A superb first half strike from Eva Thomson was enough for Aberdeen to secure all three points against Hibernian, in what co-boss Emma Hunter says is their ‘biggest’ win of the SWPL 1 season so far.
The 1-0 win over Hibs at Balmoral Stadium is the first time the Dons have taken points off a top-four side in SWPL 1 this term.
Hunter knew it would be a close battle between the two sides after their experience of playing Hibs twice already this season and was delighted with the hard-earned win.
She said: “It’s definitely the biggest victory for us, and against a top four side as well – it’s pretty special.
“There was a lot of other games today that if we hadn’t won here, it would have taken us out of that mid-table spot, so it’s vital we stay up and in about that area of the table.
“The performance was fantastic. We might have rode our luck at times because Hibs are a good side, but we showed a lot of good defensive work.
“We showed a really good team effort and I’m absolutely delighted with the three points, and glad we could do it at a home fixture.”
A vital early goal
It was the away side who had the lion’s share of possession in the opening five minutes, but the Dons made the most of the first set piece after Bailley Collins did well to win a corner in the first attacking move of the game.
Donna Paterson got her head on the inswinging corner, but Hibs only managed to clear as far as Thomson who was waiting on the edge of the box.
The young midfielder unleashed a shot that sailed through a number of bodies in the box before it crashed into the net and gave Aberdeen the lead in the eighth minute.
Despite Hibs still controlling possession after the goal, it was the Dons who continued to have the better chances and Thomson should have had her second of the game, however, her strike from distance rattled off the crossbar.
Aberdeen looked threatening when they hit Hibs on the break, as Bayley Hutchison linked up well with Francesca Ogilvie, but a call for offside and some brave goalkeeping from Gabby English halted the forward’s attempts to double the advantage.
The Hibees were creating more chances as the half went on and Kelly Forrest came to the Dons’ rescue when she cleared Ellis Notley’s header from a free kick off the line.
Dean Gibson’s side were piling on the pressure in the closing stages of the first half and were close to pulling level, but another goal line clearance from captain Forrest and a decent stop from Aaliyah-Jay Meach kept the Dons in front.
Disciplined in defence
Hibs started as they ended the first half, and Colette Cavanagh whipped a dangerous ball into the box from a corner not long after play resumed where Siobhan Hunter was there to poke it towards goal, but Meach reacted well to make the save.
Meach saw the ball more in the opening 15 minutes after the break than she had in the entire first half, but the Hibees still couldn’t fine a way to break down the Dons who, despite a few panicky moments, coped well with the pressure.
Hibs’ American forward Alexa Coyle looked like causing trouble and had chance upon chance to put her side level, but her efforts were too tame to trouble Meach in goal, and any time she tried to drive with the ball she was halted by the strength of Paterson.
There would have been a feeling of worry on Aberdeen’s sideline when Chloe Gover conceded a free kick in a dangerous position just before the 90 minutes were up, but like their second half performance, the Dons stood firm and Amy Gallacher’s effort was cleared by the wall.
It wasn’t a pretty second half showing for Aberdeen, however, their discipline in defence made sure they picked up a vital three points, and won their third consecutive game.
SWF Championship North
Buchan’s clash with Westdyke was the only game involving north teams that was played as Inverness Caley Thistle’s game against Dundee City West was postponed due to the weather, and Grampian v Stonehaven was also called off.
The Peterhead side edged out Westdyke in a close contest, which finished 3-2 in Buchan’s favour.
Buchan’s win puts them on 24 points, one behind Dryburgh in third, however the Dundee side have three games in hand over the north club.