Hibs Ladies hailed for keeping cool on Easter Road debut

Spartans manager Debbi McCulloch with Sarah Ewens, who hit the woodwork.
Spartans manager Debbi McCulloch with Sarah Ewens, who hit the woodwork.
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Hibs ladies manager Chris Roberts praised his side for rising to the occasion after they defeated Spartans 2-0 in the team’s first-ever match at Easter Road.

Spartans keeper Rachel Harrison made her 100th appearance of the club but endured an afternoon to forget as she gifted Hibs the opening goal, dropping a Lisa Robertson cross at the feet of Lucy Graham, who duly punished the mistake.

Hibs’ Lizzie Arnot and Spartans’ Sarah Ewens both struck the woodwork before substitute Rachel Walkingshaw lobbed Harrison with an audacious effort in time added on.

Hibs head coach Chris Roberts said: “The girls dealt with the occasion fantastically. I was worried that playing here may take its toll and there was a lot of nervous energy before the game, however the girls were extremely professional and stuck to the game plan.

“We have a lot of staunch Hibs supporters in our team, so to get the chance to play here was a reward. We created a lot of chances in the first half and when you only have a slender lead then you are always concerned that those misses could act as a catalyst to the opposition to kick on. Thankfully, we defended solidly and limited Spartans to only one good chance in the whole game.

“There were a number of terrific individual performances, but today was about the team and everyone playing their part.”

Spartans Manager Debbi McCulloch said: “I don’t think we played anywhere near the standards we can even though we probably had the majority of possession.

“It was Hibs’ game plan to sit deep and hit us on the counter-attack and it worked pretty well; we got frustrated and as a result didn’t play as well as we could.

“All credit to Hibs, they deserved to win and took their chances.”

Elsewhere, Laura Gavin scored twice as Hutchison Vale came from behind to defeat Queen’s Park 2-1 and keep alive the black and yellows hopes of finishing top of the bottom six.