SWPL: Glasgow City 1-0 Hibernian

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SWPL: Glasgow City beat Hibernian in top of the table clash

An excellent first-half strike from Katie McCabe gave Glasgow City a crucial win over Hibernian in the race for the Women's Premier League title.

The Republic of Ireland captain, on loan from Arsenal, found the bottom corner of the net from outside the box.

Hibs responded in the second half, passing up three good chances.

However, City held on and are now five points clear of second-place Hibernian who have a game in hand. The teams meet again on 12 November.

It was an eagerly awaited clash between Scotland's top two, with this fixture twice being postponed.

Many believe this is the year Hibs can finally end Glasgow City's 10-season stranglehold on the league title, but they were well off the pace in an under-par first half.

McCabe tested Hibs goalkeeper Jenna Fife at the near post, then Hayley Lauder sent a long, audacious effort that was tipped over.

A Rachael Small header apart, Hibs were being constantly pushed back into their own half, and it was little surprise when City broke the deadlock in 29 minutes.

McCabe was left unmarked and cracked a beautiful left-foot strike beyond Fife.

Lauder tried a similar strike minutes later but this time the effort was over the bar.

City had been all too comfortable, but after the break Hibs upped the pace and finally made a game of it.

Even then, McCabe could have doubled the lead when she shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Hibs were beginning to get some joy down the left-hand side and all of a sudden it was them on top.

Small picked out Abi Harrison with a corner, but the usually lethal striker headed wide.

Glasgow City's Abbi Grant holds off Hibs' Kirsty Smith
Glasgow City's Abbi Grant holds off Hibs' Kirsty Smith

Then new Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander fumbled what should have been a bread and butter save from a Harrison cross, but no-one in green reacted quickly enough to take advantage.

Lucy Graham could and should have levelled when she managed to squeeze between the City defence, but she screwed her shot over from six yards out.

Hibs now had the bit between their teeth and they came again, City goalkeeper Alexander doing brilliantly to block Lisa Robertson's shot, before the ball was laid into the path of Small who should have at least hit the target.

An onslaught was expected but City composed themselves and saw the game out relatively comfortably.

Hibs still have the title within their own hands if they can win their game in hand then defeat City in November, but they know they have handed the initiative back to the champions with just eight games left.

Post-match reaction

Glasgow City head coach Scott Booth: "The players right from the start of the game were exactly how we wanted them to be. They played with real aggression and tempo, we pressed them well. We played some good football, created chances and had Hibs under real pressure.

"It's important when you have the lead that you ask the question of the opposition to come and break you down."

Hibernian head coach Chris Roberts: "The first 45 minutes I thought we were by our standards probably as bad as I've seen us play. We didn't do ourselves justice at all.

"In the second half we did well. We said we wanted to turn them, get the game in their half. We had chances to get something from the game, but the girls are disappointed and we know that's not good enough.

"It now makes it more difficult to do what we want to do this season, which is to win the league."