Hibs Ladies suffer major title blow with defeat

Siobhan Hunter
Siobhan Hunter
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Hibs Ladies suffered a major setback in their quest to be crowned SWPL 1 champions when they lost 2-1 to nearest challengers Glasgow City.

It’s the first time the Capital side have tasted defeat in the league this season, a result that leaves them three points adrift of their rivals with the final round of fixtures to come on Sunday.

Hibs must now beat Rangers at Ainslie Park to have any chance of winning the title and hope Spartans can pick up three points when they play Scott Booth’s side at Petershill Park. There would also have to be a four-goal swing in Hibs’ favour if City are to be denied their 12th consecutive title.

It’s a bitter blow to Hibs’ treble aspirations with the club having already won the SWPL Cup and the SSE Scottish Cup final against Motherwell in a fortnight’s time.

The Hibees fell behind after six minutes when Emma Brownlie failed to stop a cross from the left and Kirsty Howat was on hand to bundle the ball beyond goalkeeper Jenna Fife from just a couple of yards.

The hosts continued to be on the front foot despite having played their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona just four days beforehand.

However, Grant Scott’s players upped the tempo in the second half and Jamie-Lee Napier’s lob landed on top of the net. Hibs deservedly found themselves back on level terms when Siobhan Hunter headed home Brownlie’s corner in the 67th minute.

But it took less than 60 seconds for City to restore their lead as some calamitous defending allowed Leanne Crichton to stab the ball into the bottom corner.

Hibs threw everything at their opponents in the remaining quarter of the match, Lisa Robertson hitting the crossbar while also having strong appeals for a penalty turned down.

Elsewhere, Spartans rounded off their home campaign with a 3-2 defeat to Celtic.

Meanwhile in SWPL 2, Hearts’ match with Central Girls Academy was called off and Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale were held to a 1-1 stalemate with Aberdeen at Peffermill, Beth Macleod equalising with just two minutes remaining.