SWPL: Glasgow City beat Hibs to go top of the Premier League

Glasgow City
Glasgow City players celebrate Hayley Lauder (number four) finding the net

Glasgow City unseated Hibernian at the top of the Scottish Women's Premier League with a 2-1 win at Ainslie Park.

Noelle Murray and Hayley Lauder both scored in a dominant first half for the Scottish champions.

Rachael Small brought Hibs back into it, but despite late pressure they could not find a second.

Elsewhere, third-placed Spartans scored late to draw 1-1 with Celtic, Rangers beat Hamilton 4-0, with Aberdeen and Stirling University finishing goalless.

The win for City moves Scott Booth's side one point above Hibs at the top of the table as they chase an 11th league title in a row.

A point to prove?

Booth said afterwards his team did not arrive in Edinburgh with a point to prove despite the critics preparing to round on them.

Abi Harrison's goal deep into extra-time put Hibs into the SWPL Cup final at the expense of City seven days ago.

They returned to the scene of the triumph in the unusual position of being underdogs to retain their league title.

It was more than enough motivation, and they set to their task early and efficiently, chasing and harrying Hibs all over the park.

It was no surprise when they took the lead after 19 minutes. Murray got away from Kirsty Smith before finding the net with a beautiful lob from the edge of the box that sailed over goalkeeper Jenna Fife.

Noelle Murray (right)
Noelle Murray (right) fires City in front

Lauder saw a shot tipped over the bar after 23 minutes, but two minutes later she was not to be denied when she angled a low shot inside the near post.

Hibs looked shell-shocked. They had conceded just three goals in seven games, yet they had now shipped two in 25 minutes. And it should have been 3-0 on the half-hour mark.

Murray robbed Siobhan Hunter in possession and raced clear, but Fife managed to stick a leg out and deflect the shot wide.

It had been a first half where nothing much had gone right for Hibs, but after Murray volleyed wide eight minutes into the second period, they began to look more like themselves.

When Katey Turner's effort was blocked, and City struggled to clear their lines, Small pounced and finished low into the corner.

City still had chances to increase their lead. Lauder gave the goalkeeper an easy save with a weak shot from inside the area, then Abbi Grant should have buried a header when she was left unmarked at a Leanne Ross free-kick, but failed to hit the target.

That gave Hibs encouragement and when Harrison laid the ball off to Lucy Graham, only a brilliant save from Lee Alexander prevented the equaliser, as she tipped the shot over the bar.

Hibs pushed for a leveller, but Small's blocked back-post header was as close as they came.

'A little bit better'

City head coach Booth said he asked his side to be just "a little bit better" than they had been in the cup defeat by Hibs, and felt they answered his call.

"It was good to see us get past losing late goals, because that was a big hurdle," Booth said.

"Credit to the girls because the whole thing about today was to come here and go top of the league, and forget about the cup. Just keep it simple, win and go top. I asked them to do that and they've gone and done it.

"The games have been so ridiculously tight that we've lost. There's been nothing in it. I told them if we can all improve just a little bit it's going to be enough and that's the thing they tried really hard to do today and I'm proud of that."

Results

Jade McDonald of Jeanfield Swifts
Jade McDonald scored as Jeanfield Swifts beat East Fife 3-0 in SWPL 2

SWPL 1

Aberdeen 0-0 Stirling University

Hibernian 1-2 Glasgow City

Rangers 4-0 Hamilton Academical

Spartans 1-1 Celtic

SWPL 2

Forfar Farmington 5-0 Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale

Glasgow Girls 1-4 Hearts

Jeanfield Swifts 3-0 East Fife

Motherwell 4-1 Buchan

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