RANGERS returned to league action against Hibernian at New Tinto Park for their first home league game of the new season.
The Gers made three changes from their 1-0 cup win against Motherwell, as Jenna Clark came in for the suspended Chelsie Watson while Brogan Hay and Chantelle Brown replaced Carla Boyce and Hayley Sinclair in attack.
It was a scrappy opening, but it was Hibs that started the game in the ascendancy and the first chance came their way after eight minutes. Cornet got to the byline after some neat passing and whipped in a cross in that flashed across the six-yard box but fortunately for Rangers, nobody could get on the end of it.
Hibs continued the pressure in the early stages and took the lead a few minutes later when McLauchlan managed to get her cross in and the ball, via a large deflection, reached Tweedie who looped her header over the despairing hand of Ramsay into the Rangers net.
Hibs had another chance, when a corner was cleared to the edge of the box and a long looping effort threatened Ramsay’s goal, but she had it covered as it dropped over her crossbar. Hibs continued to look dangerous whenever they had the ball, crossing into the box from either side, however the danger was well dealt with by the Rangers defence.
There was more danger for the Rangers defence after a mix up at the back between Ramsay and Lauren Gallon resulted in Gallon being dispossessed, and the ball reached Tweedie who stepped inside to create a yard of space only to see Ramsay make up for the error superbly, by smothering the shot and keeping the score at 1-0.
Rangers had struggled to gain a foothold in the match but started to press forward in the latter stages of the half as Jade Gallon got a shot away from the edge of the box, but it was deflected and gathered by Fife in the Hibs goal. Hay then made a good run down the right-hand side and with her first chance to attack the Hibs full-back, she beat her player and lofted a cross into the box, but it was again collected by Fife.
Rangers came out for the second half as Boyce and Sinclair came on for Davidson and Brown in an attempt to attack the Hibs back-line. The change in attack paid off almost immediately, as Rangers equalised with a fantastic goal from Jade Gallon, as she picked up the ball on the edge of the box and curled a beautiful shot into the top right-hand corner as Rangers became the first team to score against Hibs this season.
Rangers continued their confident start to the second half with Hay and Muir seeing more of the ball down the right-hand side, but it was Hibs had a chance to equalise in the 55th minute when the ball was cut back from the right and Graham put her shot straight at Ramsay.
Hibs pressed with a high attacking line as the game became more and more open as both teams looked to get on the front foot and it was Hibs who had another great chance as a corner in from Brownlie found Notley in space in the box, but she put her header over the bar.
Rangers responded by almost taking the lead after a fantastic, strong run through the middle from Muir let her slip in Boyce behind the defence and her attempted cross was deflected towards Fife’s near post and nearly crept in for an own goal. The chances continued, as a minute later Hibs captain Robertson unleashed a fierce drive which was well saved at her near post by Ramsay.
Hay was next to test the Hibs defence after she cut inside from the left and hit a low drive towards goal which was saved by Fife. Sinclair then got into the box and won a corner after some great work,. From there, she whipped a cross in which gave Fife a nervy moment as she was forced to palm the ball over her bar to keep the scores level.
They wouldn’t remain level for much longer though, as Hibs went up the other end and Smith picked up the ball on the left, cut inside and unleashed a venomous shot from 25 yards which smacked Ramsay’s angle of bar and post, with the resulting ball dropped kindly for Turner, who lashed the ball home into an empty net.
Rangers brought on Holly Napier for Clare Gemmell for the final 15 minutes to try and stop the increasing pressure from Hibs.
Hay was then replaced by Robertson as Rangers searched for a goal, and another bursting run from Muir drew a foul on the edge of the centre circle. The free kick was played quickly to Jade Gallon who hit a low dipping shot from distance only to see it saved by Fife. A minute later Jade Gallon dropped a deep free kick towards the back post and the resulting shot was saved by Fife and landed at the feet of Clark, who poked the ball into the net, only for the goal to be controversially ruled out by the officials and deny Rangers another equaliser.
Rangers continued to press going into stoppage time and looked the more likely to score, but Turner’s late goal proved to be decisive as Hibernian held on for a 2-1 away win.
RANGERS: Ramsay, Muir, Clark, L. Gallon, Coakley, J. Gallon, Gemmell, Davidson, Eddie, Hay, Brown. SUBS: Boyce, Napier, Sinclair, Donnelly, Baillie, Swanson, Robertson.