Addie Handley highlights one area where Hearts have massively improved

Hearts fullback Addie Handley highlights one area that her side has massively improved on in recent weeks.
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The Jam Tarts saw out another impressive victory on the weekend as they beat Partick Thistle 4-1 at Petershill. It was a vital victory for Handley’s side as they have now closed the gap to fourth place to just one point and leapfrogged rivals Hibs in the process. 

Partick were in very good form coming into the game and sat four points clear of Hearts. However, a series of goals at vital moments put the game completely out of reach before they were reduced to 10 players. Scoring at critical points in a game is something that Hearts have been working on Handley confirmed as the club looks to take their chances more often. 

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“It is something we are trying to focus on and work on,” she told the Edinburgh Evening News. “With the way we are playing now, it is more attacking, we are a more exciting team. In the last few games at least, we have scored goals and we are a good team to watch. It is something that teams should fear, if we are putting away our chances, which we are definitely doing, it is a big asset to us. I am really pleased with it and the whole team is too. 

“It was a good result, we needed to do things like killing teams off and we managed to do that relatively early on in the game. A red card definitely changed the game but I felt at that moment we were quite comfortable; it is important that we are now scoring our chances.”

Last season, Hearts had a real issue with scoring goals. Many of their results were reliant on their stern backline with a singular goal often the difference. However, this season, not only have the Jam Tarts started scoring with ease, but they are also doing it at significant times. 

On Sunday, Katie Lockwood opened the scoring in the first five minutes before Ciara Grant restored their lead right on half-time. In the second period, when Partick looked to be on the cusp of an equaliser, Handley whipped in an excellent ball to Lockwood to allow the visitors to extend their advantage. When the hosts were reduced to 10, Hearts made it 4-1 to ensure the result was beyond a doubt. 

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“The fact is that we are now coming into these games and from the get-go, wanting to win,” Handley added. “Obviously, we always want the three points but it has now become a real objective to start well and dominate a game. Sometimes against Partick on this pitch, we are not able to do our normal possession-based football. 

“It is really difficult to keep the ball on a tight pitch. With a team like Partick, we know what they are like but what we are getting better at is battling. We are really competing for second balls and chances. A lot of our goals come from transitional moments where we win the first ball and then create the spaces. It is pleasing that we are really starting to take pride in defending.”

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