Hibernian welcomed Spartans in the opening day of the SWPL League campaign today, writes Jack Barnes.
The sides were separated by goal difference last season, but Hibs dominated from start to finish on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
New signing Alexa Coyle was a constant thorn in the side of the Spartan defence, in what was her first ever game of league football. The American converted Hibs’ 5th minute penalty, won for a handball which stopped a certain goal. Her aerial presence, physicality and pressing was unstoppable at times.
Defending against Colette Cavanagh also proved to be an impossible task for Spartans, as she consistently weaved her way behind their defence. Her 26th minute volley snuck just inside of the post to make it 2-0.
It was a nightmare start to the season for Spartans, who had to make two substitutions due to injuries suffered by Ronaigh Douglas and Robyn McCafferty, both of whom seemed to be in some discomfort.
There was a chance for Spartans at the beginning of the second half, but debutant keeper Gabby English got to the ball just before Spartan forward Louise Mason.
It was all Hibs for the rest of the second half, as their pinpoint set-piece deliveries continued to ask questions of the Spartans’ defence. Former Spartan player, Michaele McAlonie made it 3-0 in the 61st minute when the ball fell to her from a corner.
The chances continued to fall to Hibernian — the pick of the bunch was from Cavanagh who cut inside onto her right-foot only to see her shot blocked.
Caley Gibb nearly scored at the death of the match for Spartans in what was a rare counterattack but her shot sailed just wide of the post.
It was an Edinburgh derby to remember for the Hibernian players and coach Dean Gibson, who will look to build on this result and improve on last season’s 4th place league finish.