concerns of dropping down a league.
Hearts and Glasgow drawing last weekend made Accies red hot favourites to get the one promotion spot.
Hutchie Vale had a very different side out from usual, perhaps giving some of their fringe players an opportunity in the last game.
There were around 90 in attendance.
Despite it being highly unlikely that Hearts would have a chance of winning the league, they started very much on the front foot and were full of commitment in the early exchanges. Anderson seemed particularly up for it in the opening exchanges, chasing lost causes and putting defenders under pressure.
Hearts early pressure didn’t take long to pay off when they took the lead in 6 minutes. Mason’s corner was volleyed goalwards by Patterson and was blocked. There were claims for handball, but it fell to her central defensive partner Moultray who thrashed the ball into the net for a rare goal for her.
Miller had her second good run up the right wing in 8 minutes, but her cross into the box was cleared.
Despite Hearts’ good start, Vale had a great chance to equalise in 9 minutes when Hume found herself through on goal with just Watson to beat, but she dragged her shot wide.
Miller charged up the right again for Hearts in 14 minutes and took the ball past McFarlane before hammering goalwards, only to see her shot come back off the bar.
Hearts came forward again in 16 minutes and Walkingshaw showed good feet in the box after taking a pass from Mason. She made space for herself and shot for goal, but a defender managed to deflect the ball wide.
Russell brought the ball forward for Vale in 17 minutes and found Durand-Watson in the box, but from a tight angle, she could only hit the side netting.
In 21 minutes, Mason crossed into the Hearts box and the lineswoman flagged that Carse was offside. Before the ball could reach her, the Vale number 20 chested the ball down and it beat the dive of Dunbar and rolled into the net. The referee gave a goal. Another case of offside where there is debate. The ball didn’t reach the player in an offside position so was she interfering with play? The ball was certainly meant for her.
Walkingshaw spotted Vale’s keeper off her line in 32 minutes and tried to lift the ball over her head from 25 yards. Dunbar backpeddled and managed to get her fingertips to the ball to divert it wide.
Russell played a fine pass into the path of Durand-Watson in 36 minutes, but her shot from distance was comfortably held by Watson in the Hearts goal.
In 44 minutes, Forker played a looping ball into the Hearts box which Watson had to push away then a minute later at the other end, Miller showed good anticipation to nip in before the keeper, but a defender managed to clear the ball off the line.
Hearts looked to start the second half as they did the first and Pagliarulo showed good skill before finding Miller. She sidestepped a defender before shooting for goal. It bounced right in front of Dunbar who managed to smother at the second attempt.
Russell tried a long range shot at the Hearts goal in 51 minutes which was well struck, but drifted wide.
Vale came forward again in 55 minutes and Forker fed Russell. She charged into the box but under pressure from Moultray, her effort was too high.
Good skill by Carse in 57 minutes saw her pass to Anderson, but her shot from distance went narrowly wide of the Vale goal.
Hearts put together a fine move in 59 minutes with Mason playing the ball to Pagliarulo, who found Carse. She squared for McAlonie who struck for goal from the edge of the box, but it was too high. Her mother, sitting just along from us, asked if I could write that it went in. So I have.
Russell showed her ability in the Vale midfield again in 64 minutes and shot narrowly wide from 30 yards.
A Walkingshaw free kick in 70 minutes caused havoc in the Vale box and Carse got her head to the ball, but Clark managed to clear.
In 80 minutes, Summers won the ball from a Vale defender and tried to square for Smith, but the ball was deflected and Dunbar managed to gather.
A half chance for Sturrock came in the last minute as the ball was played back to her on the edge of the Hearts box, but she shot over the bar.
In injury time, Miller charged forward down the right after intercepting a Vale pass and played the ball in front of Robertson. Running into the box, the sub crossed to the back post where Carse met it with a diving header which beat a defender and the keeper on the line. If Moultray’s goal had been a collector’s item, Carse scoring with her head saw pigs flying over Kings Park.
I’m told that Carse had said at the beginning of the campaign that she would score a headed goal during the season. She waited until the final minute of the final game to make it happen and boy did she celebrate. This included running to the Hearts bench and shouting “Who doesn’t f*cking score with a header??”
A good display by Hearts and the most one sided of the three games I’ve seen between the teams this season. Vale certainly had their moments, but were missing a few of the players who have impressed in previous performances.
Pagliarulo and McAlonie impressed in midfield for Hearts and there was a fine performance from Russell in attacking midfield for Vale, while Durand-Watson was a bundle of energy and showed no little skill.
With Hamilton Accies Ladies and Glasgow Girls both winning, Hamilton were first, Hearts second, Glasgow third and Hutchie fourth.
Full Time: Hearts Ladies 3 (or 4 if McAlonie’s mum is to be believed) Hutchison Vale Ladies 0
Hearts Ladies: 1 Ashley Watson, 14 Lynsay Miller, 4 Louise Moultray, 6 Megan Patterson, 9 Kara Kidd (Hughes 81), 2 Danni Pagliarulo, 12 Michaela McAlonie, 15 Gemma Mason (Summers 63), 7 Rachel Walkingshaw (Robertson 71), 10 Ashley Carse, 11 Brogan Anderson (Smith 71). Subs: 3 Sharon Hughes, 5 Demi Summers, 8 Michelle Stewart, 16 Amber Robertson, 18 Becca Smith.
Hutchison Vale Ladies: 24 Jasmin Dunbar, 2 Nikki Clark, 77 Bryony Ross, 16 Lisa McFarlane (Rogers 81), 17 Jude Shepherd (Sturrock 86), 18 Anna Murray, 15 Leanne Forker (Ferry 79), 20 Fiona ? (McLeod 45), 30 Michelle Russell, 23 Anna Hume, 12 Margoux Durand-Watson. Subs: 3 Jen Rogers, 9 Beth McLeod, 14 Lindsay Ferry, 10 Nichola Sturrock.