Swifts welcomed a Hearts side looking to maintain their promotion push with Swifts looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat last time out. In a very tight game it was Hearts who came out 1-0 victors with Swifts ending the game with 9 players after suffering TWO red cards.
The game was intense from the outset and Swifts will have been pleased with their contribution. They were competing well all over the pitch with Tweedie showing up well in her debut and the middle three of McDonald, Reilly and Scobbie ensuring that Hearts didn't get into any rhythm. It was a game notable for the effort and organisation of both teams but it was the visitors who edged ahead on 15mins when Walkingshaw converted a penalty awarded after a Reilly push.
Soon after McIlravey thwarted Hearts with an outstanding reflex save tipping the ball over the bar and then Swifts started to look more likely to score with McGinley firing past when through on goal, McIntyre missing from close range and then Shaw and Reilly striking from longer range. These chances were an indication of how well Swifts were playing and the game continued to flow from end to end.
Just before half-time Swifts lost Reilly when she was red carded after tangling with an opponent and they headed into the break with a goal and a player deficit. After their efforts of that half they could rightly feel aggrieved that they hadn't been rewarded for their efforts.
HT Jeanfield Swifts Ladies 0 Hearts Ladies 1
Swifts had battled well in the opening 45 and had contributed to an absorbing match. Hearts had also contributed and had been denied by McIlravey. The dynamics of the second half would now be pivotal.
To Swifts credit they put in a huge performance second half. Rather than allow their talented opponents to exploit their numerical advantage they competed bravely. With Shaw and Flynn-Scott commanding the back four the home side stayed in the game but also looked bright when in possession and were looking to cause problems for Hearts. They tested the Hearts defence when McGinley twice made space for herself to get shots off and then Steedman stole in at the back post and fired a shot across the goal and agonisingly inches past the post.
Hearts were looking to kill the game off but again found McIlravey in great form as she pulled of three great stops.
The game continued on a knife-edge and with Hearts mindful of the repercussions of any late slips and Swifts now throwing caution to the wind it was captivating a good-sized crowd. Unfortunately the game ended with McDonald being shown a straight red for an innocuous incident when a telling off would have sufficed. The fact that the final whistle followed literally seconds later fuelled the Swifts sense of injustice.
FT Jeanfield Swifts Ladies 0 Hearts Ladies 1
An end-to-end contest played in a competitive manner. Swifts having committed so much to the game especially after being reduced to 10 early on, will be disappointed. Hearts will be delighted to stay up amongst the leaders and will be pleased with their chance creation which brought out an excellent display by Swifts keeper McIlravey.
Assistant Robbie Hannan deputising post-match for Head Coach McCrindle was understandably disappointed "I thought the girls were excellent. They had competed very well against a strong Hearts side and only an avoidable penalty separated the sides. I thought we were actually the better team with 10 players and that is a credit to Jason for his words at half-time and for the way the girls continued to play football and look for goals despite being at numerical disadvantage. There will be days when they play worse that and get the win".
Reported by Steve Grossi
Pictures: Jeanfield Swifts FC