Record SWPL crowd at Easter Road as Hibs beat Hearts on penalties in first Capital Cup
An SWPL record crowd of 8,066 at Easter Road saw Hibs beat Hearts on penalties after a 1-1 draw to lift the new Capital Cup.
The points were shared in the league after the teams finished all square after 90 minutes, Crystal Thomas grabbing an 85th-minute equaliser for Hibs to cancel out Emma Brownlie’s headed opener for Hearts. It went straight to penalties to decide who would win the new Capital Cup. Hibs goalkeeper Benni Haaland saved Georgia Timms’ penalty to give captain Siobhan Hunter the perfect opportunity to slot home the winning spot kick in front of the electric crowd.
Hibs were the dominant team in the opening exchanges, with a host of good chances presenting themselves only to be prelled by a stubborn Hearts backline and Charlotte Parker-Smith’s excellence in goal. The first chance of the game fell to Michaela McAlonie after just four minutes into the half. Krystyna Freda managed to wriggle her way through the Hearts backline to play a delicious ball to McAlonie, but her effort was matched by Parker-Smith, who was out quickly to parry the shot.
Five minutes later McAlonie was the creator. She carried the ball from her own half and squared it to Eilidh Adams, who shot wide. Hibs continued to put pressure on the visitors, with Freda next to come close. A wicked ball found the striker's head at the back post, only for her effort to be saved by Parker-Smith.
Hearts worked their way into the game, however, and had their moments on the counter, but nothing that was a serious threat to Haaland in goal. Hibs were almost gifted a goal midway through the half when Freda managed to dispossess Hunter on the edge of the box. Parker-Smith was once again the hero for the Jam Tarts though, quick off her line to snuff out the chance.
The second half began how the first finished with little to separate the two teams. However, Hearts made the breakthrough in the 61st through Brownlie. An excellent free-kick whipped in by Ciara Grant found the head of the defender and flew into the top right corner of the net. It gave Hearts momentum and they almost got their second five minutes later. Grant once again put a beautifully-delivered ball into the box but Katie Rood’s header looped over the bar.
Hibs cranked up the pressure late on as they searched for a late equaliser. A goalmouth scrabble after a corner almost paid off but Hearts managed to clear off the line. Moments later, the equaliser did come, much to the delight of the home fans, substitute Thomas pouncing on a loose ball and blast it into the net with five minutes to go.
Penalties were introduced to decide the winner of the cup. Both teams were accurate from the spot, but Hearts had their second penalty saved when Haaland got down low to parry away Timms’ effort. Hunter win the tie for the hosts converting to secure a 5-3 win on penalties.
Hibs will travel to Glasgow City next Sunday, while Hearts host Hamilton the same day.