Hearts women

Match Report: Hearts 1-0 Rangers

17 April 2024

Hearts Women created more history on Wednesday night as they picked up a first ever victory against a top three side with a 1-0 victory over Rangers at the Oriam.


Katie Lockwood will grab the headlines for her second half strike, but it was an incredible performance from the backline to record yet another clean sheet.


Head coach Eva Olid made two changes from the side that defeated Hibs on Friday night. Rachael Johnstone replaced Charlotte Parker-Smith in goal, meanwhile Sade Adamolekun, replaced the suspended Kathleen McGovern.


Rangers were the only SWPL side that Hearts had not managed to take points from this season and things looked ominous in the early stages as the league leaders peppered Johnstone’s goal.


But the Jambos stopper was in the mood to impress, having got the nod instead of Parker-Smith and she pulled off a flurry of early stops to keep the Gers out.


To the visitors’ credit, they were knocking the ball about with some intensity and the women in maroon were really struggling to get their foot on the ball. Johnstone denied Rio Hardy at the near post on 6 minutes, before Brogan Hay rattled the woodwork from distance after a clever short corner routine.


Hearts boast an impressive home record and were looking to hit on the counter attack. They did create a couple of two on two breaks as the half wore on, Gers skipper Nicola Docherty picked up an early booking after Katie Lockwood had knocked the ball past her on an ominous looking Jambos attack.


Back down the other end, Rangers were firing in some dangerous corners and although it was a little frantic at times, the Jambos backline were throwing their bodies in the way of much of the visitors’ efforts at goal, and when the shots did reach the goal, Johnstone was on hand to gather.


Hardy again came close towards the end of the half, but after a cleverly timed run, she fired straight at the Hearts stopper.


Half-time: Hearts 0-0 Rangers


The second half started in a similar fashion, with an early opportunity falling for the visitors. Hay made good ground down the right and after receiving a neat through ball, she picked out half-time sub Lizzie Arnott, but both her efforts were blocked brilliantly by Carly Girasoli.


Hearts were beginning to grow in confidence after that shaky first half, and they themselves began to carve out opportunities.


There was more aggression from the Jambos after the interval, particularly in their press, and when Grant picked the pocket of Rachel Rowe on the edge of the Gers box, the ball was worked wide right to Emma Brownlie, but she could only fire just wide from a tight angle on the hour mark.


Rangers didn’t note the warning signs and just six minutes later, the women in maroon hit the front. Brownlie’s free kick was powerfully met by Girasoli. She was able to knock the ball down into the path of Katie Lockwood. She had a lot to do, but managed to make first contact and flick the ball over Jenna Fife and into the empty net.


That spooked the visitors and everything that the Gers had done in a positive fashion in the opening hour, they stopped doing. More passes were going astray and being forced and it was the Jambos who came inches away from adding to their lead on 72 minutes.


Again, it came from good pressing and when the ball dropped to Georgia Timms on the edge of the box, she fired a low strike just wide of the post. 


In truth, the visitors didn't fashion a lot in the second half and in the five allotted minutes of stoppage time, Johnstone clutched a header from Sarah Ewens as the final whistle sounded on another historic result for Hearts Women.


Hearts: Johnstone, Brownlie, Hunter ©, Grant, Forsyth, Timms (Mooney, 87), Lockwood, Waldie, Adamolekun (Findlay, 67), Girasoli, J. Husband (Handley, 75)


Subs: Parker-Smith, Penman, Rennie, Handley, Mooney, Findlay, Michie, E. Husband


Rangers: Fife, Docherty, Hill, Middag, Hay, Rowe, Howat, Hardy McAulay, Corent, McLoughlin


Subs: Esson, Bance, Ross, Arnot, Austin, Ewens, Martinez, McLeary