Hearts Women were defeated this afternoon by Spartans at Ainslie Park.
Despite the scoreline, there was plenty of encouragement to take from the match with the Jambos dominating the match for over 50 minutes, before the tables turned.
Hearts started brightly and should have taken the lead within five minutes. Amelie Birse chased down a slack back-pass, but Spartans keeper Rachel Harrison made a good save before Aimee Anderson fired over the rebound.
Five minutes later, Monica Forsyth tried to get in on the action, with some fine footwork at the edge of the area making some space before her drive from 20 yards was held by Harrison.
Hearts were passing the ball about with confidence and looking a threat going forward, and skipper Mariel Kaney was next to threaten, after a free-kick broke to her at the edge of the area, with her shot drifting just past the post.
Ten minutes before half-time, Hearts came even closer. Beth McKay’s inswinging left-footed corner was right on top of Harrison, with Georgia Hunter forcing the ball goalwards but the ball was cleared off the line.
Hearts took a deserved lead two minutes after the interval. After Maria McAneny was fouled on the left-wing, Claire Delworth sent a free-kick towards goal. Harrison appeared to catch the ball, but it slipped out of her hands and over the line.
A minute later it should have been two. Jenny Smith picked the pocket of Lisa Ryan on the edge of the box, and headed for goal but perhaps shot too early when she could have kept going. That was a miss Hearts would rue as Spartans soon levelled.
A free-kick from 40 yards out wasn’t defender properly, and Becky Galbraith got there ahead of Charlotte Parker-Smith to nod the ball over the line, despite the best efforts of Georgia Hunter on the line.
There were chances at both ends soon after. First, Alana Marshall thought she’d scored when the ball broke to her at the back post, but Delworth appeared from nowhere to block. Then, at the other end, Forsyth cut in from the left to curl a beauty that smashed off the bar.
Spartans then took the lead when another defensive mix-up at the back saw the ball land at Kat Smart, who tapped into an empty net. With 15 minutes to go, Rosie McQuillan tried her luck from 30 yards but her shot came back off Parker-Smith’s post, before Marshall added a third for Spartans with a swerving shot.
There was to be no more scoring after that, and it was truly a case of experience vs youthful exuberance as Hearts impressed but failed to take their chances, and were punished for their mistakes by their more experienced opponents.
Hearts: Parker-Smith; Delworth, Hunter, Browning, McKay; Kaney, Smith; Forsyth, Anderson, McAneny; Birse (Davies 68). Subs not used: Tweedie, Aitchison, Cowan.