The women of steel’s Scottish Cup woes persisted in East Kilbride, as a positive display over top-four chasing Hearts was left unrewarded, with the Edinburgh side cruising to a comfortable three-goal advantage at a snowswept K-Park.
Addison Handley broke the deadlock almost 10-minutes before the half-time whistle, with Katie Lockwood and Danielle Findlay both striking within the second-half to continue their four-game unbeaten run.
Head Coach, Paul Brownlie made one change from last weekend’s Scottish Cup defeat to Partick Thistle, with Tara McGonigle returning to the starting XI, as Murron Cunningham remained available from the bench. Eve Donald and Morgan Hay both merited a place on the sidelines after extensive injury spells, with Donald returning to action in a late second-half cameo.
With the K-Park turf blanketed in snow and the frosty conditions persisting under the floodlights, Motherwell started the contest firmly on the front foot, maintaining possession and testing the Hearts stopper in the opening exchanges.
Katie Rice’s floated delivery from the left looked destined to reach Chelsie Watson lurking in the penalty area, but a reactive Charlotte Parker-Smiths’ punched clearance narrowly evaded Bailley Collins at the edge of the box, who would’ve had a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Moments later, Morgan Cross’ driving run on the right caught the static Hearts backline scrambling to recover, leaving Sarah Gibb unmarked over 30-yards from goal, but the midfielders exceptional long-range effort cracked off the crossbar.
Unable to capitalise on their early attacking display, the breakthrough finally materialised, with the visitors finding the target against the run of play. Dispossessed in their own third of the pitch, Lockwood’s pinpoint cross-field pass reached Handley racing through the central Motherwell backline, placing an accurate header beyond the reach of Emily Mutch.
Dejected by the first-half opener, Motherwell were unable to regain their composure as the second half resumed, with the visitors doubling their advantage moments after the restart. Lockwood’s half-volley at the edge of the penalty area increased momentum across the frozen surface, picking out the bottom-left corner before the Motherwell backline could react.
The decisive third came in the latter stages of the game, with Findlay converting Lockwood’s low delivery across the face of goal.
Motherwell will return to action in two weeks’ time, with the women of steel travelling to the capital to face Hibs at Meadowbank.