Hearts Women were defeated 1-0 by Motherwell at Oriam on Sunday afternoon.
It was an afternoon of missed chances for the Jambos who were left to rue their spurned opportunities as Motherwell sat on a first half lead and saw out time.
Hearts had the better of the opening stages in terms of territory and possession with confidence up from the midweek victory over Forfar Farmington, and Wednesday’s game-winning hero Monica Forsyth came close to opening the scoring when she found space from a Shona Cowan free-kick and fired over the bar.
Motherwell had barely threatened in the first half and then from nowhere, they were given an opportunity from the penalty spot. Hearts failed to clear their lines from a set-piece and Kirstie McIntosh committed a foul. Jade Pullar stepped up and sent Charlotte Parker-Smith the wrong way to open the scoring.
Hearts had a glorious chance to level the match three minutes later when Jenny Smith won the ball in the centre of the park and sped off towards goal. She easily outpaced her marker and drew the keeper out but shot the wrong side of the post. Claire Delworth then almost caught Pollard out in the Motherwell nets with a cross that landed on the roof of the goal.
Into the second half and Hearts introduced Amelie Birse and Paige McAllister to freshen things up, and the young striker held the ball up expertly up front, setting up McIntosh for a shot from distance that flew over the bar.
Hearts were well on top now, and Delworth won a free kick after a crude foul by Rosie Slater, who dragged her studs down the achilles tendon of the full-back and was lucky not to see red. A flurry of corners followed, flashing across goal and evading Hearts players, before a McIntosh delivery was met by McAllister at the back post but she headed over.
McAllister threatened again, winning the ball high up the park and shooting on target from range, before Smith hit the side netting after Forsyth cut the ball back to her. Hearts then introduced Katey Turner up front to try and grab a leveller, and she so nearly did when Smith flew through the Motherwell defence and laid the ball off for Turner whose shot was deflected onto the bar by a last gasp challenge.
Hearts continued to plug away but were unable to breach a stubborn Motherwell defence who killed the game at every opportunity and saw out time.
Hearts: Parker-Smith; Delworth, Hunter (McAllister 46), Cunningham, Cowan; Forsyth, Aitchison (Turner 75), Smith, McIntosh, Anderson (Birse 46); Tweedie (Davies 88). Subs not used: Kaney, Begg.
Report: Chris McPherson
Photo: David Mollison
Player of the match, Shona Cowan, spoke to heartsfc.co.uk after the match to reflect on her award and the preceding 90 minutes.
“I think we played really well today as a team, each week we’re developing as a team and trying to be more positive together, trying to move up the pitch and create chances, but also holding our ground at the back. I think, obviously, we made mistakes and we’ll learn from those, develop as players and get even better each week.
“I’m honoured to get player of the match, I think I played well today, I did make mistakes but I’ll take that into account and learn from them and improve as a player, but I feel really good.”