Hibs end Ainslie Park curse with a superb comeback
Hibs hadn’t won at Ainslie Park since 2019 and went behind early on thanks to Caley Gibb. However, three goals from corners as well as a phenomenal strike from Abbie Ferguson ensured that Grant Scott’s side took all three points.
“Overall, I am delighted with the result and the performance too,” Scott told the Edinburgh Evening News. “I’d like to watch it back but we have performed okay today and were fairly dominant for most of the match. Spartans made it difficult at times and got in and around us. They possibly scored against the run of play, just when we had taken control of the game. After the goal, we controlled the first half; it was a good reaction from us. It was a dominant performance in the second half and I’m thoroughly happy with the girls today.”
Early on Robyn McCafferty had to produce a superb challenge to stop the onrushing Ferguson from firing an effort on goal. Micheala McAlonie also had a great chance to open the scoring after finding herself through on goal but Alicia Yates matched her effort with a great save. Spartans took the lead after 19 minutes. A great ball in from Ronaigh Douglas caused confusion amongst the Hibs backline which allowed Gibb to pounce and smash in the opener in off the post. The hosts almost doubled their lead when Poppy Lawson’s misplaced pass landed at the feet of Gibb but the defender managed to get back to block the resulting shot.
Midway through the half, Hibs equalised. Leah Eddie rose highest from a corner to head the ball into the roof of the net. The visitors almost got themselves ahead right on half time from another corner but Hannah Jordan was at the right place at the right time to clear the ball off the line. In added time, Hibs took the lead as Baucom smashed her shot into the back of the net from a corner.
Early in the second half, the visitor’s scored again. A great run from Ferguson saw her cut inside and place the ball into the bottom corner. Spartans looked to be getting back into the game but Hibs soon put an end to any potential comeback hopes. Another Hibs corner was whipped into the box and Ellis Notley managed to flick it into the net to extend their lead. Hibs thought they had a fifth when Kirsty Morrison tapped the ball past Yates but Douglas got back just in time to clear it off the line. Eilidh Adams almost rounded off the victory in added time but Yates was there yet again to deny the striker.
“We started really well and got a goal,” Debbi McCulloch explained. “Then, instead of leading and taking the game to Hibs, we let them back in it via set-pieces. We knew that set-pieces were going to be a weapon for them but also a weakness. They got back into it and that goal right on half-time flatten us.
“We are learning a lot of lessons at the moment but lessons are only learnt if you change. That’s what I have asked the players to do. I’ve asked them to really listen to understand and not listen to respond. We just need to get our foot on the ball. As soon as we scored nobody wanted the ball as they were worried about making a mistake. I’m bitterly disappointed as we let Hibs back into it when we had an opportunity to take control of the game.”