Late Harrison goal earns Hibs draw v Glasgow City

Hibs captain Joelle Murray (second left) battles with Glasgow City's Christie Murray

Abi Harrison’s last-gasp equaliser earned Hibernian a point in an enthralling 2-2 draw with SWPL title rivals Glasgow City.

Hibs led through Jamie-Lee Napier’s close-range volley, but Leanne Ross levelled from the spot.

Donna Paterson thought she had won it with two minutes left only for Harrison to respond with a stunning goal.

The draw means Celtic, who have played a game more, leapfrog both into top spot[1] after a 2-0 win over Hamilton.

Elsewhere, Rangers thumped Stirling University 4-0, and Spartans were 2-0 winners at Forfar Farmington.

So often when the big two of City and Hibs meet, only one team shows up, usually swatting aside the other. At other times it has been tight, ugly affairs, two teams cancelling each other out.

This was different. Both were on their game, and we got the 90 minutes we had spent over two years waiting for.

There was little fluency early on, both content to fire artillery from distance. Lucy Graham and Cailin Michie took aim for the home side while Jo Love and Hayley Lauder were off target for City.

Then Hibs drew first blood and set the game alight. Emma Brownlie’s free-kick from the right found Napier, who gave the goalkeeper little chance from close range.

Their lead lasted just four minutes. Leanne Crichton won a penalty under the challenge of Kirsty Smith, and Ross smashed the spot-kick down the middle.

Hibs were playing the better football, but City always looked the more likely to score. Lauder found space and cracked a shot off the post, then Christie Murray headed Nicola Docherty’s cross into the side netting.

Hibernian striker Lizzie Arnot<!–

However, two goal-line clearances were needed to keep City level at the start of the second half as Hibs upped the tempo.

Harrison timed her run perfectly then skilfully cushioned Rachel McLaughlin’s cross towards goal, only for Love to slide in and knock the ball out for the corner. As that came in, Abbi Grant was on the line to stop an own goal.

Grant’s powerful shot was then blocked at the other end.

Hibs threw on Lizzie Arnot to loud cheers for her long-awaited return from injury, a year after she ruptured her anterior cruciate knee ligament.

The game was anyone’s to win. Women’s football is rarely physical, but both sides were throwing themselves into challenges, with chances at both ends. Shannon McGregor volleyed Harrison’s cross wide for Hibs, then Grant again went close for City when she curled wide of the far post.

For all the quality on show, it looked like the game had been won by a horror mistake.

Hibs goalkeeper Jenna Fife struggled to hold a corner, and Paterson took advantage to bundle the ball home with two minutes left.

But if anyone knows how to score vital goals it is Harrison, and she delivered again, this time with a shot from wide on the right that somehow floated over goalkeeper Lee Alexander into the far corner.

It leaves both sides level on points and unbeaten after four games, ahead of another meeting in a fortnight in the SWPL Cup semi-final at the Falkirk Stadium.

Megan Foley of Glasgow City and Abi Harrison of Hibs<!–

Post-match reaction

Hibernian caretaker head coach Grant Scott: “That late in the game you feel the worst. I don’t think we deserved to lose the match, but at that stage absolutely (I felt we’d lost it). But good fighting by the girls to eventually get the cross-come-shot.

“They played slightly differently from what I’d expected. There were a couple of key people that didn’t play today. Did it affect the game? Probably not. We either go toe-to-toe with no fresh ideas in a fortnight’s time or we try to come up with something different.”

Glasgow City head coach Scott Booth: “It’s disappointing that you lose a goal so late on. It’s one we’ve got to be able to defend. There were a lot of individual errors for the goals today.

“That’s the nature of the beast. One player maybe not doing her job properly in amongst a lot of situations where they do deal with it in the right manner.

“With the amount of effort the team put in I felt for them that we lost the three points late on like that.”

References

  1. ^ leapfrog both into top spot (www.womenspremierleague.co.uk)

BBC Sport – Scottish

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