Lesser Hampden, Glasgow
Sunday September 30th 2012
Second placed SWPL Hibs travelled to Glasgow to face middle of the First Division SWFL side Queens Park in this Henson Projects Scottish Cup Quarter Final tie; many would have expected the conclusion to be a Hibernian victory. And so it turned out to be.
Both sides fielded depleted sides, which I believe hurt the Spiders more than the visitors. With no Birrell or Palmer they were always going to struggle to make an impact against a well organised and fast moving Hibs team.
It was indeed the green machine who created almost all the opportunities in front of goal in the first 45 minutes in the bright sunshine. A cross from Ellen Pia set up Sammy Hare, whose shot was smacked straight at Queens’ keeper Nicole Phillips.
Some clever midfield work from Joelle Murray gave Hare a second chance a few minutes later but although her shot was swerving it was easily dealt with by Phillips once more.
With just seven minutes on the clock, the Hibees opened the scoring when Murray put Susan Fairlie through on the right of the box. The ex-Hamilton striker blasted the ball into the top right of the net. Phillips despite getting a hand to it, could do little to stop it.
Kirsty Smith tried her luck from distance, which stung the hands of the home keeper but she collected safely at the second attempt.
Murray drove down the right of the box and hit a low powerful cross into the six yard area. Phillips produced an excellent finger tip save to remove the ball from the toe of the waiting striker.
Fairlie showed she wasn’t just a poacher as she collected the ball on the left wing, took it to the byline, and crossed into the area but neither Hare nor Pia could connect to send the ball home.
The Queens Park defence was at sixes and sevens, failing get enough power on the pass, which allowed Pia to steal the ball, squaring it to Fairlie, who rifled the shot across goal into the top left corner to make it two nil.
Lisa Robertson was next to provide Fairlie with freedom in the hosts’ box resultin in an attempted lob off the keeper from the edge of the 18 yard line. The ball passed dangerously close to the far post.
Laura Kennedy had a decent strike from long range but Phillips did well to grasp the ball below the bar.
Susan Fairlie came close to her hat-trick as a long ball put her through in the left of the box – her shot bringing out a fine save from Phillips, diving low to her left post at the expense of a corner. The corner however came to nothing.
It was all one way traffic as Queens Park simply couldn’t hold on to the ball once it was in the opposition’s half.
Hare and Smith linking up on the left almost punished the hoops again with the latter driving in a good shot, which the keeper held well.
Queens finally found a way through, which came on the left wing as Marie McGuinness drove to the byline before crossing along the face of the goal. She earned some respite from the barrage of attacks through the resultant corner, enough to give her side a break before the interval.
Half-Time: Queens Park 0 Hibs 2
Well not many positives for the home side’s manager Stefano Faiella to take into the dressing room as his side simply weren’t at the races and you knew that Hibs could easily take the game up a gear if they had too.
It’s unclear what Stef said to the girls during the break but they certainly came out with a fresh attitude to the match. They were now up for the challenge and being lead by right back Helen Cameron, who was inspirational over the next 45 minutes.
However, it wasn’t the start that Kathryn Pender hoped for as she was adjudged to have pulled down Laura Kennedy in the box and despite strong protests from the defender, the referee pointed to the spot, a decision that did not go down well amongst the home troops but a penalty it was nevertheless. Kennedy stepped up and calmly slotted the ball to Phillips’ left to make it 3 – 0 and only 3 minutes of the second period played.
Three minutes later is was four as Kirsty Smith met the oncoming Phillips at the edge of the area and passed the ball into the right corner.
Queens Park were given a lifeline as their gutsy second half performance proved fruitful. A corner delivered by Susan Hamilton was met by Mhairi Lyle, who hit it on the volley giving Shannon Lynn no chance of stopping the ball rifling into the roof of the net.
The next goal would be crucial if Queens were to have any chance of making an impact. They battled bravely but as they pushed forward Hibs delivered the cruel blow that would ensure they were going into the last four – if there was any doubt in their minds that is.
It was that girl Fairlie who done the damage; receiving the ball just inside the home side’s half and sprinting 30 yards or so before shooting into the right of the net for her hat-trick.
Joelle Murray’s corner was met by the head of Rebecca Zoltie, which everyone thought was in but the ball whizzed the crossbar.
Lisa Robertson then delivered a long diagonal cross to the back of the box, where Murray lifted it back into the six yard area, where Kirsty McLaughlin struck home from close range.
Still Queens Park fought hard with Helen Cameron and substitute Kirsten Martin providing the influence and imagination. Martin having the pace and ability to hold the ball up proving successful in the battle for possession. Despite having more of the ball, they seldom posed any threat for Shannon Lynn.
At the other end it wasn’t good news. Fairlie again striking the ball fiercely which was blocked by Pender with the rebound falling to McLaughlin, who hit a sublime shot, which travelled narrowly beyond the wrong side of the post.
A Robertson cross from the byline was met by the head of Murray and the ball shaved the crossbar. Another terrific effort by the Hibs girls.
The final whistle went to bring to an end Queens Park’s Scottish Cup run as Hibs go into the hat for the semi-final.
Overall, Queens Park will have few complaints about the result and were for the majority of the match, outplayed by the visiting Hibernian girls. They can take some positives in the second half performances of Cameron and Martin not to mention those who were played out of position due to the depleted squad. The experience will certainly benefit those who took part in this match.
Stewart First Aid Training Player of the Match: I wish I could give two awards but alas I cannot. I would have given Helen Cameron a trophy for a gallant second half performance. Hibs though had many who were in with a shout but this weeks award must go to Susan Fairlie for her three well taken goals.
Queens Park: Phillips, Cameron, Montoya, Jaycock, Hamilton, Pender, Lyle, Lindsay, Simpson, Clapperton, McGuinness Subs: Miles, Harkness, McLaren, Baird, Moricz, Martin
Hibs: Lynn, Hare, Thomson, Pia, Robertson, Smith, Zoltie, Hunter, Murray, Kennedy, Fairlie Subs: McLaughlin
Finally a big shout out to Brian, the coaching staff and the girls of Queens Park for the warm welcome and hospitality after the match.