"Small margins" see Hearts exit Sky Sports Cup

Hearts exited the Sky Sports Cup as Rangers saw off the home side 4-1 at the Oriam.
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Goals from Rio Hardy, Jodi McCleary, Mia Mcaulay and Kirsty Howat cancelled out Olufolasade Adamolekun’s initial equaliser to put the holders into the quarter finals. Hearts were on top for large periods of the game and were unfortunate to find themselves behind at half-time. However, Rangers put in a ruthless performance in the second half to ensure that they are in the hat for the next round.

“We are disappointed and I feel the scoreline is a little harsh,” assistant manager Sean Burt told the Edinburgh Evening News. “At times, especially in the second period of the first half, we were the team in the ascendancy; it only looked like one team was going to score. We had a real suckerpunch before half-time and that really took the wind out of our sails. We are disappointed to lose and to exit the cup but there are some pleasing aspects like the second period of the first half.

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“When we came out in the first half and we had a really big chance right at the start, if that goes in, it is a different game. It is small margins and ultimately when you are playing the top three, you have to be on the right end of them.”

Georgia Timms tussles for control of the ball. (© ScottishPower Women’s Premier League | Malcolm Mackenzie)Georgia Timms tussles for control of the ball. (© ScottishPower Women’s Premier League | Malcolm Mackenzie)
Georgia Timms tussles for control of the ball. (© ScottishPower Women’s Premier League | Malcolm Mackenzie)

Kathleen McGovern had a half chance in the opening exchanges as her effort at the near post went wide of the target. Shortly after, Hearts may have felt aggrieved when Georgia Timms was sent one-on-one with the ‘keeper only to be adjudged to be offside. Rangers then took the lead just before the 20 minute mark as Hardy followed up Kirsty MacLean’s parried shot with a finish in the far corner.

However, the hosts didn’t drop their performance levels and quickly found an equaliser. A poor pass from the Rangers ‘keeper found the feet of Adamolekun on the edge of the box and she calmly slotted the ball into the net. Momentum was with Hearts, and they almost took the lead as Katie Lockwood’s effort spun wide. Rangers retook the lead against the run of play right at the end of the half as McCleary tapped home after a good cross.

Hearts almost got an equaliser a minute into the second half after a mix-up at the back saw the ball cleared off Rangers’ line. Timms was next to go close as her distanced effort had to be touched wide by the ‘keeper. The visitors got a third midway through the half when Mcaulay blasted the ball into the corner of the net to extend their lead. Rangers made it 4-1 in the 80th minute as Howat’s effort found the corner of the net.

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“We have not seen it back,” Burt said looking back to Timms’ offside call. “Ultimately, it is what it is, it is small margins. What happens on the back of that run we don’t know. She could miss-controlled or anything like that. We are not looking at officials or anything like that, we want to focus on ourselves and ultimately we are disappointed. We didn’t want to exit the cup and we saw this as a game we could go through but it wasn’t our day.”

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