A dominant performance from Hibernian Ladies saw them start their 2016 SWPL season with a 3-1 win over Rangers Ladies. Hibs controlled the game, dominating the stats, and scored their three goals in the first half. Abigail Harrison’s powerful strike from the edge of the box saw Hibs take the lead before Siobhan Hunter headed in a corner to make it 2-0. And just before half-time, Caroline Heron’s close ranged finish further increased their lead.
In the second half, Hibernian was possibly guilty of not taking their chances, although Rangers defended far better. And eventually, with their only shot, Rangers pulled a goal back through Chantelle Brown’s strike.
The home side started the game quickly, and in the second minute, they created the match’s first chance. From a free-kick on the left-wing, Lisa Robertson curled a dangerous delivery into the box where Siobhan Hunter rose highest but headed over.
It didn’t take long for Hibs to force the Rangers keeper into a save, as Lizzie Arnot’s corner found Lucy Graham, but her header was caught by Claire Johnstone. Seconds later, Arnot’s perseverance picked out Caroline Heron, but her flicked finish was well saved.
Abigail Harrison had a couple of efforts – the first from distance and her second from 10 yards – but both times her effort was too close Johnstone to trouble her.
And then finally, Hibs took the lead. Heather Richards’ shot was blocked on the edge of the box, and then Heron’s lay-off to Harrison gave her the space to blast the ball into the bottom-right corner.
Rangers were getting into dangerous positions, but they were failing to produce any crosses to threaten the Hibs’ back-line.
Hibs were still streaming forwards, with Claire Williamson breaking down the right picking out Heron, who from 10 yards out, somehow blasted over.
They nearly scored a spectacular second as Lisa Robertson’s shot from 35 yards was only stopped from finding the top corner by Johnstone’s acrobatic save. But from the resulting corner, Hibs did make it 2-0. Johnstone came to collect Arnot’s corner but missed the ball, and Hunter headed into the empty net.
Rangers had a couple of half-chances late on in the first half. Megan Foley’s whipped in a dangerous cross from the left-wing, but this was caught by Hibs’ keeper Jenna Fife. And then Katey Turner cut in off the right-wing and into the penalty area, but her touch was too heavy alowing Fife to claim the ball.
And just before the half-time whistle, Hibernian made it 3-0. Harrison broke from the half-way line and played Arnot down the left wing. She picked out Heron, and although her first effort was blocked, she made no mistake with her second attempt.
Half-Time: Hibernian 3-0 Rangers
Hibs started the second half with the same speed as the first. Richards’ long-range shot went wide, Kirsty Smith’s shot stung Johnstone’s palms and then Graham headed a free-kick well wide.
Calamitous defending nearly gave Hibs a fourth goal, and only heroic defending prevented it. Jill Paterson gave the ball straight to Graham whose shot forced Johnstone into a great save and Heron’s follow-up effort was superbly blocked by Foley. From the resulting corner, Graham’s header was cleared off the line by Chantelle Brown.
As the second half went on, Hibs were no longer playing with the same cutting edge and were failing to create the same number of chances as Rangers’ defending improved.
Arnot’s early whipped cross found Heron, but as she turned, her shot was blocked by Rachel O’Neill. Richards also saw her own shot blocked.
Late on Rangers finally had a shot on target, and with that, they scored. Brown broke down the right-wing and played in Katey Truner. Whilst Rangers appealed for a handball when Turner’s shot hit Hunter, Brown reacted quickest and her driven shot picked out the bottom-left corner.
Hibs could have scored with the game’s last action, but Graham headed over from Emma Brownlie’s free-kick.