Hearts Women were defeated 3-0 by Spartans at Ainslie Park on Sunday, despite a spirited display.
After last weekend’s derby defeat, Andy Kirk’s side were much improved all over the pitch and didn’t deserve to lose by such a harsh scoreline. By Chris McPherson
Katey Turner started brightly for the Jambos, winning a corner earlier after some strong work at the back from Murron Cunningham, and Hearts would play on the front foot a lot more this week, but they were caught out by a sucker punch when Ronaigh Douglas hit a screamer from 25 yards that bounced off the bar and over the line on 19 minutes.
Hearts should have been level within a minute, though, when Monica Forsyth’s deep cross was prodded goal wards by Lia Tweedie, but keeper Alicia Yates got it to safety. Tweedie had another chance a few moments later, when Claire Delworth found her with a lovely cross but the striker headed wide.
Spartans threatened more as the half drew to a close, firstly when Becky Galbraith converted at the back post but was flagged for offside, then Alana Marshall attempted to catch out Charlotte Parker-Smith with a free kick, but it came back off the bar.
The second half was end to end with the swirling wind causing havoc but Hearts were still in the match until Parker-Smith failed to clear a corner, and Kat Smart buried the ball from close range. It would get worse for Parker-Smith a few minutes later, when the wind held up a ball over the top for Galbraith, who got there first, and was taken out by the keeper, who was duly dismissed.
With alternative goalkeeper Ailey Tebbett still nursing a shoulder injury, Tweedie donned the gloves to face down a free kick from Michaela McAlonie, which flew past her to add Spartans’ third. They did have the ball in the net one more time but Tweedie had been fouled in the build up. Although a disappointing scoreline, there were positives to take, particularly in how well the defence did after a difficult game last weekend.
Player of the match: Georgia Hunter
Image: David Mollison
Post-match, defender and vice-captain Clare Williamson spoke to heartsfc.co.uk to reflect on the game:
“The game was a big improvement on last weekend, the girls showed they were better than what they showed last weekend, and we can be a lot prouder this week than we felt after the Hibs game," she explained.
"Unfortunately, we were beaten today by a couple of great strikes and some bad luck, but there are definitely improvements in our play, particularly how we retained possession, that we can take forward into the Rangers game on Wednesday.
“We need to improve game by game and have more confidence in ourselves. I know luck hasn’t been with us a lot of this season. We know how big a challenge the Rangers game will be, but we have nothing to lose and we’ll try to take all the little positives from today into that one and keep building from there.”