Hibernian booked their place in the 2016 SWPL Cup Final with an emphatic 4-1 win over Rangers. In truth, the first half was disjointed, but Hibs took an early lead through Abi Harrison’s clever finish. This would be the only goal of the first half, but the Edinburgh side should have been further ahead at half-time after missing two great late chances.
But, they started the second half with speed and soon doubled their lead through Harrison’s shot disguised as a cross. They made it 3-0 soon after through Lizzie Arnot before Rangers reduced the deficit through Chantelle Brown’s chip.
But any chance of a late Rangers’ comeback ended when Sarah Ewens scored their fourth.
Both sides started the semi-final at speed, with Rangers pressing Hibernian high up the pitch, and this drew mistakes from the Edinburgh side – but their defence seemed to recover in time. And it was Rangers who had the game’s first corner, which was cleared only as far as Clare Gemmell whose shot swerved in the air, but Hibs’ keeper Jenna Fife saved.
However, Hibernian took the lead with their first chance. A throw-in allowed Lucy Graham to play Abi Harrison into the box, she lifted the ball past her marker and then blasted it into the roof of the net.
Hibs nearly found themselves 2-0 up when Harrison’s through-ball played Sarah Ewens into the box, but Claire Johnstone was quickly off her line to claim.
Rangers’ had a half-chance through Megan Foley’s speculative 30-yard volley that went well over.
Despite the lead, Hibs were struggling to dominate the game, but came close from Lizzie Arnot’s corner which picked out Joelle Murray, but the Hibs’ captain shot wide.
Arnot’s cross then looked like it had set up Graham with a simple header, only to be denied by Chantelle Brown’s superb flicked header which cleared the danger.
Rangers’ Katey Turner was starting to use her speed down the left-wing to trouble Hibernian, but she could not quite get into the dangerous position to pick out an attacker.
Just before half-time, Hibs really should have doubled their lead with two superb chances. First, Arnot’s cross was headed back across goal by Harrison to Lisa Robertson – but she headed wide. And then Chelsea Cornet picked out Sarah Ewens in an identical position as the first goal, but the ex-Spartans forward fired over.
Hibs started the second half quickly and soon created a good chance when Harrison saw her curled shot deflected behind.
But they soon doubled their lead. Harrison broke down the left and her shot disguised as a cross crept over Johnstone’s outstretched hand and into the net.
The Edinburgh side could have extended their lead further from an Emma Brownlie free-kick, but Graham headed just wide at the far post.
Rangers had a rare chance just after the hour mark, but it was wasted as Megan Foley shot from distance and her effort lacked the power to threaten Jenna Fife.
It was Hibs who were dominating the second half, and soon they made it 3-0. Kirsty Smith sent Harrison down the left, and she cut the ball back across the six-yard box to Arnot who was left with the simplest of finishes.
It was so nearly 4-0 as Smith broke from her own box to Rangers’, but she shot just wide of the near post.
But then, Rangers pulled a goal back. Clare Gemmell’s long-pass sent Chantelle Brown into the box, and she lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net.
But any chance of an extraordinary comeback from Rangers was ended when Hibs got their fourth. Rachel McLauchlan’s superb early through-ball sent Ewens through on goal and she expertly chipped the Rangers’ keeper, finding the top corner.
Player Of The Match
Abi Harrison – Hibernian
First of all, I’m delighted to be in another cup final. It’s where we want to be, contesting trophies, winning trophies, so today is a big step towards that. I was pleased, Rangers pressed us well, they were difficult to play at times, they’re a real strong physical team and I felt like we dominated the game. In the first half, I felt like we could have created more chances for the dominance we had. In the second half, I was really pleased, I thought we were more clinical and we managed the game well. Of course, never happy in conceding a goal, but overall really pleased.
Chris Roberts – Hibernian Head Coach.