Hearts caused the shock of the SWPL Cup First Round so far, as they defeated SWPL 1 side Hamilton Academical 3-0 – thanks to a brace from Ashley Carse and a debut goal from Jennifer Dodds. After the game, we spoke to Hearts’ Head Coach Andy Enwood.
The win saw Hearts continue their unbeaten run at King’s Park, with their last defeat at home coming on the 1st May 2016. Whilst Hamilton is in the league above, the games between the two sides in last season’s SWPL 2 title race would have given Hearts confidence in causing the upset.
After his first match in charge, Enwood was obviously happy with the result but wasn’t getting carried away with things. “We’re delighted with the win. I’ve just said to the girls in there that there were lots of positives from the performance, there are lots of things we need to work on.” However, despite looking ahead, he was keen that his squad took the time to enjoy their achievement of reaching the Quarter-Finals.
Hearts took found themselves 2-0 up thanks to Ashley Carse’s brace in two second-half minutes, but in the moments after they seemingly took control, Hamilton started to threaten more and more. As the cliché says, 2-0 is the most dangerous scoreline in football.
Enwood admitted that they rode their luck that they managed to prevent Hamilton scoring, saying “they definitely had two or three good chances that they are probably sitting there thinking they could have converted.” But after he made a few small tactical changes, they managed to ride the storm and regain a deal of control.
Apart from that ten-minute spell, he was delighted at Hearts’ defensive performance, saying that his side was “very organised throughout the pitch”. As well as the win, he spoke about his delight that they kept a clean sheet.
The tie saw recent signing Katie Reilly make her debut after her move from Spartans. Enwood described her as a “fantastic player” and spoke about his delight at the experience she brings to his squad. He stated that he felt that she was still regaining her match sharpness, but after her highly impressive performance against Hamilton – he described her potential for the club as “really promising”. Enwood also praised Reilly as a “positive influence on and off the pitch.”
In a three week’s time, Hearts play their first game in the SWPL 2 campaign where they will be expected to fight for the title. Enwood said that they would go into their opening match at home to Buchan in a “really positive frame of mind”.
Hearts missed out on the SWPL 2 title last season by two points, and Enwood said “we know the couple of areas we need to tweak to go one step further”, before talking about his squad’s desire to make sure they win the title this season.