Sunday 23 April 2017, 14.00, Kings Park
The Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 clash between Hearts Ladies and Forfar Farmington.
Hearts 100% league record was blown away in their game prior to this one with a somewhat surprising 2-0 loss at Motherwell and in the week leading up to this game they also lost young Scotland midfielder Michaela McAlonie to Spartans.
Their preparation was further hampered by the absence of defensive stalwart Louise Moultray, wing back Lynsay Miller and forward Brogan Anderson. With Gemma Mason also having moved on they were down to the bare bones for this one.
Better news for Hearts was the return of Gemma Piaskowski, who took a place on the bench. Gemma had been out injured for a very lengthy period.
Forfar Farmington were established in 1984 and played solely friendly games until they entered league competition in 1990.
They won the Scottish Women’s Football League Cup in 2005 and also attained promotion to the Premier League for the first time. They stayed there until relegation last season put them into Premier League 2.
They had a great start to the new season and have won their opening four games, proving that their favourites tag is not far off the mark. They had already overcome the challenge of one of the pre-season favourites Glasgow City, winning their game in Glasgow 2-0, which was their last game before they faced Hearts.
Forfar’s starting eleven was unchanged from the win over Glasgow Girls.
Forfar won a corner 2 minutes in, but Hearts managed to get the ball away.
There was a scramble in the Hearts box in 5 minutes, following a Scott free kick and Forfar had a couple of shots blocked before Carse broke for Hearts and went a long run, but was eventually tackled.
Hughes crossed into the Forfar box in 8 minutes and the ball was missed by a defender and fell to Hall. She shot first time for goal, but it was too close to McNicoll who saved comfortably.
Kilcoyne had a go at the Hearts goal in 11 minutes from outside the box, but Watson held the effort.
A Forfar corner in 14 minutes saw Scott put a fine ball into the box and Watson could only get fingers to it. The ball came to Deans quickly and she was unable to get her shot on target.
A short passback by Forfar in 15 minutes almost let Carse in for Hearts, but McNicoll just managed to get the ball away.
Hearts’ Hughes went down in the Forfar box in 16 minutes when she looked to be caught. No penalty was given and the player stayed down. She limped off and attempted to run it off on the sideline before coming back on.
In 21 minutes, a still limping Hughes chased a Forfar through ball and got it away before going down again. This time there was no coming back and she was carried off. Hall went to right back.
A great ball into the middle by Carse in 24 minutes found the head of Dodds, but she headed just over and onto the top of the net.
Walkingshaw took a Hearts free kick in 26 minutes and picked out Carse on the left of the box and she played it into the middle where Dodds half volleyed into the back of the net to give Hearts the lead. The free kick had been disputed by Forfar who felt that Summers and McCarthy had just run into each other. They may have had a case.
Forfar’s Cattanach went down holding her face in 29 minutes after a challenge with Carse. No foul was given. The ball may have hit her in the face rather than anything untoward.
A Hearts free kick taken by Walkingshaw in 33 minutes was well taken by McNicoll low down under pressure.
Carse crossed from the left into the Forfar box in 34 minutes, but it was just behind Summers in the middle.
A deflected shot by Walkingshaw in 38 minutes almost ran into the path of Dodds, but McNicoll was quickly out of the Forfar goal to collect.
A cross from the right by Forfar in 40 minutes was fumbled by Watson, but she recovered well to push the ball away from Kilcoyne. Watson required treatment before continuing.
In first half injury time, Deans had a shot at goal from the edge of the Hearts box, but it was held by Watson.
Hearts a goal in front at half time after the away side had started well before Hearts fought their way back into it.
Forfar made a change to their formation at the start of the second half after making a substitution, with Scott moving up front to join Parsley and Kilcoyne moving to the left.
In 51 minutes, Pagliarulo picked out Carse, who was through on goal, but the Hearts striker had drifted offside.
Carse featured again a minute later trying a snap shot from the left trying to catch McNicoll out, but it went narrowly wide.
Forfar were starting to put a bit of pressure on looking for the equaliser, but Hearts were defending well and preventing them from getting any clear cut chances.
Walkingshaw took a Hearts corner in 56 minutes which came to Summers at the back post, but her volley into the ground was claimed by McNicoll.
In 65 minutes, Deans picked up a loose ball and shot at the Hearts goal from 25 yards, but it was off target.
It was Hearts turn for tactical change, with Reilly moving up front to join Carse.
Scott brought the ball forward for Forfar in 78 minutes, but her shot from 22 yards went wide of the far post.
McCarthy was pushed up to join the Forfar attack as they searched for the leveller.
Forfar won a free kick in 84 minutes in the centre circle for Summers jumping into Debio. The free kick was taken by Davidson into the box and McCarthy flicked it on for Collier to get a touch with her head and the ball landed in the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Debio got a sore one in 86 minutes when she got the ball in the face from close range from Reilly.
With a minute left Carse took the ball into the Forfar box and it came to Reilly, but the defence managed to clear.
The final action saw Collier booked for fouling Hearts’ Carse.
Probably a fair result in the end with both sides very strong in defence and not much in the way of chances.
Two strong teams with a number of good players on each side. Great performances from Hearts’ makeshift full backs Hall and Hunter and Pagliarulo was excellent at the heart of the defence. For Forfar, Debio was very strong and combative in midfield and McCarthy was impressive at the back.
Forfar’s 100% record has gone, but they are still unbeaten and top of the league. Hearts will be cursing losing a late goal, but will be happy to have matched Forfar.
Full Time: Hearts Ladies 1 Forfar Farmington 1
Hearts Ladies: 1 Ashley Watson, 3 Sharon Hughes (Summers 21), 6 Megan Paterson, 2 Danni Pagliarulo, 5 Georgia Hunter, 17 Stacey Hutchison, 18 Katie Reilly, 7 Rachel Walkingshaw, 15 Lauren Hall, 12 Jennifer Dodds, 10 Ashley Carse. Subs: Gemma Piaskowski, 19 Demi Summers.
Forfar Farmington: 13 Fiona McNicoll, 4 Erin Cattanach (White 46) , 2 Gemma Collier, 18 Megan McCarthy, 10 Nicola Davidson, 33 Alison Debio, 15 Kirsty Deans, 9 Robyn Smith (Shillitto 57), 19 Julia Scott, 16 Cheryl Kilcoyne (Noble 57), 6 Laura Parsley. Subs: 31 Chantelle McKay, 3 Leah White, 7 Kayleigh Noble, 8 Beth Shillitto, 11 Alana Bruce.
Referee: Vikki Allan