The SWPL 2 title race took another big twist at the Superseal Stadium as Hamilton Academical beat Glasgow Girls 4-2. The scoreline suggests the game had more chances than it actually did, but in the first half, Hamilton controlled the game and showed a clinical edge in front of goal. Their opener came from Mhairi Lyle, although she failed to make a clean connection and she provided the assist for their second through MT McGuiness who rounded the keeper two minutes later.
With half-time approaching, Deborah McLeod headed in Hamilton’s third before Lori Gardner’s calm finish made it 4-0. However, on the stroke of half-time, a keeping error allowed Georgie McTear to head Glasgow Girls a lifeline.
Ten minutes into the second half, Lauren Evans reduced the deficit further on a one-on-one, but Glasgow Girls could not find that third goal to make things uncomfortable for the hosts.
What it means is that Hamilton is now top of the SWPL 2 table, on 42 points with Hearts and Glasgow Girls. Three games left, with Hamilton and Glasgow Girls still to play Hearts – things are getting tight.
Glasgow Girls were nearly punished for a couple of defensive lapses in the opening five minutes. First, Lori Gardner’s cross wasn’t fully cleared and from the edge of the box, Amy Anderson shot just over. And then Georgie McTear cleared the ball straight into MT McGuniness after a moment of hesitation – luckily for the defender, the ball rebounded off the Hamilton forward and into the keeper’s arms.
The visitors then managed to create their first chance. A long ball was controlled by Samantha McManus straight to Katie Hay, but her first-time effort was straight at Accies’ keeper Elaine Fleming.
But it was Accies who were fully on top and only great defending prevented them from taking the lead when Gardner’s shot was bravely blocked by Chloe Docherty.
However, then Hamilton did take the lead. Gardner’s stunning cross found Mhairi Lyle who made just enough contact on the ball to guide it into the bottom-left corner.
Two minutes later, it was 2-0. Laura Gallen bravely won the ball in a challenge that saw her injured and this allowed Lyle to set McGuiness through on goal and she calmly took the ball around the keeper before scoring.
Glasgow Girls tried to recover, but the best they did was when a period of pressure saw Charmaine McGuire have her shot blocked.
And then it was 3-0. Captain Gillian Inglis delivered a corner to the far post where Deborah McLeod’s header found the back of the net, clipping the inside of the post.
The next minute, it was 4-0. Amie McGill’s delightful diagonal ball picked out Gardner behind the defence, and her first-time effort gave the keeper no chance.
It looked like that would be that for the first half, but there was just enough time for one last twist. Glasgow Girls won a corner which Fleming came and missed, leaving Georgie McTear an open goal into which to head the ball in.
Glasgow Girls needed to change things up at half-time and they moved to three at the back, and this change nearly brought immediate reward as Chloe Docherty’s cross was deflected just over her own crossbar by McGill.
And then they did pull a goal back. McManus played Lauren Evans through and from the edge of the box she beat the keeper with a composed finish.
Glasgow Girls turned up the pressure as they dominated the game, but the best they could do in terms of testing the keeper was a long-range effort from McManus that went over.
Hamilton had weathered the storm, and they started using the gaps that Glasgow Girls were leaving at the back. McGuiness broke down the left and crossed to Gardner whose shot was blocked. And then Amy Anderson’s through-ball sent McGuiness into the box but her effort was superbly tipped around the post.
Once again, McGuiness broke down the left and picked out Gardner who failed to make clean contact with her shot, allowing Megan Logan to make the crucial block.
Late on in stoppage time, Glasgow Girls had two great chances from set-pieces. The first was a free-kick on the left, 25 yards from the goaline. McManus tried for goal and her dipping effort just didn’t dip in time. It was the same result from another free-kick, albeit from further out.
The result sees Glasgow Girls drop down to third. The title race is very much alive.
Post-Match Interview – Gary Doctor (Hamilton Head Coach)
SWPL 2 Table