Jenna Fife is the spot-kick hero as Hibs Ladies win SWPL Cup for fourth time in a row
Hibs Ladies won the SWPL Cup for a fourth consecutive year after a 4-2 win on penalties following a goalless draw with Glasgow City at Airdrie’s Penny Cars Stadium.
Goalkeeper Jenna Fife was the hero for the Hibees as she saved from City’s Hayley Lauder and Clare Shine in a tense shoot-out.
Siobhan Hunter, Rachael Small, Shannon McGregor and Cailin Michie all held their nerve from 12 yards to ensure Grant Scott’s side retained the silverware.
Hibs have now won seven domestic trophies in a row and the SWPL Cup for a record-breaking seventh time.
Manager Scott said: “It’s some achievement. What an effort that was from the players and to win it for a fourth year in a row is quite incredible. It’s a tough cup to win. The Scottish Cup you can play a few of the lower league teams but in this one it’s the top teams in the country.
“We felt Smally’s was a goal at the time but the decision was made so there’s not much you can do about it. I thought it was a very tight game. At the tail end of extra time City looked very threatening but we held firm. I thought Jenna had an outstanding game and she’s managed to get down and guess a couple. We’re thrilled to bits.”
Hibs were slow out of the traps and Shine almost made the cup holders pay within a couple of minutes. The City striker wasn’t picked up inside the six-yard box and it required Fife’s intervention to prevent the opener.
The Edinburgh side had their first attempt on target in the 11th minute. Amy Gallacher was impeded by Lauder 20 yards from goal but Kirsten Reilly’s effort from the free-kick was straight at Erin Clachers.
A fine defence-splitting pass from Gallacher then saw Kirsty Morrison charge down the right flank and, from her cross, Jamie-Lee Napier’s volley was well handled by Clachers.
Opposing manager Scott Booth was becoming more animated as Hibs began to take a foothold, Small’s looping header landing on top of the net.
Hibs did have the ball in the net seven minutes after the restart, Small showing terrific accuracy to lob the ball over the City No.1 only for the goal to be disallowed for an apparent infringement from Gallacher after Clachers had released the ball. The decision was contentious to say the least.
McGregor was introduced on the hour mark as Hibs pressed for the opening goal. The SWPL 1 league champions, meanwhile, were largely restricted to attempts from distance, Megan Foley trying her luck from 25 yards but that wasn’t enough to trouble Fife.
Hibs had the opportunity to win it normal time but Hunter blasted high and wide after the ball had fallen kindly to her just outside the box.
McGregor then fired over from a good position in extra time following Michie’s sumptuous pass out of defence.
City upped the tempo towards the end of 120 minutes with Shine missing a glorious opportunity when she glanced a header wide from just a couple of yards.
City went first in the spot kicks, captain Leanne Ross with a precise finish. But Fife was to prevent the Glasgow outfit from winning their first SWPL Cup since 2015 as she got down well to stop Lauder and Shine in their tracks.
And Hibs took full advantage.
• Scottish Building Society SWPL 2 leaders Hearts host Dundee United at Tynecastle Park on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).
The Jambos are sitting level on 17 points with Glasgow Girls having won five of their eight matches so far, but lead the way by the virtue of their superior goal difference.
With the rest of the league idle this weekend, Andy Enwood’s side have the opportunity to move three points clear of their nearest challengers.