Stirling University Old Firm Double
The key result of the weekend in the SWPL 1 had to be Stirling University’s win over Rangers.
Stirling had produced several performances this season where they drew praise from neutrals, without perhaps getting the points they deserved. And with the turn-around in form that Forfar Farmington had shown, it was becoming important for Stirling to start picking up points.
Whilst there was just a three point gap between Stirling and seventh-placed Forfar, the competitiveness of the SWPL 1 makes those sorts of gaps bigger than normal.
And after their 8-1 defeat to Glasgow City, Stirling desperately needed a response.
And what a response. It took until the 88th minute, but Emma Lyons’ late goal saw Stirling beat Rangers 1-0. They are still in eighth place, but level on points with Forfar.
This was Stirling’s second win of the season, having beaten Celtic earlier in the season.
Spartans Away Joys
Spartans’ wins and away trips. Not something that had been said during the 2016 season.
The Edinburgh side looked in danger of being dragged towards the relegation place with their only point and goals coming at Ainslie Park.
And they faced a trip up to Forfar, to face a Forfar Farmington side that had discovered a turn-around in form, moving off the bottom of the table.
However, like the result at Ainslie Park earlier in the seaosn, Spartans came back with all three points as they won 3-0.
Close, but No Joy for Celtic
At the beginning of the season, Celtic were described as dark horses for the title. And when they announced the signing of Christie Murray, the belief that they could mount a challenge was raised.
But, if they have any chance of getting the second Champions League place, yet alone the title, they will have to be able to take points of both Hibernian and Glasgow City.
On Sunday, they hosted Glasgow City and they got off to the worst possible start, going 2-0 down.
But they pulled a goal back to make it 2-1, before eventually losing 3-2.
In the four meetings with City and Hibs (including in the SWPL Cup First Round), they have lost all four by just one goal. It shows that they are close, but they need to find a way to close the gap. In both the 3-2 defeats to City and Hibs, they have started poorly, conceding a defecit that they’ve not been able to close. Maybe that is something they need to improve if they are really going to be a dark horse.
Due to Queen’s Park being unable to field a team against Glasgow Girls, there were only three games played on Sunday. The SWPL are yet to announce any punishment that may be taken against Queen’s Park or if they game would be replayed.
Hamilton Edges Jeanfield
In what was the game of the SWPL 2, the two highest scoring sides met at McDiarmid Park, and played out a brilliant show for the fans.
Hamilton Academical raced to a 2-0 lead, but Jeanfield Swifts fought back to level the scores at 2-2 going into half-time.
But, in the second half, Hamilton would score the winner through Gillian Inglis’ penalty to win 3-2.
What the scoreline, and the performances of both sides, underlined is just how competitive the title race will be for the SWPL 2. Whilst Hamilton may be eight points ahead of Jeanfield in the table, you can see Jeanfield finishing higher in the table. The SWPL 2 really is a division where any of the top six sides look like they can take points off each other.
Hearts’ Bring Their Shooting Boots
Having briefly held the top spot, Hearts then suffered a blip in form, picking up just one point out of six. This saw them replaced at the top by Hamilton.
But since then, they have responded in style, winning their past two games including Sunday’s tie against Inverness City.
So far, this really has been a season to forget for Inverness City, and they are under real threat of successive relegations. But, they have performed better at home, and even took the lead against Hearts.
But Hearts responded, scoring 10 goals to move up to second place. Once again, Hearts are closing down Hamilton.
Buchan and Hutchie Stalemate
Niether Buchan or Hutchison Vale will be best pleased with the draw, although it does keep both clubs’ repsective records alive – Buchan are still unbeaten at home, whilst Hutchie are still unbeaten away from home.
But whilst neither side look in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle at the moment (this would require a turnaround in form from either Queen’s Park or Inverness), they are both looking like they could be dragged away from the title fight.
Yes, they both picked up a point, but Buchan are still closer to seventh than first.
The position is slightly better for Hutchie, who are level on points with Jeanfield Swifts. But momentum is key, and now both sides have faield to win any of their last three matches.
They will be aiming to going into the mid-season break after picking up a couple of wins.