Aberdeen Women co-manager Gavin Beith has praised his players’ belief and resilience as they came from behind to beat Spartans 4-2 in the Scottish Women’s Cup.
The Dons took an early lead through Donna Paterson, but Spartans were in front by the 25th minute thanks to goals from Kat Smart and Rebecca Galbraith.
It was 2-2 at halftime as Francesca Ogilvie levelled things before the break, and two second half goals from Eilidh Shore and Bayley Hutchison confirmed Aberdeen’s place in the next round of the cup competition.
By coming from behind to win, the Dons gave Spartans a taste of their own medicine, as the last time the two teams played each other on league business, the Edinburgh side came from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
The fourth-round win means Beith and Emma Hunter’s side have now won four consecutive games in all competitions.
Bayley Hutchison scores a fourth for Aberdeen!
— Aberdeen FC Women (@AberdeenWomen) February 13, 2022
Beith had nothing but praise for his players’ character after they completed their cup comeback, and he believes their current form is a sign of the progress they are making this season.
He said: “We’re absolutely over the moon now we’re getting that consistency with this run, and probably the most important thing is we’ve now got that belief before games.
“This is probably the first time since I’ve been here that there’s a feeling of the Aberdeen of last season, where there is that confidence because they start to win games – and it’s not just about winning, but winning it with good performances.
“The mind is a powerful thing and we were here at the start of January after playing Spartans when we had crumbled under the pressure, whereas now there is that resilience to get back into games and that comes from winning performances.
“I think we played good football, kept possession and managed to score good goals. There are so many good things to take from today.
“Hopefully we can keep the run going and keep pushing on.”
A first half flurry of goals
It was Spartans who threatened first as Sarah Clelland had a shot that sailed over the bar, but Aberdeen reacted well and Jess Broadrick played a great long ball forward to force play in the away side’s half.
The ball remained in the Spartans half, and Shore was brilliantly alert to switch it to Loren Campbell, who was driving down the right wing, but the defender couldn’t find the feet of a teammate in the box.
Campbell looked like causing havoc and was involved again as Kelly Forrest played a simple pass to her from a free-kick, before the defender took the ball down to the bye-line and forced a corner.
The resulting set-piece was met by the unmarked Paterson, who headed home to give the Dons the lead in the 12th minute.
Spartans pulled level 10 minutes later through a corner which was swung in by Simone McMahon and Smart’s header hit the underside of the bar and bounced into the back of the net.
It should have been two for the away side just as play restarted as Galbraith, who scored two goals against the Dons in the last meeting between the sides, got a shot away on the volley, but sent it over the woodwork.
Galbraith had another effort saved by Aaliyah-Jay Meach, however, it didn’t take long for her to get her goal and put Spartans in front with a contentious effort.
The Spartans forward was there to slot the ball into the net after Meach spilled an initial effort – however, it looked like the Dons keeper was fouled as Galbraith attempted to get her shot away.
There was no doubt we had a game on our hands when Aberdeen equalised in the 32nd minute as Bailley Collins did well to reach a forward ball that looked destined to be going out for a goal kick.
Collins, who received her first Scotland under-19’s call up earlier this week, squared it across the box to Francesca Ogilvie who stabbed it into the net at the back post for 2-2.
Leaving it late
There was little to write home about in the way of chances for most of the second half, with the best opportunities falling to Galbraith and Smart for Spartans, and Aberdeen’s Collins failed to threaten Alicia Yates in goal as she blazed a shot over the bar.
However, the Reds found their all-important goal to regain the lead in the dying minutes through Shore.
Bayley Hutchison, who has been assisted by Shore so many times this season, sent the ball into the box and found the midfielder, who managed to get a shot away from a tight angle to beat Yates.
Hutchison doubled the Dons advantage in injury time as she slotted the ball beyond the Spartans keeper with ease and confirmed Aberdeen’s place in the Scottish Women’s Cup quarter-finals.
SWF Championship North
In the only SWF Championship North game this weekend, Westdyke welcomed bottom-placed Dundee City West to Lawsondale.
The Westhill side bounced back from last week’s defeat to Buchan, and put six past their visitors with no reply.
The goals were courtesy of hat-tricks from both Bethany Cochrane and Lyndsey Brown, with the latter making her 100th appearance for Westdyke.