Gemma Mason’s 90th-minute penalty saw Hearts beat their title rivals Hamilton Academical 1-0 to remain one point behind the leaders Glasgow Girls. Earlier in the season, there was late drama between the two sides, and once again that was the case. Both sides had great chances in the game, most notably Hearts’ Ashley Carse and Hamilton’s MT McGuiness being denied by great saves from one-on-one chances.
But as the game wore on, both sides struggled to create chances, often reverting to the safety option in moments of pressure.
With Glasgow Girls beating Inverness City, neither side wanted to lose and as the game looked like it was going to end goalless, Kara Kidd broke into the Hamilton box where she was brought down by Lauren Kerr, and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Gemma Mason stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to seal a critical win.
Hamilton started the game with captain Gillian Inglis at right-back, compared to her usual role on the wing.
Hearts had a couple of half-chances early on, with Jamie-Lee Smith breaking through the midfield, but under pressure, her shot lacked the power to trouble Accies’ keeper Elaine Fleming. And then, perseverance from Ashley Carse saw her keep a cross in, and then force Fleming into a smart save at her near post.
However, Hamilton nearly, and perhaps should have, took the lead. MT McGuiness broke into the penalty area and her shot smashed off the crossbar. Minutes later, Lori Garnder had a good chance, but her driven shot was well saved by Hearts’ keeper Ashley Watson.
But it was Hearts who were on top and whilst the ball only reached Brogan Anderson with a fortunate deflection, it was the Hearts’ forward’s skill that saw her beat the full-back, but she could only curl the wide of the far post. Moments later, Hearts’ right-back Lyndsey Anderson surged forwards but shot just wide. Brogan Anderson had a glorious chance when Lyndsey Anderson’s cross picked her out, but the unmarked forward headed over the crossbar.
Just before the half-hour mark, Hearts had a goal disallowed when a slick passing act opened up the Accies’ defence, but when Carse scored, she was in a clear offside position.
And Carse should have put Hearts in front before half-time. A long ball sent her through on goal and behind the defence, but Fleming remained big and made a great save from her shot.
Hamilton made a change at half-time with Lauren Kerr replaced Lori Gardner, which allowed Inglis to be moved into a more attacking role.
And this change nearly saw them make the breakthrough as McGuiness found himself in the Hearts’ box, but Watson made a superb save to tip the ball over.
But Hearts still had a threat going forward. Carse won the ball near her box, and ran towards the half-way line before launching a through-ball to Gemma Mason in the box, and cut inside before shooting wide of the far post.
The second half was becoming tenser as it developed, with both sides almost waiting for the other to make the mistake. Accies should have taken the lead when Gallen crossed to Mhairi Lyle, but her header was directed straight at Watson who made the save.
And then Inglis was played into the Hearts box, but the Accies’ captain could only shoot wide of the near post.
Then, in the 89th minute, the game changed. Kara Kidd used great skill to break into the Accies’ box where she was brought down by Kerr’s sliding tackle. Mason placed the ball on the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way to send the Hearts team into jubilation.