Biffa Scottish Women’s Cup
Fri 1 April, 2022. Kick Off: - 20:00
There are special moments in every club’s history, and this will certainly come under that heading for Partick Thistle WFC. When they reached the last sixteen of the Biffa Women’s Scottish Cup they had already taken Thistle as far as we have ever been in this competition. This group of players have now taken us to, at the very least, the semi-final of the premier cup competition in the women’s game in Scotland.
The obstacle that Thistle had to overcome to reach that stage were eight time winners, Hibernian. A side that had defeated Thistle in the league, albeit very narrowly, just a week and a half earlier. There was to be no repeat of that as Thistle emerged as deserved victors at the end of a fantastic advert for the women’s game, although there were a few nervy moments along the way.
After the game manager Brian Graham spoke about how his side had been on the front foot from the very start and that was evidenced inside the first minute of the game when a shot from Cara McBrearty brought out a save from English in the Hibs goal.
That early shot across the Hibs bows set the tune for a first half where Thistle produced football of the highest quality.
Rebecca McGowan saw her shot, after McBrearty had touched the ball back to her, deflected over the crossbar as Thistle pressed for an early opener.
Hibs were contributing to an open, entertaining game of football too and a Cavanagh shot from the edge of the box came close.
Thistle were the dominant side though pressing Hibs all over the pitch. In the 18th minute that high press approach saw Rosie Slater drive forward and her low shot was saved by English.
The only real surprise of the first half was that it took Thistle until the 30th minute to deservedly open the scoring.
It was again Thistle’s willingness to press Hibs that created the opening. Taylor Hamill collected the ball, pushed it into the path of Cara McBrearty who stabbed the ball to Clare Docherty who applied the finish from 6 yards out.
Having had a big hand in Thistle’s opener, it was Hamill that netted the second Thistle goal five minutes before the break and open her scoring account as a Jag in the process.
Demi Falconer’s free kick was flicked on finding Hamill in space inside the box and she adeptly and with confidence steered the ball into the net.
Two goals to the good at the break, the opening stages of the second half would be vital and Thistle were in dream land when just a minute into the second 45 minutes Thistle extended their lead.
Rachel Donaldson forced English into an error and when the ball broke to McBrearty there was no doubt where that ball was ending up.
Three goals to the good, Thistle were surely now well on course for the semi-final? Cue, the Hibs fightback.
They pulled one goal back with almost indecent haste. A cross from the left found Leishman at the back post and she was able to slide the ball beyond Laura McGregor and into the net.
In the 62nd minute McGregor saved well at her front post to deny Cavanagh but a minute later and it was very much Game On as Hibs pulled another goal back when McAlonie was able to squeeze the ball home at McGregor’s right hand post.
Surely Thisle couldn’t be caught?
There was a real anxious moment when an Adams header landed on the roof of the Thistle net but the game’s next, and ultimately decisive goal, would be Thistle’s.
There were 72 minutes on the clock when McBrearty’s corner from the right was met by the head of Cheryl McCulloch whose header came off the underside of the bar and dropped over the line.
This time there would be no Hibs fightback. McGregor did make one excellent save to keep out a Coyle shot after 85 minutes and Docherty nearly slid the ball into her own net with the game deep in its 5 minutes of injury time but Thistle safely dealt with what Hibs had to offer before the celebrations could begin.
Team: McGregor, Slater, Murphy, McCulloch (MacDonald), Falconer, Docherty, McBrearty (Brown), McGowan, Taylor, Donaldson (McCann), Hamill (Bulloch)