Stewart Hall 'proud' after Motherwell beat Hearts to move up SWPL 1 table
Hearts 0-1 Motherwell: Visitors post third win under interim boss to move up to sixth
Stewart Hall said he was “really proud” of his players after Motherwell’s 1-0 victory over Hearts at Oriam moved his side above Forfar Farmington in the SWPL1 table.
A first half penalty from midfielder Jade Gallon was enough to seal three points in a hard-fought affair in Edinburgh.
Katey Turner hit the bar for Hearts as they pressed late on, but Andy Kirk’s side couldn’t find an equaliser and are now four points adrift at the bottom of the table.
“We’re really proud of the girls, they worked hard,” Hall told Anyone’s Game. “They didn’t perform particularly well and we’ve seen them play better, but we’re really happy and impressed with them and delighted with the 1-0 victory.”
Hall was also pleased with the defensive improvements made by his side, especially from set pieces, but says they still have some work to do in that respect.
“Definitely (pleased),” said the interim head coach. “Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a couple of occasions where they could have hurt us from (set pieces), they had a couple of opportunities. But at the end of the day, we’ve kept them out, kept a clean sheet and we’ve got the three points which is the most important bit.
“I know you cannot fault a team that’s got three points and a clean sheet and that’s now looking at the other results to see where we are in the table.”
Both sides came into the match high in confidence following some strong performances and results in the past two weeks.
Motherwell’s Abby Callaghan fired the first effort of the game wide from 25 yards, before Monica Forsyth shot over in reply for the hosts. Gill Inglis then found Claire Adams unmarked in the Hearts area but she couldn’t direct her header on target.
Nicole Pullar and Charlotte Parker-Smith contested a ball in the air, leaving the Motherwell striker needing treatment and Hall calling for a penalty. However, the foul was given to Hearts.
They were happier soon after, however, when a free kick wasn’t fully dealt with by Hearts and some pinball in the penalty area ensued. Jade Gallon beat Holly Aitchison to the ball as she attempted to clear her lines, and when the Hearts midfielder’s follow-through caught the Motherwell player, the referee pointed to the spot.
Gallon sent Parker-Smith the wrong way to give her side the lead 10 minutes before the break.
Hearts responded well as Jenny Smith won the ball on halfway and drove into the Motherwell area but her effort slid just wide of the near post. Truly Pollard in the Motherwell goal was then relieved to see a looping Claire Delworth cross land on the top of the net as the half drew to a close.
Pullar shot wide for Motherwell moments into the second half, before a neatly worked Hearts move ended with Kirsty McIntosh shooting just over from outside the area. Substitute Paige McAllister then headed over at the back post from a dangerous McIntosh corner as Hearts searched for an equaliser.
Chelsie Watson had a free kick easily held by Parker-Smith in a rare Motherwell attack in the second period, before McAllister and Smith both had efforts off target. Turner nearly scored with her first touch off the bench after another impressive Smith run, but her effort hit the bar via a deflection. Turner went close again from the resultant corner but her effort was just too high.
Forsyth fired just wide with five minutes remaining but Motherwell closed the game out without allowing any further opportunities.
Player of the Match
Motherwell’s defence withstood some heavy pressure in the second half, with both centre backs looking particularly solid. Chelsie Watson was the one who made a real difference though, using her pace and height to make a number of vital interventions to prevent Hearts’ attackers from running through on goal. She also threatened regularly from free kicks at the other end of the park in an impressive all-round display.